OpenStack releases Pike with an eye on composable infrastructure

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OpenStack has released its latest version, called Pike, with the open source infrastructure community pushing a more modular approach

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The OpenStack Foundation has made the 16th released to its popular open source cloud infrastructure platform. Named Pike, this follows the Ocata release earlier this year – and it focuses on 'composable' infrastructure services and better lifecycle management.

Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the Foundation, said: “The features and upgrades that Pike brings are the lessons of experience you get from enabling thousands of public and private clouds, large and small, for seven-plus years.

“The rise of composable services and simpler consumption options are part of that maturation process. Our community is now focused on eliminating future technical debt as well as growing OpenStack's capabilities.”

OpenStack is the world's most deployed open source cloud infrastructure software and these deployments are only growing – with the April 2017 user survey finding a 44 percent increase in installs compared to the same time last year.

Composable infrastructure

The term 'composable infrastructure' has been floating around since before this decade, but only in recent years have vendors really pushed it as the way forward in data centre infrastructure.

Loosely speaking, you can think of composable infrastructure as a way to manage hardware components like compute, storage and networking through software commands, similar in concept to a hyperconverged system, but more flexible. Resources are pooled and can be provisioned almost in real time depending on the needs of a workload.

Read next: Hyperconverged infrastructure: How software is transforming the data centre

OpenStack says that its modular architecture allows for picking the functionality you need, ranging from block storage provisioning through to bare metal, and that this 'composability' will make use cases like edge computing possible, without vendor lock-in.

The Foundation observed that the increased use of containers, machine learning and edge computing is building the case for composable services, and so Ironic bare metal now has enhanced integration for Cinder block storage and Neutron networking, while Cinder can also act as a standalone storage for virtual machines, bare metal, or containers in the Docker or Kubernetes flavours.

OpenStack's container tool Kolla has had a 19 percent increase in community contributions compared to the previous Ocata release, and the Foundation says it's now easier to manage and upgrade OpenStack with services like Kubernetes and Ansible.

OpenStack Pike features

Additions with the Pike release include Nova Cells v2 for large OpenStack deployments, with new features including the ability to shard data cluster deployments, plus segregating failure domains. There's also a Python 3.5 upgrade in preparation of Python reaching its end-of-life status in 2020, as well as boosting Python performance.

The Ironic bare metal service can plug into Neutron networks, and can now support rolling upgrades, so operators can roll out new code without interrupting the service, as is possible across Cinder, Neutron, Nova and Swift.

OpenStack's previous release, Ocata, focused on all-round better stability and scalability plus support for containers in particular, while Newton, the release before that, was seen as a leap in development for running virtual machines and containers at scale.

The infrastructure has held a reputation for being somewhat complex to manage and deploy at the enterprise level, although its biggest cheerleaders will say that this is less the case with each release. 

Pike is available for download now, just over a month before the OpenStack Summit, which runs 6-8 November in Sydney, where the new capabilities will be demonstrated by the community, along with speakers from customers varying from China Railway to DARPA and Saudi Telecom.

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