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What’s Up with OpenStack in 2023

The OpenInfra Summit Vancouver is a great opportunity to get involved in the OpenStack community and learn from the world’s biggest users.
Jun 14th, 2023 7:00am by
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The OpenStack community has released its 27th version of the software, circling all the way back to the beginning of the alphabet. Due to its passionate and active contributor base, OpenStack continues to be one of the top five most active open source projects. Organizations around the globe, spanning almost every industry, have embraced OpenStack, reaching 40 million cores of compute in production. Within this footprint, adoption specifically among OpenStack-powered public clouds now spans over 300 data centers worldwide.

In addition to OpenStack, the OpenInfra Foundation has replicated its model for hosting open source projects including Kata Containers, StarlingX and Zuul. This model is now readily available for any organization that wants to leverage the Four Opens and three forces to build a sustainable open source project within the infrastructure layer.

The OpenInfra Summit Vancouver on June 13-15, is a great opportunity to get involved in the OpenStack community while collaborating more closely with other OpenInfra projects and learn from the world’s biggest users.

OpenStack Is More Reliable and Stable Than Ever

As the OpenStack software platform has matured, there has been a notable emphasis on reliability and stability. Many features and enhancements have been introduced to ensure a smoother and more robust experience. These improvements include the implementation of a new “skip level upgrade release process” cadence, which began with the Antelope release in March 2023.

One significant aspect of OpenStack’s evolution is the increased emphasis on thorough testing. More extensive testing procedures are now in place, ensuring that the platform is attentively examined for potential issues and vulnerabilities.

Another recent focus for the upstream community has been removing under-maintained services and features to allow for a more focused and efficient system, eliminating unnecessary components that may hinder the reliability and stability of OpenStack.

OpenStack also places a strong emphasis on interoperability. Integration and collaboration efforts with other popular open source components such as GNU/Linux, Kubernetes, Open vSwitch, Ceph and Ansible have been prioritized. These initiatives promote compatibility and interaction between different software systems, which has enhanced overall reliability.

In contrast to the past focus on vendor-specific drivers and niche features, OpenStack now prioritizes contributions to general functionality. For example, developing a unified client/SDK offers a standardized and consistent experience across the platform. This shift promotes stability and reliability by focusing on core functionalities that benefit all users.

As OpenStack continues to mature, these various measures and initiatives demonstrate a strong commitment to reliability, stability and long-term success.

Flexible Support for a Variety of Workload Models

OpenStack is a powerful and versatile cloud computing platform that offers flexible support for various workload models. One of its standout features is the ability to work closely with hardware, enabling users to harness the full potential of their systems. For instance, the Ironic bare metal systems deployment and lifecycle management tool and the Nova bare metal driver provide seamless integration of on-demand physical server access into a full-featured OpenStack deployment.

To ensure long-term sustainability, OpenStack’s capabilities are continuously tested on architectures like ARM/AArch64 and have included support for other unconventional processor architectures like PowerPC. It also offers advanced scheduling capabilities like PCI passthrough, CPU pinning, and coordination and life cycle management of peripherals like accelerators, graphics processing units (GPUs), data processing units (DPUs) and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). Moreover, OpenStack has tighter integration with the container ecosystem, with Magnum as a Kubernetes-certified distribution, Zun enabling individual application containers to be provisioned and manipulated as first-class server objects and Kuryr delivering advanced Neutron network features directly to container processes.

OpenStack also offers solutions for running its services as container workloads, with Kolla and OpenStack-Helm. It has fostered close collaboration with the Kubernetes community, with current and former leadership cross-over between the two projects. OpenStack provides services to facilitate long-lived processes and precious data, such as scheduling policies, data retention, backups and high availability/disaster recovery. Its services facilitate ephemeral and distributed applications with load distribution and multi and hybrid cloud, along with cloud-bursting features. Overall, this is an ideal platform for organizations looking to achieve maximum flexibility and efficiency in their cloud computing environments, with a broad range of tools and features that can support a wide variety of workloads and use cases.

What’s the Story with Security?

Security is a major concern in any computing platform, and the OpenStack community takes this issue very seriously. Over time, the OpenStack contributors have made significant strides in enhancing security through long-term improvement initiatives. Community goals have been set to tackle critical security aspects, such as role-based access control, privilege separation for services, image encryption and Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) compliance testing. These efforts demonstrate the community’s commitment to continuously enhancing security features and mitigating potential risks.

One notable achievement is the steady reduction in the volume of reported security vulnerabilities. By actively identifying and addressing security concerns, the community has created a safer environment for cloud deployments.

Additionally, OpenStack has implemented new vulnerability coordination policies that promote transparency and collaboration. These policies not only provide open access to more projects but also mandate clearer publication timelines. By ensuring that vulnerabilities are promptly disclosed and addressed, OpenStack enables users to stay informed and take appropriate actions to protect their systems.

OpenStack’s commitment to security extends beyond its own ecosystem. The platform has been a pioneer in establishing a sustainable vulnerability management process, which has served as a model for many other open source communities. This recognition highlights the effectiveness of OpenStack’s security practices and reinforces its position as a leader in the open source world.

How Can People Contribute and Add to This Project?

The OpenStack community welcomes all individuals and organizations to actively participate and enhance the community by adhering to OpenInfra’s “Four Opens” principles. If you’re interested in joining this collaborative effort, various avenues are available to guide you through the process.

To begin contributing, the project offers Contributor Guides that serve as valuable resources for both individuals and organizations. These guides not only assist with upstream code contributions but also provide insights into non-code contributions. Additionally, they outline opportunities for users and operators to contribute their expertise and insights to the project’s growth.

One way to make a meaningful impact is by volunteering as a mentor for university interns. Sharing your knowledge and experience can help shape the next generation of contributors. Moreover, you can propose efforts for sponsorship through programs like Outreachy, which provides opportunities for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds to contribute to open source projects. Additionally, you can support events such as Open Source Day at the Grace Hopper conference.

For someone who is new and seeking information and advice, the First Contact SIG (Special Interest Group) within the OpenStack community is an excellent starting point. This group’s mission is to provide a place for new contributors, making it a welcoming and inclusive space for those who are just beginning their journey in the project.

If you’re looking to make a more significant impact, consider exploring Upstream Investment Opportunities. These opportunities offer a curated set of suggested investment areas based on the current needs in the OpenStack community along with contact points for who can help you get started.

Overall, the OpenStack project offers a range of avenues for individuals and organizations to contribute and add value to the community. Whether it’s through code or non-code contributions, mentoring, sponsorships or investment opportunities, there are numerous ways to engage and actively participate in the growth and success of the project.

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