OpenStack ends requirement for six-monthly upgrades with ‘SLURP’ plan

As version ‘Zed’ debuts, project slows down a little

OpenStack has completed an alphabet’s worthy of releases, with the project on Wednesday issuing “Zed” – the 26th version of the open-source cloud stack and also adding an optional slower upgrade cadence.

The stack’s 41 sub-projects – from adjutant to zun - each publish release notes and there are too many changes to mention or summarise.

The OpenStack project has chosen to highlight the addition of OAuth 2.0 to the Keystone authentication service, Cinder now allowing users to transfer encrypted volumes across projects, and support for Xilinx FPGAs in the Cyborg accelerator support framework. The Nova VM-wrangler can now support IOMMU, which means VMs get direct access to memory if needed.

Zed users also get two new toys, one of which is Venus, billed as “ “a one-stop log aggregation service tailored towards operators, allowing them to collect, clean, index, analyze, create alarms, visualize and generate reports on OpenStack logs.”

The second is “Skyline” a dashboard based on original code contributed by Chinese cloud infrastructure company 99Cloud. Skyline is seen as an improvement heir on some aspects of the Horizon dashboard module but is considered to be in an "emerging technology state” and unsuitable for deployment in production. The “emerging technology” status is also new and was introduced to allow new sub-projects to demonstrate their capabilities without waiting for full integration. Another new project status – “inactive” – describes modules that “are not so active anymore” for whatever reason, and therefore receive sufficiently few updates that they deserve a special designation.

To SLURP or not to SLURP?

A more significant change will come with the forthcoming “Antelope” release, which will adopt a new release cadence OpenStack has chosen to call “SLURP” – the Skip Level Upgrade Release Process.

The new release cadence is needed because OpenStack has only tested and supported upgrades between adjacent releases.

Those upgrading to release Zed, for example, could only do so from the Yoga release that debuted in March 2022.

As OpenStack’s cadence explainer doc states:

Some deployers and distributions have indicated that six-month upgrades are difficult, infeasible, or undesirable, especially in large environments where the process itself takes long enough that upgrades are constantly occurring.

Under SLURP, OpenStack will still issue new releases twice a year.

Every second release will be a SLURP release. Other releases will be “non-SLURP”.

Upgrades from SLURP release to SLURP release will be possible, meaning OpenStack users can relax with annual upgrades instead of the current more frenzied six-month upgrades.

Upgrades from SLURP to Non-Slurp releases will be possible, as will upgrades from Non-SLURP to SLURP.

The project expects the two most SLURP releases will receive support.

The question “To SLURP or not to SLURP” is up to individual OpenStack users.

On, then, to the Antelope release, which will be the first SLURP release and – by allowing migration from OpenStack Yoga – offers a test drive for annual upgrades. And also a test for how developers respond to SLURP - a matter the OpenStack community cannot predict. Deliberation over the scheme saw some suggest annual releases could cool developer enthusiasm at a time some sub-projects have struggled to keep up with twice-yearly releases.

On top of the new "inactive" project status, that could suggest ardor for OpenStack has cooled over the years. The project is at pains to point out that the number of CPU cores running OpenStack has grown from 25 million to 40 million in the last year. ®

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