Easy OpenStack updates: Mirantis DriveTrain

Computer Working

OpenStack is a great, open-source Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud, but it has one big problem. It’s not easy to upgrade from one version to another. That’s where Mirantis DriveTrain comes in.

Mirantis is a cloud company which specializes in OpenStack, and DriveTrain is its lifecycle management system for incremental technology updates. Instead of doling out large chunks of code with every OpenStack release, DriveTrain delivers continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) software updates every few weeks.

DriveTrain does this by combining Salt DevOps and Reclass, an external node classifier which is used for maintaining an inventory of nodes to be managed separately from the DevOps tool configuration. This provides enterprise-class, production-ready reference architectures and allows granular deviations for custom enhancements and control of the deployment phase.

To deploy this over a cluster, DriveTrain uses OpenContrail software defined networking (SDN) and Calico, an open-source cloud networking system. This enables companies to inexpensively deploy development, test, and production cloud clusters on the same infrastructure. This Infrastructure-as-Code makes porting configurations between dev, test, and production easy across the entire development path.

You can also use DriveTrain to methodically consume some or all of the latest releases. With it, you can bring the latest code through a CI/CD pipeline, validate it in a staging environment, and push it into production without downtime. This replaces the difficulties historically associated with OpenStack’s lifecycle management with an automated, repeatable process. Best of all, you can do this with little or no downtime.

What used to take days of careful planning, followed by days of downtime for an OpenStack upgrade and validation, can now be automated by DriveTrain within a few hours. For example, the preparation and testing of one Ocata Virtual Machine on the latest version of OpenStack takes about 40 minutes from a live production Mitaka cloud. After validation, the upgrade to an Ocata-based highly available production control plane takes about 42 minutes with zero downtime for running workloads while the Mitaka control plane is offline. Next, the Mitaka compute nodes can connect to the Ocata control plane and cascade through upgrades to Ocata at a later time.

Trouble with the update? No worries. You can rollback to Mitaka in about 9 minutes based on restoring the original Mitaka DB from the first step in the process.

DriveTrain isn’t just for OpenStack. It also works with OpenStack partner programs such as Juniper’s Contrail software-defined network (SDN) and Kubernetes. Mirantis recently integrated the container orchestration program Kubernetes into its OpenStack distribution.

With OpenContrail, the open-source version of Contrail, Mirantis recently took an OpenContrail SDN of a running production OpenStack cloud, which was serving thousands of users. Using DriveTrain, the company managed a major upgrade of Mirantis OpenContrail 3.0.2 to 3.1.1, with over 1000 code changes in about 5 hours. The GitHub pull took about 10 minutes. Installing the latest OpenContrail, using a DevOps Salt formula required approximately 2 minutes, while the database backup took about 10 minutes. The actual Mirantis OpenContrail upgrade control plane took 1 hour, and 80 compute nodes were upgraded in a cascading fashion of 20 nodes. Downtime? There wasn’t any.

I don’t know about you, but I like everything about DriveTrain. This makes testing and deploying OpenStack clouds a good deal easier than any other method I know.

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