Definition

Red Hat OpenStack Platform

Contributor(s): Carol Sliwa
This definition is part of our Essential Guide: An OpenStack management guide for the enterprise

Red Hat OpenStack Platform is a commercially supported distribution of open source OpenStack software designed to build and manage large pools of compute, storage and networking resources in public and private clouds.

Red Hat, a software company based in Raleigh, N.C., packages the biannual releases of the source code developed by the OpenStack community. The vendor tests the software in load-bearing scenarios, patches it, and fixes bugs to certify and support the Red Hat OpenStack Platform for enterprise use. Red Hat subsequently contributes its work back to the open source community.

Red Hat OpenStack Platform was originally known as the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform when it became available in June 2013. Red Hat's OpenStack distribution is engineered to run on certified hardware equipped with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), the vendor's supported version of the Linux operating system (OS).

Each new version of the Red Hat OpenStack Platform aligns with the latest stable release of the Linux OS. Red Hat tests and certifies the OpenStack and Linux releases for hardware and software compatibility and performance.

Use cases for the Red Hat OpenStack Platform include infrastructure services for private clouds, application development and testing, big data analytics, high-performance computing in research and scientific environments, application hosting in public clouds, and network virtualization in the telecommunications industry.

How Red Hat OpenStack Platform works

Red Hat OpenStack Platform provides access to open source projects, or tools, to enable core computing services in public and private clouds. OpenStack uses a consistent set of application programming interfaces (APIs) to pool and manage virtualized resources, such as storage, CPU and RAM. Users deploy different OpenStack projects in a modular fashion depending on the resources they want to virtualize and the types of cloud services they need to enable.

Core OpenStack projects available through the Red Hat platform are Nova for compute, Neutron for networking, Swift for object storage, Cinder for block storage, Manila for file storage, Glance for virtual machine image discovery and storage, and Keystone for identity management.

A typical Red Hat OpenStack Platform deployment also uses the following optional OpenStack projects: Ironic for bare-metal provisioning, Horizon for dashboard, Heat for orchestration, Sahara for data processing and Ceilometer for monitoring.

The Red Hat OpenStack Platform has a director tool set to enable users to install, operate, upgrade and manage a cloud deployment. The director is based on the open source OpenStack project known as TripleO, which stands for OpenStack on OpenStack. The Red Hat OpenStack Platform director makes use of the concepts of an undercloud and an overcloud.


This Red Hat Cloud video
demonstrates how to install the
Red Hat OpenStack Platform
director undercloud.

The undercloud is the main director node that provisions and controls the OpenStack nodes in a cloud environment. Functionality enabled through the undercloud includes environment planning, bare-metal system control, orchestration, and management through command-line tools or a web-based user interface. The undercloud often uses OpenStack projects such as Keystone, Ironic, Neutron, Glance, Heat, Ceilometer, Mistral for workflow services, the Zaqar multi-tenant cloud messaging service, and Swift to store OpenStack Platform components.

The overcloud is the clustered server environment a user creates through the director's undercloud. Default overcloud roles include Controller, Compute and Storage nodes that each make use of different OpenStack technologies and additional open source software.

The Controller nodes provide administration, networking and high availability (HA) to the OpenStack cloud environment. Default Compute nodes consist of OpenStack Nova, Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM)/QEMU hypervisor technology, a Ceilometer agent and Open vSwitch virtual switching. Storage nodes often use open source Ceph to form the storage clusters, OpenStack Cinder for external block storage for the HA Controller nodes, and OpenStack Swift for an external object storage layer.

What's required to use it

The minimum requirements to deploy the Red Hat OpenStack Platform are three separate host machines to run the Red Hat OpenStack Platform director, a Red Hat OpenStack Platform Compute node and a Red Hat OpenStack Platform Controller node. The director's undercloud requires at least two networks: a provisioning network and an external network that supplies remote connectivity to all the nodes.

Red Hat recommends the use of additional servers to facilitate greater scalability and resiliency. The vendor advises using a discrete server for the Red Hat OpenStack Platform director, with RHEL installed as the host OS. Red Hat OpenStack Platform supports a virtualized undercloud on KVM, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization or Microsoft Hyper-V. Red Hat suggests using at least three host machines for the Compute nodes, three host machines for the Controller nodes in a cluster and three host machines for the clustered Storage nodes.

The undercloud and overcloud require access to Red Hat storage repositories through either the Red Hat Content Delivery Network or a Red Hat Satellite system management server. A containerized overcloud needs a remote, local or satellite registry with the necessary container images.

Important features

Key features enabled in Red Hat OpenStack Platform include:

  • Automated update and upgrade capabilities through the Red Hat OpenStack Platform director's integration with Red Hat Ansible Automation software.
  • Instance live migration, enabling users to move a running VM from one host to another without downtime.
  • Subscription to Red Hat CloudForms for lifecycle management of OpenStack resources.
  • Integration with Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform to facilitate running and managing containers in an OpenStack environment.
  • Composable roles, giving administrators greater control over the distribution of compute, network and storage services within their cloud environments.
  • Support for single root input/output virtualization (SR-IOV) to speed network access for workloads requiring high input/output operations per second (IOPS).
  • Virtual local area network (VLAN) trunking to ease network function virtualization (NFV) deployments.
  • Support for Open vSwitch (OVS) and the Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) to improve packet routing and processing in OpenStack-based NFV environments.
  • Validated support for select software-defined networking (SDN) controllers.
  • Support for PCI Express (PCIe) device access through direct pass-through capabilities.
This was last updated in April 2018

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