OpenStack Operations Guide (2014)

Appendix C. Working with Roadmaps

The good news: OpenStack has unprecedented transparency when it comes to providing information about what’s coming up. The bad news: each release moves very quickly. The purpose of this appendix is to highlight some of the useful pages to track, and take an educated guess at what is coming up in the Icehouse release and perhaps further afield.

OpenStack follows a six month release cycle, typically releasing in April/May and October/November each year. At the start of each cycle, the community gathers in a single location for a design summit. At the summit, the features for the coming releases are discussed, prioritized, and planned. Figure C-1 shows an example release cycle, with dates showing milestone releases, code freeze, and string freeze dates, along with an example of when the summit occurs. Milestones are interim releases within the cycle that are available as packages for download and testing. Code freeze is putting a stop to adding new features to the release. String freeze is putting a stop to changing any strings within the source code.

Figure C-1. Release cycle diagram

Information Available to You

There are several good sources of information available that you can use to track your OpenStack development desires.

Release notes are maintained on the OpenStack wiki, and also shown here:

Series

Status

Releases

Date

Icehouse

Under development, release schedule

2014.1

Apr 17, 2014

Havana

Current stable release, security-supported

2013.2

Apr 4, 2013

   

2013.2.1

Dec 16, 2013

Grizzly

Security-supported

2013.1

Apr 4, 2013

   

2013.1.1

May 9, 2013

   

2013.1.2

Jun 6, 2013

   

2013.1.3

Aug 8, 2013

   

2013.1.4

Oct 17, 2013

Folsom

Community-supported

2012.2

Sep 27, 2012

   

2012.2.1

Nov 29, 2012

   

2012.2.2

Dec 13, 2012

   

2012.2.3

Jan 31, 2013

   

2012.2.4

Apr 11, 2013

Essex

Community-supported

2012.1

Apr 5, 2012

   

2012.1.1

Jun 22, 2012

   

2012.1.2

Aug 10, 2012

   

2012.1.3

Oct 12, 2012

Diablo

Deprecated

2011.3

Sep 22, 2011

   

2011.3.1

Jan 19, 2012

Cactus

Deprecated

2011.2

Apr 15, 2011

Bexar

Deprecated

2011.1

Feb 3, 2011

Austin

Deprecated

2010.1

Oct 21, 2010

Here are some other resources:

§  A breakdown of current features under development, with their target milestone

§  A list of all features, including those not yet under development

§  Rough-draft design discussions (“etherpads”) from the last design summit

§  List of individual code changes under review

Influencing the Roadmap

OpenStack truly welcomes your ideas (and contributions) and highly values feedback from real-world users of the software. By learning a little about the process that drives feature development, you can participate and perhaps get the additions you desire.

Feature requests typically start their life in Etherpad, a collaborative editing tool, which is used to take coordinating notes at a design summit session specific to the feature. This then leads to the creation of a blueprint on the Launchpad site for the particular project, which is used to describe the feature more formally. Blueprints are then approved by project team members, and development can begin.

Therefore, the fastest way to get your feature request up for consideration is to create an Etherpad with your ideas and propose a session to the design summit. If the design summit has already passed, you may also create a blueprint directly. Read this blog post about how to work with blueprints the perspective of Victoria Martínez, a developer intern.

The roadmap for the next release as it is developed can be seen at Releases.

To determine the potential features going in to future releases, or to look at features implemented previously, take a look at the existing blueprints such as OpenStack Compute (nova) BlueprintsOpenStack Identity (keystone) Blueprints, and release notes.

Aside from the direct-to-blueprint pathway, there is another very well-regarded mechanism to influence the development roadmap: the user survey. Found at http://openstack.org/user-survey, it allows you to provide details of your deployments and needs, anonymously by default. Each cycle, the user committee analyzes the results and produces a report, including providing specific information to the technical committee and technical leads of the projects.

Aspects to Watch

You want to keep an eye on the areas improving within OpenStack. The best way to “watch” roadmaps for each project is to look at the blueprints that are being approved for work on milestone releases. You can also learn from PTL webinars that follow the OpenStack summits twice a year.

Driver Quality Improvements

A major quality push has occurred across drivers and plug-ins in Block Storage, Compute, and Networking. Particularly, developers of Compute and Networking drivers that require proprietary or hardware products are now required to provide an automated external testing system for use during the development process.

Easier Upgrades

One of the most requested features since OpenStack began (for components other than Object Storage, which tends to “just work”): easier upgrades. From Grizzly onward (and significantly improved in Havana), internal messaging communication is versioned, meaning services can theoretically drop back to backward-compatible behavior. This allows you to run later versions of some components, while keeping older versions of others.

