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OpenStack®️ is a powerful platform for building private cloud environments that support modern, digital business operations. However, the OpenStack community’s six-month release cadence can pose challenges for enterprise organizations that want to deploy OpenStack in production. Red Hat can help.

Red Hat®️ OpenStack Platform is an intensely tested, hardened, and supported distribution of OpenStack based on community releases. In addition to production-grade features and functionality, it gives you two life-cycle choices to align with the way your organization operates:

  • Standard releases. These releases follow the six-month community release cadence and include one year of support.
  • Long-life releases. Starting with Red Hat OpenStack Platform 10, every third release is a long-life release. These include three years of support, with option to extend support for an additional two years with extended life-cycle support (ELS), for up to five years of support total.

Why does this matter? Different organizations have different needs when it comes to infrastructure life cycles and management. Some need to implement the latest innovations as soon as they are available, and have the processes in place to continuously upgrade and adapt their IT environment. For others, the ability to standardize and stabilize operations for long durations of time is paramount. These organizations may not need the newest features right away—periodic updates are fine.

Red Hat OpenStack Platform life-cycle options accommodate both of these approaches. Organizations that need constant innovation can upgrade to the latest Red Hat OpenStack Platform release every six months to take advantage of new features as they become available. Organizations that prefer to use a given release for a longer time can skip standard releases and simply upgrade between long-life releases every 18 to 60 months.

Here’s a deeper look into each option and why you might choose one over the other.

Standard upgrade path

With this approach, you upgrade every six to twelve months as a new release of Red Hat OpenStack Platform is made available. Red Hat OpenStack Platform director provides upgrade tooling to simplify the upgrade process. As a result, you can adopt the latest features and innovations as soon as possible. This keeps your cloud infrastructure aligned closely with the upstream community releases, so if you’re active in the OpenStack community, you’ll be able to take advantage of your contributions sooner.

This upgrade path typically requires organizations to have processes in place to efficiently manage continuously changing infrastructure. If you have mature, programmatic build and test processes, you’re in good shape.

The standard upgrade path is ideal for organizations involved in science and research, financial services, and other fields that innovate fast and change quickly.

Long-life upgrade path

With this approach, you upgrade every 18 to 60 months between long-life releases of Red Hat OpenStack Platform, skipping two standard releases at a time. Starting with Red Hat OpenStack Platform 13, the fast forward upgrade feature in director simplifies the upgrade process by fully containerizing Red Hat OpenStack Platform deployment. This minimizes interruptions due to upgrading and eliminates the need for additional hardware to support the upgrade process. As a result, you can use a long-life release, like Red Hat OpenStack Platform 10 or 13, for an extended time to stabilize operations. Based on customer requests and feasibility reviews, select features in later standard releases may be backported to the last long-life release (Full Support phase only), so you can still gain access to some new features between upgrades.

The long-life upgrade path works well for organizations that are more familiar and comfortable with traditional virtualization and may still be adopting a programmatic approach to IT operations.

This path is ideal for organizations that prefer to standardize on infrastructure and don’t necessarily need access to the latest features right away. Organizations involved in telecommunications and other regulated fields often choose the long-life upgrade path.

Wrapping up

With two life-cycle options for Red Hat OpenStack Platform, Red Hat supports you no matter where you are in your cloud journey. If you have questions about which path is best for your organization, contact us and we’ll help you get started.

Learn more about Red Hat OpenStack Platform:


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