April 13, 2016

RDO Delivers OpenStack Mitaka for CentOS Linux

This week, the RDO community announced the general availability of its freely-available, community-supported distribution of OpenStack, the popular open source project for building private, public, and hybrid clouds.

RDO delivers the management, user experience, and scalability enhancements of the recent OpenStack Mitaka release in a form that's packaged and tested for hosts running CentOS Linux or Red Hat Enterprise Linux. More than just a set of packages, RDO is a community of OpenStack users, operators and contributors comparing notes and helping one another.

Read on to learn about some of what's new in the Mitaka release of RDO, or head over to the RDO Project site to download the software and meet the community.

Management & Deployment

Simplified cloud management and deployment is one of the headline themes for the Mitaka OpenStack release. For instance, the teams behind the Nova compute and Keystone identity services have managed to trim some of the required configuration elements, replacing them with additional default settings, as can be seen by comparing the current and previous versions of the Nova installation guide.

Elsewhere in Nova, the Mitaka release brings improvements to the functionality and reliability of virtual instance live migration, with support for pausing and aborting live migrations, and for providing progress reports on these migration operations.

On the deployment front, RDO continues to offer the packstack tool for producing quick, proof of concept OpenStack installations on limited hardware. To get up and running quickly with a more production-appropriate deployment of RDO, there's a quickstart install option based on the OpenStack TripleO project (previously known as RDO Manager) that builds on the Nova, Ironic, Neutron, and Heat components to automate cloud management.

For still another take on OpenStack deployment, the Kolla project provides images and deployment tools for operating OpenStack clouds with components running in Docker containers. The Kolla project defaults to RDO as a base for its container images, and uses Ansible scripts for deployment. New for Mitaka, Kolla has added Ansible scripts for conducting service upgrades and centralized log aggregation using the ELK stack of ElasticSearch, LogStash, and Kibana.

User Experience

OpenStack Mitaka also promises to improve general user experience, with enhancements both to the project's Horizon web dashboard application and to the command line tools available to end users and operators alike. Users of the Horizon web interface can expect improved performance thanks to wider use of Angular.JS and of template caching across the project.

Where individual stack components have previously hewed to their own separate command line client applications, the latest release includes a major push toward a common cli application, called OpenStack Client, that provides a consistent set of calls for creating resources so that end users can apply their knowledge from familiar components to additional OpenStack services, without having to learn the quirks of individual service APIs.

Scalability

As OpenStack racks up more time running the cloud environments of large users, the project has accrued various enhancements related to operating at scale, and this is another theme of the Mitaka release.

The Nova compute service now offers a disk space scheduling filter, which enables Nova to take free disk space into consideration, alongside available RAM, when allocating new instances on compute hosts. The project has also firmed up Nova's Cells v2, a feature first introduced in OpenStack Liberty that allows admins to scale a compute cloud in a distributed fashion without relying on complicated database and message queue clustering.

OpenStack's Cinder block storage backup component has been decoupled from the volume storage component, allowing both for greater scalability and for improved data protection, as well as opening the way for new volume backup options such as the OpenStack Cinder backup driver for Google Cloud Storage driver announced this week.

Getting Involved

The RDO project will be holding a pair of test days on April 13-14, 2016. The testing will be coordinated through the #rdo channel on Freenode, through the RDO project website and the rdo-list mailing list. Drop into the IRC room or introduce yourself on the mailing list to connect with other RDO community members as they explore this new release.

Beyond the test days, if you're interested in getting more involved with packaging, building and testing OpenStack (and other cloud platforms) on CentOS Linux, check out the CentOS Cloud SIG, which provides build and continuous integration resources for the RDO effort.

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