In addition, a lot of focus has been placed on database migrations. These are now better managed, including the use of the Turbo Hipster tool, which tests database migration performance on copies of real-world user databases.

These changes have facilitated the first proper OpenStack upgrade guide, found in Chapter 18, and will continue to improve in Icehouse.

Deprecation of Nova Network

With the introduction of the full software-defined networking stack provided by OpenStack Networking (neutron) in the Folsom release, development effort on the initial networking code that remains part of the Compute component has gradually lessened. While many still use nova-network in production, there has been a long-term plan to remove the code in favor of the more flexible and full-featured OpenStack Networking.

An attempt was made to deprecate nova-network during the Havana release, which was aborted due to the lack of equivalent functionality (such as the FlatDHCP multi-host high-availability mode mentioned in this guide), lack of a migration path between versions, insufficient testing, and simplicity when used for the more straightforward use cases nova-network traditionally supported. Though significant effort has been made to address these concerns, nova-network will not be deprecated in the Icehouse release. In addition, the Program Technical Lead of the Compute project has indicated that, to a limited degree, patches to nova-network will now again begin to be accepted.

This leaves you with an important point of decision when designing your cloud. OpenStack Networking is robust enough to use with a small number of limitations (IPv6 support, performance issues in some scenarios) and provides many more features than nova-network. However, if you do not have the more complex use cases that can benefit from fuller software-defined networking capabilities, or are uncomfortable with the new concepts introduced, nova-network may continue to be a viable option for the next 12 to 18 months.

Similarly, if you have an existing cloud and are looking to upgrade from nova-network to OpenStack Networking, you should have the option to delay the upgrade for this period of time. However, each release of OpenStack brings significant new innovation, and regardless of your use of networking methodology, it is likely best to begin planning for an upgrade within a reasonable timeframe of each release.

As mentioned, there’s currently no way to cleanly migrate from nova-network to neutron. We recommend that you keep a migration in mind and what that process might involve for when a proper migration path is released. If you must upgrade, please be aware that both service and instance downtime is likely unavoidable.

Replacement of Open vSwitch Plug-in with Modular Layer 2

The Modular Layer 2 plug-in is a framework allowing OpenStack Networking to simultaneously utilize the variety of layer-2 networking technologies found in complex real-world data centers. It currently works with the existing Open vSwitch, Linux Bridge, and Hyper-V L2 agents and is intended to replace and deprecate the monolithic plug-ins associated with those L2 agents.

Compute V3 API

The third version of the Compute API was broadly discussed and worked on during the Havana and Icehouse release cycles. Current discussions indicate that the V2 API will remain for many releases, but this is a great time to evaluate the Compute API and provide comments while it is being defined. Of particular note is the decision that the V3 API will not support XML messages—being JSON only. This was based on the poor testing of existing XML responses in the V2 API and the lack of effort to continue to develop and maintain an entire second response type. Feedback on this and any such change is welcome by responding to the user survey.

OpenStack on OpenStack (TripleO)

This project continues to improve and you may consider using it for greenfield deployments.

Data Processing (Sahara)

A much-requested answer to big data problems, a dedicated team has been making solid progress on a Hadoop-as-a-Service project.

Bare-Metal Deployment (Ironic)

Though bare-metal deployment has been widely lauded, and development continues, the project to replace the Compute bare-metal driver will not graduate in Icehouse. A particular blueprint to follow is Migration Path from Nova’s BM Driver, which tracks the ability to move to the new project from an existing bare-metal deployment.

Database as a Service (Trove)

The OpenStack community has had a database-as-a-service tool in development for some time, and we will finally see the first integrated release of it in Icehouse. Initially, it will only support MySQL, with further options available in Juno onward, but it should be able to deploy database servers out of the box in a highly available way from this release.

Messaging as a Service (Marconi)

A service to provide queues of messages and notifications has entered “incubation,” meaning if the upcoming development cycles are successful, it will be released in Juno.

Scheduler Improvements

Both Compute and Block Storage rely on schedulers to determine where to place virtual machines or volumes. In Havana, the Compute scheduler underwent significant improvement, while in Icehouse the scheduler in Block Storage is slated for a boost. Further down the track, an effort started this cycle that aims to create a holistic scheduler covering both will come to fruition.

Block Storage Improvements

The team discussed many areas of work at the Icehouse summit, including volume migration support, Ceph integration, and access control for volumes.

Toward a Python SDK

Though many successfully use the various python-*client code as an effective SDK for interacting with OpenStack, consistency between the projects and documentation availability waxes and wanes. To combat this, an effort to improve the experience has started. Cross-project development efforts in OpenStack have a checkered history, such as the unified client project having several false starts. However, the early signs for the SDK project are promising, and we expect to see results during the Juno cycle.