An Introduction to Fast Forward Upgrades in Red Hat OpenStack Platform

OpenStack momentum continues to grow as an important component of hybrid cloud, particularly among enterprise and telco. At Red Hat, we continue to seek ways to make it easier to consume. We offer extensive, industry-leading training, an easy to use installation and lifecycle management tool, and the advantage of being able to support the deployment from the app layer to the OS layer.

One area that some of our customers ask about is the rapid release cycle of OpenStack. And while this speed can be advantageous in getting key features to market faster, it can also be quite challenging to follow for customers looking for stability.

With the release of Red Hat OpenStack Platform 10 in December 2016, we introduced a solution to this challenge – we call it the Long Life release. This type of release includes support for a single OpenStack release for a minimum of three years plus an option to extend another two full years. We offer this via an ELS (Extended Life Support) allowing our customers to remain on a supported, production-grade OpenStack code base for far longer than the usual 6 month upstream release cycle. Then, when it’s time to upgrade, they can upgrade in-place and without additional hardware to the next Long Life release. We aim to designate a Long Life release every third release, starting with Red Hat OpenStack Platform 10 (Newton).

Now, with the upcoming release of Red Hat OpenStack Platform 13 (Queens), we are introducing our second Long Life release. This means we can, finally and with great excitement, introduce the world to our latest new feature: the fast forward upgrade.

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Using Ansible for Fernet Key Rotation on Red Hat OpenStack Platform 11

In our first blog post on the topic of Fernet tokens, we explored what they are and why you should think about enabling them in your OpenStack cloud. In our second post, we looked at the method for enabling these

Fernet tokens in Keystone are fantastic. Enabling these, instead of UUID or PKI tokens, really does make a difference in your cloud’s performance and overall ease of management. I get asked a lot about how to manage keys on your controller cluster when using Fernet. As you may imagine, this could potentially take your cloud down if you do it wrong. Let’s review what Fernet keys are, as well as how to manage them in your Red Hat OpenStack Platform cloud.

Photo by Freddy Marschall on Unsplash

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Red Hat OpenStack Platform 12 Is Here!

We are happy to announce that Red Hat OpenStack Platform 12 is now Generally Available (GA).

This is Red Hat OpenStack Platform’s 10th release and is based on the upstream OpenStack release, Pike.

Red Hat OpenStack Platform 12 is focused on the operational aspects to deploying OpenStack. OpenStack has established itself as a solid technology choice and with this release, we are working hard to further improve the usability aspects and bring OpenStack and operators into harmony.

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With operationalization in mind, let’s take a quick look at some the biggest and most exciting features now available.

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Enabling Keystone’s Fernet Tokens in Red Hat OpenStack Platform

As we learned in part one of this blog post, beginning with the OpenStack Kilo release, a new token provider is now available as an alternative to PKI and UUID. Fernet tokens are essentially an implementation of ephemeral tokens in Keystone. What this means is that tokens are no longer persisted and hence do not need to be replicated across clusters or regions.

“In short, OpenStack’s authentication and authorization metadata is neatly bundled into a MessagePacked payload, which is then encrypted and signed as a Fernet token. OpenStack Kilo’s implementation supports a three-phase key rotation model that requires zero downtime in a clustered environment.” (from:

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An Introduction to Fernet tokens in Red Hat OpenStack Platform

Thank you for joining me to talk about Fernet tokens. In this first of three posts on Fernet tokens, I’d like to go over the definition of OpenStack tokens, the different types and why Fernet tokens should matter to you. This series will conclude with some awesome examples of how to use Red Hat Ansible to manage your Fernet token keys in production.

First, some definitions …

What is a token? OpenStack tokens are bearer tokens, used to authenticate and validate users and processes in your OpenStack environment. Pretty much any time anything happens in OpenStack a token is involved. The OpenStack Keystone service is the core service that issues and validates tokens. Using these tokens, users and and software clients via API’s authenticate, receive, and finally use that token when requesting operations ranging from creating compute resources to allocating storage. Services like Nova or Ceph then validate that token with Keystone and continue on with or deny the requested operation. The following diagram, shows a simplified version of this dance.

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 12.06.02 pm
Courtesy of the author

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Hooroo! Australia bids farewell to incredible OpenStack Summit

We have reached the end of another successful and exciting OpenStack Summit. Sydney did not disappoint giving attendees a wonderful show of weather ranging from rain and wind to bright, brilliant sunshine. The running joke was that Sydney was, again, just trying to be like Melbourne. Most locals will get that joke, and hopefully now some of our international visitors do, too!

Monty Taylor (Red Hat), Mark Collier (OpenStack Foundation), and Lauren Sell (OpenStack Foundation) open the Sydney Summit. (Photo: Author)

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G’Day OpenStack!

In less than one week the OpenStack Summit is coming to Sydney! For those of us in the Australia/New Zealand (ANZ) region this is a very exciting time as we get to showcase our local OpenStack talents and successes. This summit will feature Australia’s largest banks, telcos, and enterprises and show the world how they have adopted, adapted, and succeeded with Open Source software and OpenStack.

Photo by Frances Gunn on Unsplash

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Using Red Hat OpenStack Platform director to deploy co-located Ceph storage – Part Two

Previously we learned all about the benefits in placing Ceph storage services directly on compute nodes in a co-located fashion. This time, we dive deep into the deployment templates to see how an actual deployment comes together and then test the results!

Enabling Co-Location

This article assumes the director is installed and configured with nodes already registered. The default Heat deployment templates ship an environment file for enabling Pure HCI. This environment file is:


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Using Red Hat OpenStack Platform director to deploy co-located Ceph storage – Part One

An exciting new feature in Red Hat OpenStack Platform 11 is full Red Hat OpenStack Platform director support for deploying Red Hat Ceph storage directly on your overcloud compute nodes. Often called hyperconverged, or HCI (for Hyperconverged Infrastructure), this deployment model places the Red Hat Ceph Storage Object Storage Daemons (OSDs) and storage pools directly on the compute nodes.

Co-locating Red Hat Ceph Storage in this way can significantly reduce both the physical and financial footprint of your deployment without requiring any compromise on storage.


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OpenStack Summit Sydney preview: Red Hat to present at more than 40 sessions

The next OpenStack Summit will take place in Sydney, Australia, November 6-8. And despite the fact that the conference will only run three days instead of the usual four, there will be plenty of opportunities to learn about OpenStack from Red Hat’s thought leaders.

Red Hatters will be presenting or co-presenting at more than 40 breakout sessions, sponsored track sessions, lightning talks, demos, and panel discussions. Just about every OpenStack topic, from various services to NFV solutions to day-2 management to containers integration will be covered.

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