OpenStack Ocata Nova Cells Set to Improve Cloud Scalability

Thursday Feb 23rd 2017 by Sean Michael Kerner
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The 15th release of the OpenStack cloud platform debuted this week, and with it comes the groundwork for major virtual server scalability improvements.

Among the biggest things to land in the OpenStack Ocata cloud platform release this week is the Cells v2 code, which will help enable more scale and manageability in the core Nova compute project.

Nova is one of the two original projects (along with Swift storage) that helped launch OpenStack in June 2010. The original Nova code, which was written by NASA, enables the management of virtualized server resources.

With Cells, multiple Nova compute nodes can be aggregated and managed intelligently by a single Nova API. OpenStack Ocata Cells were first introduced in the OpenStack Grizzly release in 2013.

Cells was updated to version 2 (Cell v2) in October 2015 with the OpenStack Liberty release. With Cells v2 the promise was to have a generic approach that enables OpenStack to scale across data centers. While Cells v2 has been in OpenStack for over a year now, with the new Ocata release, it now becomes more usable and stable for production deployments.

"In the Ocata cycle, Cells v2 has now moved to the required deployment model for model," Johnathan Bryce, Executive Director of the OpenStack Foundation, told ServerWatch.

Prior to Ocata, using Cells as the means to deploy and enable Nova was not the default choice for cloud operators.

"From Ocata forward, every Nova environment will be running the Cells v2 code," Bryce said.

The release notes for Ocata specifically state that all Nova deployments must set up their existing nodes as a cell, with database connection and MQ transport_url config items matching that cell.

"By default, an Ocata deployment now needs to configure at least one new Cell V2," the release notes state.

Additional New Server Features in OpenStack Ocata

Looking at specific operating system server features, OpenStack Ocata also provides numerous improvements for Microsoft Windows Hyper-V support. Among the improvements is support for PCI passthrough devices, boot-order support as well as support for Hyper-V virtual machines with UEFI Secure boot enabled.

From a migration perspective, moving virtual server instances from the previous OpenStack Newton release to the new Ocata release will potentially be easier for cloud administrators than ever before.

"A new nova-status upgrade check CLI is provided for checking the readiness of a deployment when preparing to upgrade to the latest release," the release notes state.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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