Seamless Upgrades: The Next Frontier for OpenStack

OpenStack clouds red

In our previously published whitepaper, Upgrading OpenStack Without Complexity or Compromise, we detailed both why it’s important to upgrade your OpenStack private cloud, and how Rackspace successfully minimizes the complexity of upgrading. Managing upgrade complexity is critical, and allows you to take advantage of the latest features, bugs fixes and security patches without compromising performance or uptime.

But today, the fact of the matter is, complex OpenStack upgrades have forced many organizations to endure maintenance windows and risk downtime in both the control and data planes.

That isn’t acceptable. While Rackspace manages these challenges better than anyone else, our quest to provide Fanatical Support has pushed us to provide you with an even better experience, which we call Seamless Upgrades. It’s an innovative approach to upgrades that offers compelling technical and business value. In this post, we’ll talk about our efforts to improve the upgrade experience.

Seamless Upgrades

Seamless upgrades offer an upgrade experience without any control plane or data plane impact to your private cloud. No impact means no downtime and minimal performance impact during the upgrade. Seamless Upgrades also eliminate the risk of impact to your organization throughout the upgrade process.

As a result, ultimately, the scheduled maintenance window to conduct the upgrade will become optional. Essentially, Seamless Upgrades is an experience where the term “upgrade” is removed from your private cloud lexicon.

This will be a huge step forward in providing the world’s leading OpenStack upgrade experience and it’s a capability that’s essentially impossible for any other OpenStack vendor to provide. We’re thrilled to march forward towards this vision because providing a superior experience is part of our operational DNA.

How you benefit from Seamless Upgrades

Aside from the obvious benefits related to zero downtime, Seamless Upgrades means you don’t have to staff during an upgrade maintenance window. Instead, you can focus your team on more important work. Since upgrades usually occur late at night and during the weekends, your team will be happy to have their freedom (and sleep) back.

Furthermore, by removing the current downsides related to upgrading, Seamless Upgrades will help you ensure that your private cloud is closer to the most recent OpenStack release. You’ll have faster access to new features and improvements, along with full support from Rackspace as well as the upstream OpenStack community.


Achieving the vision of Seamless Upgrades is by no means a trivial task. Given the engineering complexity surrounding it, it’s important to note that this initiative will be achieved through delivering many milestones over the course of several quarters. With that stated, current high-level milestones towards achieving Seamless Upgrades are as follows and are subject to change:

Milestone Description Timeline
Fast-track Upgrades* Ability to upgrade from the v11 Kilo, v12 Liberty or v13 Mitaka series to the v14 Newton series in a single upgrade Q3 2017
Ceph Upgrade to Jewel (if applicable) Upgrading Ceph from Hammer to Jewel Q1 2018
Host OS Upgrade to Xenial* Upgrade the underlying Host OS from Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty) to 16.04 (Xenial) Q1 2018
Seamless Upgrade

(milestone A)

 Seamless upgrade milestone where there will be increased accuracy and consistency for the upgrade window duration, data plane impact and control plane impact. From

Kilo, Liberty & Mitaka

Seamless Upgrade

(milestone B)

Seamless upgrade milestone where there will be a consistently measurable upgrade window, no control plane impact, and measurable and limited data plane impact.




Seamless Upgrade

(milestone C)

Seamless upgrade milestone where there will be a consistently measurable and limited upgrade window, no control plane impact and no data plane impact.


From Pike


In the next installment of our upgrades blog series, we will deep dive into the fast-track upgrades milestone — so stay tuned!

Rackspace has successfully scaled OpenStack to thousands of nodes and operates private clouds for some of the largest companies in the world. To learn more and ask questions about whether private cloud as a service might be a good fit for your organization, take advantage of a free strategy session with a private cloud expert — no strings attached. SIGN UP NOW.

*New deployments in the Newton series will not require Fast-track upgrades or the Host OS Upgrade. Existing deployments (i.e. pre-Newton) will.

Jorge Miramontes is a senior product manager on the Private Cloud team at Rackspace, where’s he’s worked since 2016. Prior to joining the RPC team, Jorge worked in Rackspace’s public cloud since 2010 where he led product development efforts as both a software developer and product manager on the Cloud Load Balancing and Cloud Networks product lines. He currently resides in San Antonio, TX.



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