OpenStack's Transition to a 1-Year Release Cycle
OpenStack, the open-source software platform for cloud computing, has been the backbone of many private and public cloud deployments since its inception in 2010. Known for its modular and flexible approach to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), OpenStack has historically followed a 6-month release cycle, allowing rapid iterations, feature introductions and…also breaking things sometimes.
After releasing “Austin” to “Zed” in the past 12 years, the OpenInfra Foundation released “Antelope” – the 27th version of the world’s most widely deployed open source cloud infrastructure software in March this year. The release came with an announcement to shift to a 1-year release cycle. Let’s explore the reasons behind this decision and its potential impact on the OpenStack community and its users.
New Release Cadence
OpenStack has historically used a six month release cycle cadence for the projects which participate in the coordinated release. Further, upgrades were tested and supported between two adjacent releases only, requiring deployers and distributions to either upgrade every six months to stay on track, or perform Fast Forward Upgrades (FFUs) to move between non-adjacent releases at runtime.
It is not a secret that especially for large installations upgrades have quickly become a big pain. For many operators it is simply unfeasible to prepare, test and deploy multiple OpenStack components, especially at the scale of hundreds of nodes and multiple regions within a few months.
Antelope is the first in a new release cadence that eases the demands upon operators to upgrade every six months. It allows Openstack installations to opt into a once-a-year upgrade cycle, upgrading with every Skip Level Upgrade Release Process or “SLURP” release.
The “Not-SLURP” releases will be available in each six-month interim for those who still wish to upgrade more frequently. The 28th release, known as Bobcat, is slated for October 2023 and will be a non-Skip Level Upgrade Release Process (non-SLURP) release. Speaking of Bobcat – it will include a contribution from the Cloudification team in the form of a new Manila Share Backup API.
Integration with Kubernetes
As stated in the last year OpenStack User Survey, Kubernetes is now deployed in over 85% of OpenStack deployments.
In order to improve its Kubernetes support in the Antelope release, Magnum, the OpenStack container orchestration service, has been updated to support recent Kubernetes v1.24 on Fedora CoreOS versions 36 and 37. It has also been recertified as a Kubernetes orchestrator by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). However, Magnum adoption has been fairly low across the users of OpenStack with only about 20% of installations using the service.
The transition of OpenStack to a 1-year release cycle is a move that will be much appreciated by many OpenStack operators around the world. The shift reflects the evolving needs of the user base and the broader cloud computing ecosystem where stability is often more important than new features.
Cloudification team has automated and performed multiple OpenStack release upgrades for its customers over the years. If your company is stuck with an old version of OpenStack – get in touch now!