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OpenStack Bare Metal Clouds, Fast Forward Upgrades and Hardware Accelerators Take Center Stage in Latest Release, ‘Rocky’

18th release of OpenStack addresses new demands for infrastructure driven by modern use cases like AI, machine learning, NFV and edge computing, by starting with a bare metal foundation and enabling containers, VMs and GPUs

AUSTIN, Texas — August 30, 2018 — The OpenStack community today released Rocky, the 18th version of the most widely deployed open source cloud infrastructure software. The software now powers more than 75 public cloud data centers and thousands of private clouds at a scale of more than 10 million compute cores. OpenStack is the one infrastructure platform uniquely suited to deployments of diverse hardware architectures—bare metal, virtual machines (VMs), graphics processing units (GPUs) and containers.

Among the dozens of enhancements provided in Rocky, two key highlights are refinements to Ironic (the bare metal provisioning service) and fast forward upgrades. There are also several emerging projects and features designed to meet new user requirements for hardware accelerators, high availability configurations, serverless capabilities, and edge and internet of things (IoT) use cases.

Bare metal: programmable infrastructure for any compute instance
The vast majority of enterprises are running both VMs and containers to support emerging use cases like edge computing, network functions virtualization (NFV) and artificial intelligence (AI) /machine learning. Enterprises are starting to deploy containers directly on bare metal in addition to VMs. OpenStack bare metal clouds, powered by Ironic, lay the foundation for this hybrid environment. Ironic is one of the fastest growing OpenStack projects.
OpenStack Ironic is bringing more sophisticated management and automation capabilities to bare metal infrastructure, and as a driver for Nova, allows for multi tenancy. That means users can manage physical infrastructure in the same way they are used to managing VMs, especially with new Ironic features landed in Rocky:

  • User-managed BIOS settings—BIOS (basic input output system) performs hardware initialization and has many configuration options that support a variety of use cases when customized. Options can help users gain performance, configure power management options, or enable technologies like SR-IOV or DPDK. Ironic now lets users manage BIOS settings, supporting use cases like NFV and giving users more flexibility.
  • Conductor groups—In Ironic, the “conductor” is what uses drivers to execute operations on the hardware. Ironic has introduced the “conductor_group” property, which can be used to restrict what nodes a particular conductor (or conductors) have control over. This allows users to isolate nodes based on physical location, reducing network hops for increased security and performance.
  • RAM Disk deployment interface—A new interface in Ironic for diskless deployments. This is seen in large-scale and high performance computing (HPC) use cases when operators desire fully ephemeral instances for rapidly standing up a large-scale environment. 


“OpenStack Ironic provides bare metal cloud services, bringing the automation and speed of provisioning normally associated with virtual machines to physical servers,” said Julia Kreger, principal software engineer at Red Hat and OpenStack Ironic project team lead. “This powerful foundation lets you run VMs and containers in one infrastructure platform, and that’s what operators are looking for.”

"At Oath, OpenStack manages hundreds of thousands of bare metal compute resources in our data centers. We have made significant changes to our supply chain process using OpenStack, fulfilling common bare metal quota requests within minutes,” said James Penick, IaaS Architect at Oath. “We're looking forward to deploying the Rocky release to take advantage of its numerous enhancements such as BIOS management, which will further streamline how we maintain, manage and deploy our infrastructure."

Release-Day Availability
The capabilities of Rocky are available on launch day via a new, Silicon Valley public cloud availability zone powered by Canada-based provider, VEXXHOST. Mohammed Naser, CEO of VEXXHOST, said, “The OpenStack Rocky release makes it possible to deploy quickly and upgrade more easily. This is a huge advantage for public cloud providers, who compete on the ability to push new capabilities to customers faster. OpenStack Rocky made it possible for us to open our new Silicon Valley region on launch day.”

Download Rocky and learn more, including details on features and enhancements, here.

Additional Highlights

  • Cyborg provides lifecycle management for accelerators like GPUs, FPGA, DPDK and SSDs. In Rocky, Cyborg introduces a new REST API for FPGAs––an accelerator seen in machine learning, image recognition and other HPC use cases––letting users dynamically change the functions loaded on an FPGA device. 
  • Qinling is introduced in Rocky. Qinling (“CHEEN - LEENG”), a function-as-a-service (FaaS) project, delivers serverless capabilities on top of OpenStack clouds, allowing users to run functions on OpenStack clouds without managing servers, VMs or containers, while still connecting to other OpenStack services like Keystone.
  • Masakari, which supports high availability by providing automatic recovery from failures, expands its monitoring capabilities to include internal failures in an instance, such as a hung OS, data corruption or a scheduling failure.
  • Octavia, the load balancing project, adds support for UDP (user datagram protocol), bringing load balancing to edge and IoT use cases. UDP is the transport layer frequently seen in voice, video and other real-time applications.
  • Magnum, a project that makes container orchestration engines and their resources first-class resources in OpenStack, has become a Certified Kubernetes installer in the Rocky cycle. Passing these conformance tests gives users confidence that Magnum interacts with Kubernetes as it is expected to.  


Upgrade process delivers new features faster, eases operational burdens
The Fast Forward Upgrade (FFU) feature from the TripleO project is ready for prime time, all set to help users overcome upgrade hurdles and get on newer releases of OpenStack faster. The recent releases of OpenStack delivered a wealth of features to support the evolution in cloud use cases, but users on older versions miss out on these innovations. Now FFU lets a TripleO user on Release “N” quickly speed through intermediary releases to get on Release “N+3” (the current iteration of FFU being the Newton release to Queens), gaining access to the ease-of-operations enhancements and novel developments like vGPU support present in Queens.

At the Berlin Summit, November 13-15, Adobe Advertising Cloud and the Science and Technology Facilities Council are presenting their OpenStack upgrades strategy. Oath will also be leading a workshop, tapping into their own experience from upgrading 20,000 cores from Juno to Ocata.

Upcoming OpenStack ‘Open Infrastructure’ Summits
Learn more about Rocky at the upcoming OpenStack Summit Berlin, November 13-15. Attendees from more than 50 countries will gather and interact with speakers from industry-leading companies, discussing innovation in open infrastructure. Critical application focus areas for the Summit include edge computing, continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD), AI, NFV and container infrastructure, as well as public, private and hybrid strategies. Browse the OpenStack Summit event agenda and sessions featuring more than 35 open source projects, including new projects hosted at the OpenStack Foundation: Airship, Kata Containers, StarlingX and Zuul.

Analysts and members of the media can contact [email protected] for information about registration.

About OpenStack®
OpenStack is the only open source integration engine that provides APIs to orchestrate bare metal, virtual machines and container resources on a single network. The same OpenStack code powers a global network of public and private clouds, backed by the industry’s largest ecosystem of technology providers, to enable cost savings, control and portability. A global community of 90,000 individuals in 187 countries work together on the OpenStack project. www.openstack.org

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Media Contacts:
Robert Cathey
Cathey Communications for the OpenStack Foundation
e [email protected]

Lauren Sell
OpenStack Foundation
e [email protected]