It seems like there is an announcement around Arm pretty much every month if not every week. For instance, Google recently announced their Arm infrastructure noting their “excitement about using Arm chips for the next generation of scale-out, cloud-native workloads.” For OpenShift our journey with Arm also continues, this being our second release to feature support for Arm. We are taking advantage of this release to add more platform support as well as introducing a tasty little tech preview for you to play with. Sit down, relax, grab a beverage of your choice and let me tell you just what Arm features made it into our OpenShift 4.11 release.
Like our other non-x86 architectures our initial focus, with one interesting tech preview exception, is on platform adoption - so with this release we are adding the “missing” bits from the current platforms. That means Automated Install for bare metal and Pre-existing Infrastructure for AWS. In practice that means you can choose to benefit from our opinionated install or bring and configure your own infrastructure to run OpenShift on. Of course that still leaves us with a couple of platforms to add support for but keep an eye on future releases for news around OpenShift support for Arm on Azure and now Google platforms.
A key part of making OpenShift available to our more security conscious customers was to enable Disconnected Installation Mirroring. This is useful if you need to install a cluster that has limited access to the internet, such as a disconnected or restricted network cluster. With the OpenShift 4.11 release we have validated this installation method for our Arm based OpenShift clusters. Now you have no excuse for using OpenShift on Arm in your disconnected environments.
For the last of our newly supported features when we first brought you OpenShift on Arm we limited the storage you could use, specifically to NFS and Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS). With this release we got the time to check out the other options you may want to use in your cluster. Want to use the Local Storage Operator, go ahead. iSCSI interests you, attach away. Want to add some Raw Block devices, we’ve got you covered. MultiPath? HostPath? Both are now supported. Hopefully now you will have your “fill” of storage options.
Did you say Heterogeneous Clusters?
Finally we have a new tech preview for you. As Arm continues its impressive march to full adoption, sometimes not all the applications and services are available. We fully expect this will be addressed in the near future but we also don’t want to stall adoption in the short term. With that in mind we are introducing the idea of fully heterogeneous clusters, that is a single cluster that can have compute nodes of different architectures, something that OpenShift couldn’t do up until now. With this feature you can run those Arm and x86 applications side by side in a single OpenShift cluster. To be clear, this is an early tech preview and there is a lot we need to address going forward. In the OpenShift 4.11 release, we will limit this feature to the Azure cloud platform, where you will be able to add Arm based nodes to an existing OpenShift x86 cluster as a day 2 operation. Much more to come on this feature in future release but we thought you would appreciate a little early taster to really whet your appetite.
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