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.

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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: http://dolphm.com/openstack-keystone-fernet-tokens/)

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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.

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Courtesy of the 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.

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Photo by Frances Gunn on Unsplash

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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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Using Ansible Validations With Red Hat OpenStack Platform – Part 3

In the previous two blogposts (Part 1 and Part 2) we demonstrated how to create a dynamic Ansible inventory file for a running OpenStack cloud. We then used that inventory to run Ansible-based validations with the ansible-playbook command from the CLI.

In the final part of our series, we demonstrate how to run those same validations using two new methods: the OpenStack scheduling service, Mistral, and the Red Hat OpenStack director UI.

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Using Ansible Validations With Red Hat OpenStack Platform – Part 2

In Part 1 we demonstrated how to set up a Red Hat OpenStack Ansible environment by creating a dynamic Ansible inventory file (check it out if you’ve not read it yet!).

Next, in Part 2 we demonstrate how to use that dynamic inventory with included, pre-written Ansible validation playbooks from the command line.

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Using Ansible Validations With Red Hat OpenStack Platform – Part 1

Ansible is helping to change the way admins look after their infrastructure. It is flexible, simple to use, and powerful. Ansible uses a modular structure to deploy controlled pieces of code against infrastructure, utilizing thousands of available modules, providing everything from server management to network switch configuration.

With recent releases of Red Hat OpenStack Platform access to Ansible is included directly within the Red Hat OpenStack Platform subscription and installed by default with Red Hat OpenStack Platform director.

In this three-part series you’ll learn ways to use Ansible to perform powerful pre and post deployment validations against your Red Hat OpenStack environment, utilizing the special validation scripts that ship with recent Red Hat OpenStack Platform releases.

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Ceilometer Polling Performance Improvement

During the OpenStack summit of May 2015 in Vancouver, the OpenStack Telemetry community team ran a session for operators to provide feedback. One of the main issues operators relayed was the polling that Ceilometer was running on Nova to gather instance information. It had a highly negative impact on the Nova API CPU usage, as it retrieves all the information about instances on regular intervals.

Indeed, it turns out that Nova is not optimizing the retrieval of these bits of information (a few rows in a database), and does not utilize a cache. Fortunately, Nova does provide a way to poll more efficiently with the Changes-Since request parameter.

As a result of this discovery, the Telemetry team built a blueprint named “resource-metadata-caching”, targeting the implementation of a local in-memory cache in Ceilometer, and the use of the Changes-Since parameter. This blueprint has been completed by Jason Myers during the Liberty development cycle and is therefore part of the final version of Ceilometer released for the Liberty cycle.

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