What’s new in OpenStack Ocata webinar — Q&A

On February 22, my colleagues Rajat Jain, Stacy Verroneau, and Michael Tillman and I held a webinar to discuss the new features in OpenStack’s latest release, Ocata. Unfortunately, we ran out of time for questions and answers, so here they are.

Q: What are the benefits of using the cells capability?

Rajat: The cells concept was introduced in the Juno release, and as some of you may recall, it was to allow a large number of nova/compute instances to share openstack services.

Therefore, Cells functionality enables you to scale an OpenStack Compute cloud in a more distributed fashion without having to use complicated technologies like database and message queue clustering. It supports very large deployments.

When this functionality is enabled, the hosts in an OpenStack Compute cloud are partitioned into groups called cells. Cells are configured as a tree. The top-level cell should have a host that runs a nova-api service, but no nova-compute services. Each child cell should run all of the typical nova-* services in a regular Compute cloud except for nova-api. You can think of cells as a normal Compute deployment in that each cell has its own database server and message queue broker. This was achieved by the nova cells and nova api services to provide the capabilities.

One of the key changes in Ocata is the upgrade to cells v2, which now only relies on the nova api service for all the synchronization across the cells.

Q: What is the placement service and how can I leverage it?

Rajat: The placement service, which was introduced in the Newton release, is now a key part of OpenStack and also mandatory in determining the optimum placement of VMs. Basically, you set up pools of resources, provide an inventory of the compute nodes, and then set up allocations for resource providers. Then you can set up policies and models for optimum placements of VMs.

Q: What is the OS profiler, and why is it useful?

Rajat: OpenStack consists of multiple projects. Each project, in turn, is  composed of multiple services. To process a request — for example, to boot a virtual machine — OpenStack uses multiple services from different projects. If something in this process runs slowly, it’s extremely complicated to understand what exactly goes wrong and to locate the bottleneck.

To resolve this issue,  a tiny but powerful library, osprofiler, was introduced. The osprofiler library will be used by all OpenStack projects and their python clients. It provides functionality to be able to generate 1 trace per request, flowing through all involved services. This trace can then be extracted and used to build a tree of calls which can be quite handy for a variety of reasons (for example, in isolating cross-project performance issues).

Q: If I have keystone connected to a backend active directory, will i benefit from the auto-provisioning of the federated identity?

Rajat: Yes. The federated identity mapping engine now supports the ability to automatically provision projects for federated users. A role assignment will automatically be created for the user on the specified project. Prior to this, a federated user had to attempt to authenticate before an administrator could assign roles directly to their shadowed identity, resulting in a strange user experience. This is therefore a big usability enhancement for deployers leveraging the federated identity plugins.

Q: Is FWaaS really used out there?

Stacy: Yes it is, but its viability in production is debatable and going with a 3rd party with a Neutron plugin is still, IMHO, the way to go.

Q: When is Octavia GA planned to be released?

Stacy: Octavia is forecast to be GA in the Pike release.

Q: Are DragonFlow and Tricircle ready for Production?

Stacy: Those are young big tent projects but pretty sure we will see a big evolution for Pike.  

Q: What’s the codename for placement service please?

Stacy: It’s just called the Placement API. There’s no fancy name.

Q: Does Ocata continue support for Fernet tokens?

Rajat: Yes.

Q: With federated provider,  can i integrate openstack env with my on-prem AD and allow domain users to use Openstack?

Rajat: This was always supported, and is not new to ocata. More details at https://docs.openstack.org/admin-guide/identity-integrate-with-ldap.html

What’s new in this area is that the federated identity mapping engine now supports the ability to automatically provision projects for federated users. A role assignment will automatically be created for the user on the specified project. Prior to this, a federated user had to attempt to authenticate before an administrator could assign roles directly to their shadowed identity, resulting in a strange user experience.

Q: if i’m using my existing domain users from AD to openstack,  how would i control their rights/role to perform specific tasks in the openstack project?

Rajat: You would first set up authentication via LDAP, then provide connection settings for AD and also set the identity driver to ldap in the keystone.conf. Next you will have to do an assignment of roles and projects to the AD users. Since Mitaka, the only option that you can use is the SQL driver for the assignment in the keystone.conf, but you will have to do the mapping. Most users prefer this approach anyway, as they want to keep the AD as read only from the OpenStack connection. You can find more details on how to configure keystone with LDAP here.

Q: What, if anything, was pushed out of the “big tent” and/or did not get robustly worked?

Nick:  You can get a complete view of work done on every project at Stackalytics.

Q: So when is Tricircle being released for use in production?

Stacy: Not soon enough.  Being a new Big Tent project, it needs some time to develop traction.  

Q: Do we support creation of SRIOV ports from horizon during instance creation. If not, are there any plans there?

Nick: According to the Horizon team, you can pre-create the port and assign it to an instance.

Q: Way to go warp speed Michael! Good job Rajat and Stacy. Don’t worry about getting behind, I blame Nick anyway. Then again I always blame Nick.

Nick: Thanks Ben, I appreciate you, too. 🙂

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