The OpenStack community is going for headlines with its latest platform release, which includes deeper integration with Kubernetes, 5G, and edge. That integration comes at a critical time as telecom operators increasingly focus on all three of those segments.
The latest release is dubbed “Stein” and is the OpenStack Foundation’s 19th release. Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, in an email noted that the community is “focused on the needs of users,” thus it “naturally includes many Kubernetes-focused updates.” He cited the 2018 OpenStack user survey that found 61% of deployments included integration of the two platforms.
Specific to Kubernetes, Stein includes the OpenStack Magnum certified Kubernetes installer, which is designed to slash Kubernetes cluster launch times in half to around five minutes regardless of the number of nodes. It also can work with the OpenStack cloud provider to the launch a fully integrated Kubernetes cluster with support for the Manila storage control plane, Cinder block storage service, and Keystone identity service tapping into the OpenStack cloud it’s created on.
“OpenStack’s support for Kubernetes has roughly tracked with the rise of that project, and we anticipate this will continue to be the case for some time into the future,” Bryce added.
OpenStack is still seen as foundational for telecom operators in migrating their network infrastructure to a virtualized environment. However, the Kubernetes ecosystem has increasingly been looking to move in on that space.
One example of the telecom industry’s growing confidence in Kubernetes is the Airship Project launched last year by AT&T, SK Telecom, Intel, and the OpenStack Foundation. The initial focus of that project is the implementation of a declarative platform to introduce OpenStack on Kubernetes (OOK) and the lifecycle management of the resulting cloud.
AT&T, specifically, is using a network platform from Mirantis that has OpenStack running on top of Kubernetes. Mirantis CEO and co-founder Adrian Ionel explained that its work showed that the vendor was able to bind the Kubernetes substrate to bare metal and that it could get that substrate to work at scale.
Ionel said that Mirantis expects the platform to run a few thousand nodes this year, and then scale to 10,000 nodes over the next three years, and more than 20,000 nodes “in the years to come.”
“This is really about Kubernetes taking a prime role in the future infrastructure of a gigantic carrier,” Ionel said. “The scale of this is really staggering.”
Bryce noted that the OpenStack community continues to foster collaborative efforts with Kubernetes through various projects. He cited LOCI, which provides lightweight Open Container Initiative (OCI)-compliant images and tooling for OpenStack services, and OpenStack-Helm, which packages OpenStack components into container images that can be managed with Kubernetes or other container orchestration tools.
For 5G, and edge, Bryce explained that the main updates are targeted at easing management. This includes the addition of a network segment range management feature in the Neutron networking project that allows cloud administrators to dynamically manage segment type ranges using a new API extension. This is an update from the previous release that required editing configuration files.
Stein also allows for application scheduling based on minimum bandwidth requirements. It does this by working with the OpenStack Nova compute service to schedule the instance to a host where the requested amount is available.
In addition, there are API improvements that allow for greater flexibility and add support for what Bryce said were “aliases to quality of service (QoS) policy rules.” This allows callers to more efficiently execute requests to delete, show, and update QoS rules.
Specific to the constrained resource environments unique to edge deployments, Bryce said projects like Airship and StarlingX “take a subset of OpenStack components, packages them up in a repeatable way, and do it in a smaller footprint.”
Airship and StarlingX are two of four recently adopted pilot projects into the OpenStack Foundation. The others include the Kata Containers project and the Zuul continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) platform.
Alan Clark, chairman of the OpenStack Foundation board, explained to SDxCentral at last year’s OpenStack Summit in Berlin that those projects make it easier for users to put OpenStack into production and integrate with other infrastructure software. “The open infrastructure strategy and new governance framework reflect the voice of our users,” Clark explained.
However, not everyone is convinced. At that same event, Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth told SDxCentral that, “Anything that distracts from continuous improvement in OpenStack is slightly unfortunate. Instead of trying to be all things to all people and support every possible niche use case, focus on delivering clean infrastructure on demand. That has certainly been our focus. It’s what people really want.”
He added that the new ancillary projects could slow down the adoption of OpenStack, which he considers a very important project. “I like to work with people who are singularly focused,” Shuttleworth said.