Fuel is the pluggable, open source deployment automation framework that sets Mirantis OpenStack apart from other distributions. It’s not only a powerful tool for configuring and deploying small-footprint to full-scale, HA-enabled production clusters; you can use Fuel to install optional OpenStack components, like Murano, Sahara and Ceilometer, select open source infrastructure, such as Ceph, plus validated solutions Mirantis partners have enabled via Fuel Plugins.
Using Fuel is simple. Just download the unified Mirantis OpenStack 7.0 .iso, slip it into the virtual DVD of a VM sharing a physical network with the hardware you want to turn into an OpenStack cloud, and boot to create a Fuel Master Node. You can download and install Fuel plugins that make it easier to configure and automate deployment of partner solutions. Then visit Fuel’s web UI or CLI to configure, deploy, health-check and maintain Mirantis OpenStack.
The big news for Fuel 7.0, however, is a new user interface and updates that make Fuel easier to navigate, more flexible for managing larger-scale and custom-crafted deployments—and thus a more powerful platform for third-party plugins.
New UI Features
Some changes are obvious from login — Fuel has a new color-scheme and somewhat more minimalist, but also more informative design, with economical icons for language selection, nodes discovered, adminstrator account management and notifications, and status-reporting on environment tiles. A new Plugins menu, up top, lists plugins enabled on the Fuel Master Node, and provides links to related documentation.
The New OpenStack Environment wizard — the starting point for cluster creation — is more self-documenting than before, with clearer choices. Once the wizard completes, a new Dashboard tab for each environment provides a summary, capacity and node stats, links to documentation, and — once the environment is deployed — a handy, persistent direct link to its Horizon dashboard.
The Nodes tab has been made over with new features aimed at making it easier to assign roles (including custom roles, as described below) to nodes and configure very large numbers of nodes in production deployments. Changes include improved node labeling, along with the ability to sort, filter and search out views of nodes (both role-assigned and unassigned) by single or multiple criteria. An optional, more-compact node view lets you survey many more nodes at once, accessing info on each via graceful popup dialogs.
Formerly a single, complex, scrollable page, Fuel’s environment Settings tab has been upgraded by the addition of subtabs for each category of configuration operation, making it far easier to find and focus on specific changes and settings.
Version 7.0 introduces several changes — some grounded in new Kilo features — that improve overall cluster security, permit more flexible custom deployments, and let Fuel plugin builders deploy their solutions with greater finesse.
Fuel is now preferentially deploying Keystone with Apache on its own VM, rather than as a co-resident service on controllers, making it more robust and performant; defaulting to https for API endpoint transactions; and presuming availability of a local DNS to resolve the endpoint domain(s). While it’s easy to uncheck options to enable http deployment and raw IP addressing, suitable for PoCs and isolate clusters, the new defaults support greater security for remote management access and legacy infrastructure integration—tasks appropriate for enterprise-scale deployments.
Fuel plugin builders can add greater utility and deployment flexibility by taking advantage of new node role assignment features, creating plugins that define node roles specific to their solution (e.g., define a given node as a session border controller) and letting users add these roles to nodes via Fuel’s WebUI or CLI. Roles, in turn, subtend node configuration and deployment tasks, including enabling high availability. A similar, related feature enables templating of network configurations specific to particular deployments.
Finally, Fuel 7.0 gives users and Fuel plugin builders more control over underlying granular deployment, empowering creation of simple yaml templates to, for example, redefine where OpenStack components are deployed, and to interrupt/pause OpenStack execution while components of a solution and related dependencies are inserted on target nodes.
Try it Yourself
Many subtle improvements in Fuel establish it as a fast-maturing platform of considerable subtlety: a tool for making things simple that conceals great power and flexibility that more advanced users and enterprise-scale cloud builders will find welcome. Try it yourself as part of the Mirantis OpenStack 7.0 integrated .iso at https://www.mirantis.com/products/mirantis-openstack-software/.