OpenStack Open Infrastructure Pilot Projects from A to Z

by Sean Michael Kerner

OpenStack is no longer just about a single cloud platform; it's now home to a number of open infrastructure projects as well.

BERLIN — When OpenStack got started in 2011 it was all about two core cloud projects, Nova compute and Swift storage. Now in 2018, OpenStack has many more core cloud projects and is moving beyond its namesake platform to also enable an ecosystem of open infrastructure efforts.

In a press and analyst session at the OpenStack Summit in Berlin, Germany, on Nov. 13, Jonathan Bryce, Executive Director of the OpenStack Foundation, outlined the four pilot projects that are currently in the new open infrastructure effort.


Bryce explained that the Airship project is a lifecycle management tool for open infrastructure projects. Airship is an effort originally launched by AT&T, based on real world usage of OpenStack. AT&T is a large OpenStack user across a distributed multi-site environment.

"What I love is that they decided to solve their problems in the open and share their approach and their work with the community and with the world," Bryce said. "The thing that's interesting, and probably specifically unique about Airship is it uses a declarative approach to managing whatever services might be running in a site."

What that means is that an administrator defines what hardware and services are supposed to be inside the location and then Airship takes the configuration process, deploys services, manages them, monitors them and fixes them. He added that when it's time to do an upgrade Airship also comes in handy, with the ability to manage the upgrade and the ongoing deployment.

Kata Containers

The Kata project is a runtime for containers that wraps the basic container services inside of a very lightweight virtual machine to provide an additional layer of isolation.

Among the organizations that have participated in the Kata containers project are Baidu, Alibaba, Microsoft and Google. Bryce commented that public clouds have a massive, multi-tenant environment and they are always looking for ways to increase isolation, putting in additional layers that give them control, monitoring and the ability to make sure that their tenants are secure.


StarlingX is a project for enabling distributed edge computing environments.

"It's based on OpenStack for the core underlying infrastructure, and then it adds additional services to do configuration and workload management with HA [high availability] service reliability of the workloads that you might be running in the edge," Bryce explained. "It also includes some underlying infrastructure management tools to to do hardware inventory upgrades."

Bryce commented that when thinking about edge environments, they are are not always pristine data center environments that are staffed by skilled technicians. An edge computing deployment can be an un-staffed location in the middle of nowhere, where an organization doesn't want to have to roll a truck out anytime that the service goes down.

"StarlingX is focused on reliability, network performance and high availability of services," he said.


Zuul is the continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) system that was developed within the OpenStack community to manage the global development effort.

OpenStack is a rapidly developed project with 182 changes made to the code base every day, with each code commit being tested in an automatic way with Zuul. While Zuul was first built just for OpenStack, it's an effort that is now finding broader adoption.

"There are a variety of companies that have already been using Zuul, and we realized that it actually made sense to kind of elevate it and so that people didn't just think of it as kind of part of the plumbing of OpenStack software development," Bryce said.

OpenStack projects

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

This article was originally published on Tuesday Nov 13th 2018
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