Xena wields FlashBlade

OpenStack Xena (sorry all you Warrior Princess fans) has a new weapon added to its shared filesystems arsenal.

The Manila project, which offers shared filesystems as a service to OpenStack users, has been around for some time, in fact from the Juno release in October 2014, when there were only 3 providers (not including the generic driver) for customers to choose from.

Over the years this slowly crept up in number until the Train release in October 2019 had 30 individual drivers, including generic and reference drivers. After the Train release, there was a 2-year hiatus, that’s 4 OpenStack releases, where there were no new Manila drivers were added.

This changes in the Xena release (October 2021) with Pure Storage joining the list of driver providers with their offering for FlashBlade, the fast file platform based on all-flash technology.

To be honest, I have been trying to get a FlashBlade driver included in upstream OpenStack Manila since Rocky (October 2018) but many things have conspired to stop this from happening. The driver itself has been around since pre-Rocky and has been continuously available for download from Pure Storage’s GitHub repository, but this was not an ideal solution for FlashBlade customers who wanted to utilize this system in an OpenStack environment, given it wasn’t an officially supported integration.

Now Pure Storage customers can add FlashBlade to their Manila environments in OpenStack clusters, where it can complement the Cinder driver for the FlashArray that has been available since the Juno release.

The details

The FlashBlade Manila driver tries to leverage as much of the FlashBlade’s functionality as possible based on NFS filesystem shares.

As long as your FlashBlade is running Purty//FB 2.3.0 or higher (which is actually a very old version and no one should be running anything that low…) you can seamlessly integrate FlashBlade into OpenStack.

The Manila driver will automatically create, resize and destroy NFS filesystems. Multiple access rules can be added to these shares to control who can read or write data.

Additionally, filesystem snapshots can be created and you can revert back to the latest snapshot should you wish to do so. Currently, there is no support for mounting snapshots independently or for closing from snapshots. When this functionality comes to FlashBlade, rest assured that these features will be added to the Manila driver.

The only software pre-requisite is that you have the latest FlashBlade Python SDK installed on nodes running the Manila Share services. That’s just a simple pip install purity_fb command.

A detailed look at the configuration information can be found on the OpenStack Manila configuration page and the admin page for the driver.

Red Hat Integration

The FlashBlade Manila driver has already been added to the TripleO deployment toolchain and as soon as Red Hat OpenStack Platform 19 is released, which will be based on OpenStack Xena, there will be a Manila Container for this driver and the process will begin to get this driver fully certified by Red Hat.


If you have a FlashBlade and are currently using OpenStack, with or without Manila, why not give it a try and let us know how it works for you.

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