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Newest OpenStack release comes with bare-metal installs in mind

News Analysis
Sep 07, 20183 mins
Data Center

The OpenStack Foundation recognizes that bare metal is becoming a more popular way to deploy cloud platforms.

clouded view of data center
Credit: Vladimir Timofeev / Getty Images

The OpenStack Foundation has announced the general availability of the 18th iteration of its cloud platform, called OpenStack Rocky. The major new functionalities to the platform are faster upgrades and enhanced support for bare metal infrastructure.

Bare-metal cloud is a term for cloud services that come with zero software. When you rent an instance on Amazon S3 or Microsoft Azure, you get a virtualized environment that is run on a hypervisor and shared with another, unknown user. This often causes performance issues, since you never know what kind of neighbor you will get each time.

With bare-metal hosting, there is no hypervisor. You share those Xeon CPUs and associated memory with no one. This means faster and more consistently reliable performance. It also means you have to bring your own software, but some people are willing to do just that.

The bare-metal management of OpenStack is done through Ironic, OpenStack’s bare-metal service. It allows for the production of an OpenStack environment and the associated libraries to manage and provision physical machines in exactly the same way OpenStack can be used with virtual machines.

OpenStack is quite popular as a cloud computing platform, powering dozens of public cloud data centers, including Rackspace, where it was created in partnership with NASA, and thousands of companies.

There’s quite a bit of news to the bare-metal element, as well. Ironic now lets users manage BIOS settings, supporting use cases such as NFV and giving users more flexibility. Ironic also adds something called a conductor, which uses drivers to execute operations on the hardware. Ironic can now isolate nodes based on physical location or perform functions on specific hardware, controlling what is executed where.

There is also the RAMDisk deployment interface for diskless deployments in large-scale and HPC use cases.

Also included in OpenStack Rocky

OpenStack Rocky also introduces Magnum, a project that makes container orchestration engines and their resources first-class resources in OpenStack. With this release, OpenStack is a certified Kubernetes installer, so users will get the full Kubernetes experience.

Octavia, the load-balancing project, adds support for UDP, an important transport layer frequently seen in voice, video, and other real-time applications. This is seen as vital to bringing load balancing to edge and IoT use cases.

OpenStack Rocky also introduces Masakari, which provides automatic recovery from failures to support high availability, expands its monitoring capabilities to include internal failures in an instance, such as a hung OS, data corruption, or a scheduling failure.

For high-performance computing, OpenStack Rocky adds Cyborg to provide lifecycle management for accelerators like GPUs, FPGA, DPDK, and SSDs. Cyborg introduces a new REST API for FPGAs.

Finally, OpenStack Rocky introduces Qinling, a function-as-a-service (FaaS) project for users looking to experiment with serverless computing.

Andy Patrizio is a freelance journalist based in southern California who has covered the computer industry for 20 years and has built every x86 PC he’s ever owned, laptops not included.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of ITworld, Network World, its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.