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Mirantis OpenStack 5.0 is Here: Finally, Fuel for Icehouse

Nick Chase - June 02, 2014

One of the questions we have been hearing is "When are we going to be able to deploy OpenStack Icehouse with Fuel?"

Right now.

This week, we released Mirantis OpenStack 5.0, which includes the Fuel project and the Icehouse release of OpenStack -- thoroughly tested, hardened, and ready to deploy.  

There's always confusion between Mirantis OpenStack and Fuel, so let's clear that up.  Mirantis OpenStack is made up of three facets:

  • Fuel for OpenStack: People generally think of Fuel is an OpenStack installer, because it provides an easy-to-use interface that lets you customize your OpenStack deployment starting from proven reference architectures - but it’s certainly more than that. First off, it’s designed to be multi-cloud aware; enabling you deploy and manage multiple clouds, remove nodes from one cloud to add them to another, or even remove entire clouds and return their resources to the available pool.  It also provides pre-deployment network verification, a battery of post-deployment health checks and log management.  (See a quick demo of Fuel here.)

  • Mirantis OpenStack hardened packages: Mirantis believes in open source, but sometimes things don't move as fast as we all want them to, so Mirantis OpenStack starts with the core OpenStack projects and adds fixes for any defects reported by our customers that have not yet been merged into trunk. You also get open source packages tested and supported by Mirantis that enable High Availability, Mirantis-pioneered projects such as Sahara and Murano, and Mirantis certified partner plug-ins and integrations.

  • Mirantis Support: No matter how good the distribution, it's always good to have someone there, just in case.  Mirantis provides world-class support not just for Fuel, but for OpenStack itself. It's available 24-7, depending on the service level you choice.

In addition to the inclusion of Icehouse, Mirantis OpenStack 5.0 includes several new features we're excited about. Another question that we get pretty frequently is "How can I integrate OpenStack with my VMware environment."  Mirantis OpenStack 5.0 includes the ability to specify vCenter for your hypervisor, installing a Nova-compute service with the VMWare vCenter server driver activated on the controller node so that OpenStack VMs can be scheduled to your existing ESXI servers and thus treated like any other OpenStack controlled VM.

We've also made architectural changes with an eye to the future. The Fuel master node can now be upgraded, so when future versions of Mirantis OpenStack are released, you'll be able to upgrade the Fuel node in place without disrupting your environment. Similarly, you'll be able to manage future versions of Mirantis OpenStack alongside your current environments, with Fuel managing Icehouse and Juno side-by-side.

In fact, we've implemented 43 new blueprints in version 5.0, adding enhancements such as changing the default database for OpenStack Telemetry (Ceilometer) to MongoDB and improving network verification for OpenStack Networking (Neutron). We've also made sure that all operating systems supplied with Mirantis OpenStack are protected against the "Heartbleed" defect in OpenSSL.

More than that, we've been listening to your feedback. Recently, we conducted a survey of Mirantis OpenStack users and learned:

  • 80% of users thought installing the Fuel master node was Easy or Very Easy.  

  • 75% of users thought installing OpenStack was Easy or Very Easy.  Clearly we're on the right track here, but with the addition of new integrations (vCenter) and better verifications (Neutron) as well as other improvements, we're trying to make it even easier.

  • As far as documentation, 59% of users rated it as "Very Helpful" or "Helpful", but that's not good enough for us.  We've completely restructured our docs to make them more user-centric, so you'll find the Mirantis OpenStack 5.0 docs to be a great resource.

  • Another area where we felt we had some work to do is stability.  We're not happy with just 57% thinking it's "Stable" or "Very Stable". While OpenStack's breakneck pace makes some difficulties inevitable, this development cycle has seen 439 bug fixes with a strong emphasis on High Availability, and our focus for 2014 is to ensure that Mirantis OpenStack is considered the most reliable, stable, and scalable distribution out there.

  • As in OpenStack itself, Ubuntu was the most popular operating system, with 70% of respondents using it.

  • More than 70% of users chose the single-node architecture, over HA.  To make it even easier to choose HA, we’re expecting a near-term future release to enable you to install an HA-ready architecture with just a single controller, then add additional controllers later, when HA is required, without having to redeploy your cluster.  Look for it soon!

  • Although Nova-network is still going strong, almost twice as many deployments used Neutron (with either GRE or VXLAN) as Nova-network.  We're continuing our community participation in the Neutron project, both from the aspect of helping to create new drivers and plug-ins, and to improve Neutron itself.

  • Similarly, while Mirantis OpenStack does include built-in support for Ceph, the reports of Swift's demise have apparently been greatly exaggerated (at least for now) with Swift deployments edging out Ceph deployments by about 6%,

  • With all of the vendors building Cinder drivers, it's no surprise that Cinder deployments out-paced Ceph by almost 20%, with an additional 16% using an external SAN with iSCSI for their block storage needs.  That said, Ceph isn't exactly an "also ran" in this area, with nearly 50% of respondents indicating that they'd used it for block storage in at least one deployment.

  • The most popular "related project" installed with Mirantis OpenStack was Ceilometer, yet it also topped the list of users' least important features, indicating that perhaps people want to use it, but don't yet consider it ready for production.

  • In that same vein, the second least popular feature was Swift integration, despite the fact that it's the most popular Object storage option. Note that the results may be skewed by Ceph purists who don't feel they need it; our services engagements continue to consistently hear from customers requesting Swift clusters, so we'll keep an eye on this one.

Looking forward, the top 5 requested features for future versions of Mirantis OpenStack are:

  • The ability to upgrade OpenStack: This is on everyone's mind, of course; Icehouse has added the ability to do rolling upgrades of Nova services, and Mirantis continues to work with the community to bring that level of backwards-compatibility to all of OpenStack.

  • Access control for the Fuel Master Node:  This was already on our roadmap and we’re targeting it for the next minor version of the Fuel Project.

  • IPMI support

  • Benchmarking

  • The ability to use Fuel to deploy OpenStack from trunk

So please go ahead and download Mirantis OpenStack 5.0 and let us know how you think we did, and what you'd like to see us implement next!

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