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OpenStack Xena and OpenStack Charms 21.10

Tytus Kurek

on 25 October 2021

This article was last updated 1 year ago.

The release of OpenStack Charms 21.10 brings native support for OpenStack Xena in Charmed OpenStack. This latest version of OpenStack comes with initial support for SmartNICs in Nova and further improvements around Neutron Open Virtual Network (OVN) driver integration. 

In order to further simplify the job of the cloud operations teams, the OpenStack Charms 21.10 release offers improved day-2 automation, including additional charm actions and better upgrade experience, and new operations documentation. Charmed OpenStack users will also benefit from a wider choice of Cinder storage backends. 

OpenStack Xena

OpenStack Xena, the 24th release of OpenStack, sets a new direction for hardware acceleration with initial support for SmartNICs in Nova. Cyborg-managed SmartNICs can now be attached to cloud instances via single-root input/output virtualisation (SR-IOV). Although this approach has scalability limitations, it sets the groundwork for further SmartNICs integration in OpenStack.

Another notable extension is further work on the Neutron OVN driver. Users can now configure stateless security groups when using OVN version 21.06 or newer. OVN remains the default software-defined networking (SDN) platform in Charmed OpenStack deployments.

OpenStack Xena gathers 15,000+ accepted changes authored by 680+ developers coming from 125+ organisations. It continues to be one of the most active open source projects in the world.

See OpenStack Xena release highlights >

Improved day-2 automation

One of the biggest challenges cloud operations teams face with OpenStack are its ongoing operations. Canonical prides itself on encapsulating typical day-2 tasks in software packages (charms) that enable automation and effectively relieve operations teams.

During this cycle, the OpenStack engineering team at Canonical has introduced the following charm actions:

  • instance-count action in nova-compute charm returns the number of instances hosted on a nova-compute unit.
  • get-availability-zone action in ceph-osd charm returns Ceph availability zone information, including CRUSH structure.
  • show-routers action in neutron-gateway charm lists Neutron routers configured on the neutron-gateway unit.
  • show-dhcp-networks action in neutron-gateway charm lists DHCP networks configured on the neutron-gateway unit.
  • show-loadbalancers action in neutron-gateway charm lists LBaaS v2 loadbalancers configured on the neutron-gateway unit.
  • get-quorum-status action in ceph-mon charm returns distilled information about Ceph quorum status.

Among various operational tasks, upgrades remain the most challenging in OpenStack. In order to improve the upgrade experience with Charmed OpenStack even more, the latest cycle brings various enhancements around the internal QA process, including additional regression testing and real workload testing. All of this enables Charmed OpenStack users and customers to upgrade their cloud to the latest version with confidence.

Charmed OpenStack model

Operations documentation

In addition to the improvements around day-2 automation, the Charmed OpenStack documentation has now been extended with a new section called “Admin Guide”. The goal of this section is to assist cloud operations teams with post-deployment instructions for operating a model-driven OpenStack through Juju commands and charm actions. At the moment, the section covers typical day-2 tasks, such as managing power events, scaling out service clusters, or live migrating Nova instances, and is expected to grow over time.

New Cinder storage backends

Charmed OpenStack ensures interoperability across various platforms, from different processor architectures to a variety of storage backends. While our reference architecture remains opinionated to ensure the price-performance of the cloud infrastructure, Canonical is ready to help customers with non-standard integrations and use cases.

As a result of such customer-driven requests, the OpenStack Charms 21.10 release includes two new charms for integrating Cinder with storage backends other than Ceph: NetApp and LVM. Both charms come with full commercial support from Canonical and plug seamlessly into the existing Charmed OpenStack model.

Other notable changes

In addition to the major improvements described above, OpenStack Charms 21.10 include many other features. Here is a summary of the most notable changes:

  • Configurable thresholds for Ceph capacity monitoring – The ceph-mon charm now provides the ability to configure thresholds for monitoring Ceph capacity and switching the cluster between various health states.
  • Neutron physnets NUMA affinity – The nova charm has been extended with additional configuration options to define NUMA affinity for Neutron physnets and tunnelled networks.
  • External S3 compatible storage support – The Glance service can now be configured to store images on an external S3 compatible storage backend.
  • Extended Pure Storage support – The cinder-purestorage charm has been extended with a number of configuration options to support additional driver features.
  • Cinder image-volume caching – The Cinder service can now be configured to enable image-volume caching.

Refer to the official release notes for more information.

Get started with OpenStack Xena on Ubuntu

Install it yourself by following the official installation instructions.

Learn more about Charmed OpenStack by visiting our website.

Join our webinar on Wednesday, October 24th to learn more about the latest improvements around upgrades in Charmed OpenStack.

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