CERN Continues to Rely on Nova Networking for OpenStack Cloud

There is a prevailing notion, especially in tech media, that leading-edge organizations always embrace leading-edge technology. The reality, however, is usually different as legacy technologies and sometimes unsupported technologies remain in use long after the marketing messages and public pronouncements say that most organizations have moved on.

The CERN European Organization for Nuclear Research is one of the leading contributors to and deployers of the open source OpenStack cloud platform. While CERN generally embraces the leading-edge of technology, when it comes to OpenStack networking, the organization continues to rely on the older unsupported Nova networking capability.

When OpenStack first got started, it didn’t have a separate networking project; rather, networking was integrated into the Nova compute project. The Quantum project, which was later renamed as Neutron, got started in 2011 and after several years of development became the de facto standard for OpenStack networking, replacing Nova networks.

At the OpenStack 2018 Summit in Vancouver, Arne Wiebalck, systems engineer at CERN, explained why his organization continues to use the older cloud networking model. Wiebalck said that while CERN is operating some of the most complex experiments on the planet, its network infrastructure is relatively simple.

“It’s basically a flat network,” Wiebalck said. “So we have different networks, for instance, in order to control the accelerator, but for what concerns the cloud, it’s basically like one big flat network.”

Wiebalck added that CERN has been talking internally about moving to Neutron for some time, though it’s likely it will stay with Nova networks for at least another OpenStack release. OpenStack is released on a six-month cadence, and Nova networks is no longer supported in the current release.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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