It's time again to discuss the release cycle...
Just considering the number of times that lately we have been
discussing the release cycle we should acknowledge that we really
have a problem or at least that we have very different opinions in
the community and we should discuss it openly.

Thanks Thierry to bring the topic again.

Looking into the last user survey we see that 23% of the deployments
are running the last two releases and then we have a long... long...
tail with older releases.

Honestly, I have mixed feelings about it!

As an operator I relate more with having a LTS release and give the
possibility to upgrade between LTS releases. But having the possibility
to upgrade every 6 months is also very interesting for the small and fast
moving projects.

Maybe an 1 year release cycle would provide the mid term here.

In our cloud infrastructure we run different releases, from Stein to Victoria.
There are projects that we can easily upgrade (and we do it!) and other projects
that are much more complicated (because feature deprecations, Operating System
dependencies, internal patches, or simply because is too risky considering the
current workloads).
For those we need definitely more than 6 months for the upgrade.

If again we don't reach a consensus to change the release cycle at least we
should continue to work in improving the upgrade experience (and don't let me wrong...
the upgrade experience has been improved tremendously over the years).

There are small things that change in the projects (most of them are good refactors)
but can be a big headache for upgrades.
Let me enumerate some: DB schema changes usually translates into offline upgrades,
configuration changes (options that move to different configuration groups without
bringing anything new, change defaults, policy changes), architecture changes
(new projects that are now mandatory), ...

In my opinion if we reduce those or at least are more aware of the challenges
that they impose to operators, we will make upgrades easier and hopefully see
deployments move much faster whatever is the release cycle.


On Tue, Nov 9, 2021 at 12:04 AM Arnaud <arnaud.morin@gmail.com> wrote:
I'd like to add my 2 cents.

It's hard to upgrade a region, so when it comes to upgrade multiples regions, it's even harder.

Some operators also have their own downstream patchs / extensions / drivers which make the upgrade process more complex, so it take more time (for all reasons already given in the thread, need to update the CI, the tools, the doc, the people, etc).

One more thing is about consistency, when you have to manage multiple regions, it's easier if all of them are pretty identical. Human operation are always the same, and can eventually be automated.
This leads to keep going on with a fixed version of OpenStack to run the business.
When scaling, you (we) always chose security and consistency.

Also, Julia mentioned something true about contribution from operators. It's difficult for them for multiple reasons:
- pushing upstream is a process, which need to be taken into account when working on an internal fix.
- it's usually quicker to push downstream because it's needed. When it comes to upstream, it's challenged by the developers (and it's good), so it take time and can be discouraging.
- operators are not running master, but a stable release. Bugs on stables could be fixed differently than on master, which could also be discouraging.
- writing unit tests is a job, some tech operators are not necessarily developers, so this could also be a challenge.

All of these to say that helping people which are proposing a patch is a good thing. And as far as I can see, upstream developers are helping most of the time, and we should keep and encourage such behavior IMHO.

Finally, I would also vote for less releases or LTS releases (but it looks heavier to have this). I think this would help keeping up to date with stables and propose more patches from operators.


Le 8 novembre 2021 20:43:18 GMT+01:00, Julia Kreger <juliaashleykreger@gmail.com> a écrit :
On Mon, Nov 8, 2021 at 10:44 AM Thierry Carrez <thierry@openstack.org> wrote:

Ghanshyam Mann wrote:
Thanks Thierry for the detailed write up.

At the same time, a shorter release which leads to upgrade-often pressure but
it will have fewer number of changes/features, so make the upgrade easy and
longer-release model will have more changes/features that will make upgrade more

I think that was true a few years ago, but I'm not convinced that still
holds. We currently have a third of the changes volume we had back in
2015, so a one-year release in 2022 would contain far less changes than
a 6-month release from 2015.

I concur. Also, in 2015, we were still very much in a "move fast" mode
of operation as a community.

Also, thanks to our testing and our focus on stability, the pain linked
to the amount of breaking changes in a release is now negligible
compared to the basic pain of going through a 1M-core deployment and
upgrading the various pieces... every 6 months. I've heard of multiple
users claiming it takes them close to 6 months to upgrade their massive
deployments to a new version. So when they are done, they have to start

Thierry Carrez (ttx)

I've been hearing the exact same messaging from larger operators as
well as operators in environments where they are concerned about
managing risk for at least the past two years. These operators have
indicated it is not uncommon for the upgrade projects which consume,
test, certify for production, and deploy to production take *at least*
six months to execute. At the same time, they are shy of being the
ones to also "find all of the bugs", and so the project doesn't
actually start until well after the new coordinated release has
occurred. Quickly they become yet another version behind with this

I suspect it is really easy for us as a CI focused community to think
that six months is plenty of time to roll out a fully updated
deployment which has been fully tested in every possible way. Except,
these operators are often trying to do just that on physical hardware,
with updated firmware and operatings systems bringing in new variables
with every single change which may ripple up the entire stack. These
operators then have to apply the lessons they have previously learned
once they have worked through all of the variables. In some cases this
may involve aspects such as benchmarking, to ensure they don't need to
make additional changes which need to be factored into their
deployment, sending them back to the start of their testing. All while
thinking of phrases like "business/mission critical".

I guess this means I'm in support of revising the release cycle. At
the same time, I think it would be wise for us to see if we can learn
from these operators the pain points they experience, the process they
leverage, and ultimately see if there are opportunities to spread
knowledge or potentially tooling. Or maybe even get them to contribute
their patches upstream. Not that all of these issues are easily solved
with any level of code, but sometimes they can include contextual
disconnects and resolving those are just as important as shipping a
release, IMHO.