OpenStack Caracal improves agility & delivers bite as VMware alternative

The OpenStack has released Caracal (pronounced:‘keh·ruh·kal’ and named after the  medium-sized wild cat native to Africa, the Middle East and Asia) marking the 29th version of this widely deployed open source cloud infrastructure software.

OpenStack is today deployed with more than 45 million cores in production. 

Recently, OpenStack has seen increasing demand among users who are hosting Artificial Intelligence (AI) and High-Performance Computing (HPC) workloads, as well as by users who want to run virtualised workloads at a scale while avoiding the vendor lock-in nature of proprietary solutions. 

OpenStack Caracal shares several features with its namesake African wildcat: the ability to make great leaps, agility and high performance, fierce protection of its territory and adaptability to new environments.

Support of AI & HPC 

OpenStack reminds us that it enables users to make leaps in productivity through its support of AI and HPC workloads. 

For example, Nova now supports vGPU live migrations, a win for hardware enablement and accelerated workloads. Within Nova, bugs were also fixed to improve GPU support specific to the technology provided by capitalisation-focused company Nvidia.

In addition, Ironic’s continued transition from manufacturer-specific drivers to the Redfish API is helping promote open standards in hardware management while improving maintainability for its project.

SLURP release

OpenStack Caracal is a SLURP release, and the first release where operators can leap from the previous two releases, Antelope and Bobcat, through skip-level upgrades, a feature within the new release cadence designed to ease the demands upon operators to upgrade every six months. Deployments are now able to opt into a once-a-year upgrade cycle, upgrading with every Skip Level Upgrade Release Process or “SLURP” release. “Not-SLURP” releases are available in each six-month interim for those who wish to upgrade more frequently. 

New features include the fact that Designate now supports Catalog Zones (RFC 9432). This can improve the scalability of Designate pools managing a large number of zones and significantly reduce the provisioning time when adding additional DNS servers to a Designate pool.

Octavia Amphora-based load balancers now support using SR-IOV Virtual Functions (VF) for the load balancer VIP ports. This can significantly reduce latency for traffic flowing through the load balancer, delivering a notable improvement for high-traffic and performance-sensitive deployments.

“Currently, the big drivers of OpenStack demand are AI workloads and VMware users looking for alternative virtualization solutions, and the Caracal release includes improvements that will help in both of those areas,” said Thierry Carrez, general manager of the OpenInfra Foundation. “For example, in Nova we see enablement of vGPU migration, a critical feature to support AI and high-performance workloads, while in other components you’ll see several user experience improvements that will make OpenStack more intuitive to use for users new to cloud infrastructure. Beyond that, you’ll see in Caracal that the OpenStack community is still very active in enhancing security, performance, reliability, and addressing the type of housekeeping and QA work that continues to make OpenStack the open source cloud platform of choice.” 

With respect to user experience (UX), performance enhancements in Caracal include upgrades in Ironic and Manila. 

Ironic will now reserve a small number of worker threads for user-interactive API usage. Previously, an overloaded Ironic cluster could fail API calls if many nodes performed provisioning actions at the same time. 

In Manila, users can now specify a custom export location for their shares, making mount paths predictable. Also, shares created using the CEPHFS protocol in Manila will now feature the backing filesystem name in the share metadata, making it easier to mount shares.

Security enhancements are also a common theme in many OpenStack Caracal components. Highlights include role-based access control (RBAC) progress in services like Ironic, Keystone, Kolla and Magnum reflect an ongoing OpenStack-wide goal to improve overall security and flexibility of the platform.

The OpenStack Caracal release is available for download.

Free image: Wikipedia.


Data Center
Data Management