Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Monday, June 14, 2021

OpenStack Newton Seeks Scale, Easier Deployment 

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The latest version of the OpenStack cloud platform emphasizes scale and automation tools with a batch of new features that include a container cluster orchestration manager, a new container-networking project along with a bare metal provisioning service.

OpenStack Newton released last week continues the momentum toward pushing lightweight container infrastructure into production via a cluster manager dubbed "Magnum," a networking initiative called "Kuryr" and other new capabilities. All are designed to encourage a wider range of enterprise use cases as containers run alongside workloads requiring virtual machines or more resilient architectures.

Newton aims to "handle more workloads in more ways across more industries worldwide," Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, noted in releasing Newton.

Newton's scaling capabilities focus on the ability to expand or shrink OpenStack cloud deployments across platforms or different geographic locations. The latter is of growing importance as U.S. cloud vendors boost datacenter construction to Europe to comply with a new data privacy and governance rules that dictate where data must be stored.

Seeking wider appeal, Newton also includes a series of enhancements to individual projects such as the Horizon dashboard, Nova cloud computing fabric controller and Swift object storage designed to allow OpenStack users to quickly scale cloud platforms up or down.

The scaling upgrades also include multi-tenancy improvements within Ironic, the OpenStack tool for provisioning bare metal machines rather than virtual machines.

The resiliency improvements stem from ongoing work on a range of OpenStack projects focused on platform stability regardless of workload demands. Among those projects is the Cinder block storage architecture used to create and manage volumes. While Newton includes upgrades such as encrypting credentials, Cinder adds support for shifting between encrypted and unencrypted volumes. In addition, a Cinder backup service can be scaled to multiple instances, OpenStack said.

Meanwhile, the latest version of the open-source cloud platform looks to leverage automation tools to make the often hard-to-deploy cloud platform easier to roll out. Hence, Newton is being touted as a single cloud platform for virtualization, bare metal and application containers.

The Magnum cluster manager allows provisioning for leading container orchestration tools such as Docker Swarm, Kubernetes and Apache Mesos. New features on Magnum include support for Kubernetes clusters on bare metal servers. Meanwhile, the bare metal provisioning tool called Ironic is designed to tighten integration among Magnum, Kubernetes and OpenStack Nova, which provides on-demand access to computing resources.

Newton's new Kuryk tool brings networking capabilities to application containers, allowing integration of Docker Swarm and Kubernetes cluster managers. Kuryk also allows what the OpenStack Foundation called a "get-me-a-network" feature through its Nova tool that is designed to simplify network configuration.

The drive to reduce OpenStack complexity mirrors the efforts of proponents such as Rackspace (NYSE: RAX) and Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) who previously released managed services designed to deliver OpenStack private and public clouds as a service rather than an open-source distribution.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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