In Denver, Colo., at Open Infrastructure Summit, formerly the OpenStack Summit, the OpenStack Foundation announced that Airship 1.0, a set of open-source tools for automating cloud provisioning and management, has been released. Airship provides a declarative framework for defining and managing open infrastructure tools and their underlying hardware. These tools include OpenStack for virtual machines, Kubernetes for container orchestration, and Metal-as-a-Service (MaaS) for bare metal, with planned support for OpenStack Ironic.
By design, Airship has four goals:
- Use a declarative architecture: Sites are declared using YAML. This includes both hard assets such as network configuration and bare-metal hosts as well as soft assets like Helm charts, their overrides, and container images. You manage the document and Airship implements it.
- A single workflow for life-cycle management: We needed a system with predictable life-cycle management at its core. This meant ensuring we had one workflow that handled both initial deployments and future site updates. In other words, there should be virtually nothing different when interacting with a new deployment or providing an update to an existing site.
- Containers are the only unit of software delivery: Containers are the unit of software delivery for Airship. Everything is a container. This allows us to progress environments from development, to testing, and finally to production with confidence.
- Flexible for different architectures and software: Airship is delivering environments both very small and large with a wide range of configurations. We use Airship to manage our entire cloud platform, not just OpenStack.
While Airshop will make complex infrastructure cloud building easier for everyone, job one is to build a robust delivery mechanism for organizations that need to embrace containers as the new unit of infrastructure delivery at scale. Specifically, that means telecoms, such as one of Airship’s primary builder: AT&T.
Airship will make it easier to deliver 5G infrastructure programs, such as: Software Defined Networks (SDN), Virtual Network Functions (VNFs), Virtualized Evolved Packet Core (vEPC), Virtualized Radio Access Network (VRAN) backhaul, traffic shaping services, customer usage tracking, smart voicemail, video streaming, and consumer-facing services.
Starting from bare metal, Airship will let companies manage your software-defined infrastructure life-cycle with a production-grade Kubernetes cluster working in concert with OpenStack Helm-deployed artifacts. It does this by enabling sysadmins to manage their infrastructure deployments and life-cycle through declarative YAML documents. Thus, Airship can handle both your initial deployments and their updates.
This isn’t just a batch of half-baked code. Ryan van Wyk, AT&T’s assistant vice president of Network Cloud Software Engineering, said: “AT&T has been using Airship in our production network since last December.” AT&T is powering its 5G rollouts on an Airship-based, containerized OpenStack cloud.
AT&T isn’t the only one deploying Airship. Matthew Johns, SUSE‘s product and solutions marketing manager, said: “We are already using Airship for life cycle management as a key part of our plans for future releases of SUSE OpenStack Cloud. As active contributors to OpenStack, we are also active in the Airship community and part of that means making open source easier. Airship helps us do that.”
Finally, Ericsson is demoing a virtualized Radio Access Network (VRAN) on an Airship-based containerized OpenStack cloud
Want to see it for yourself? You can download Airship 1.0 or run a trial version of Airship for a single node on Ubuntu Linux.
2022 Honda Passport is hitting the rally circuit
The 2022 Honda Passport is hitting the rally circuit as the Japanese automaker fortifies its motorsports pedigree. And similar to the Honda HPD Ridgeline that competed at the recently concluded Rebelle Rally, the Passport is going rallying with a team of Honda engineers led by suspension test engineer and driver Chris Sladek and chassis design engineer and co-driver Gabriel Nieves. Both men are from Honda’s North American Auto Development Center in East Liberty, Ohio.
Honda recently debuted its redesigned 2022 Passport five-seat crossover SUV, which now gets a more rugged TrailSport variant with chunkier aesthetics, 18-inch wheels, and 8.1-inches of ground clearance. However, the rally version is the brainchild of the Honda Performance Development (HPD) Maxxis Rally racing team. It has 17-inch BRAID Winrace T rally wheels, Maxxis RAZR M/T or RAZR A/T tires, rear differential skid plates, and an aluminum oil pan cover to protect vital underpinnings from impacts and bumps.
Other changes include protective high-density polyethylene panels on the fuel tank, Carbotech XP12 brake pads, and racing-bred brake fluid to offer reliable stopping power. It also has OMP racing seats with six-point competition harnesses, a roll cage, a rally computer, and a fire suppression system. Of course, it gets distinctive exterior livery courtesy of HPD.
The Passport rally car is also lighter than stock with Lexan polycarbonate rear glass and deleted rear seats. Other changes like a hydraulic handbrake are mandatory, while the modified exhaust offers a louder exhaust sound while reducing engine backpressure to improve performance.
Meanwhile, there are no changes under the hood. The 2022 Honda Passport rally car is hitting the rally circuits with a stock 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 engine, a nine-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters, and i-VTM4 all-wheel-drive system. “The fact that we didn’t make any modifications to the 2022 Honda Passport’s drivetrain or suspension for such punishing terrain and competition speaks volumes to the capability and performance that comes standard in the Passport,” said driver Chris Sladek.
Honda’s Passport rally truck made its racing debut at the Lake Superior Performance Rally (LSPR) in Michigan last October 15 to 16. The team finished 22nd out of 42 regional competitors while placing 4th out of six in the Limited 4WD class. The Passport will see more action throughout the 2022 American Rally Association (ARA) series.
The 2022 Honda Civic Si aims right for the sweet-spot
Honda promised something hotter from the 11th Gen Civic line, and the 2022 Civic Si is just that. Taking the well-received Civic Sedan, and then pumping in some extra performance, it should bridge the gap between now and the new Civic Type R expected to launch sometime next year – and be more affordable than that car, too.
It’s got some solid underpinnings to start from, with both the Civic Sedan and the Civic Hatchback getting praise for their handling and poise. This new Civic Si, meanwhile, upgrades Honda’s turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder VTEC engine, and then pairs it with a 6-speed manual transmission.
The engine is good for 200 horsepower arriving at 6,000 rpm, with a 6,500 rpm redline. Torque is 192 lb-ft, now arriving between 1,800 and 5,000 rpm; that, Honda points out, is 300 rpm sooner than the outgoing car. The broader power curve and a lighter flywheel should make for a car that responds more rapidly, the automaker promises.
As for the transmission, it’s an improved 6-speed manual with the rev-matching system from the Civic Type R. The result, Honda says, is a better feel and 10-percent shorter throws. You’ll have to like it, mind, since Honda won’t be offering the 2022 Civic Si with an automatic option. Fuel economy comes in at 27 mpg in the city, 37 mpg on the highway, and 31 mpg combined.
A helical limited-slip front differential is standard, along with a new Active Sound Control system which boosts the natural engine noise in the cabin. Honda insists it’ll add to, rather than detract from, the overall driving experience. Bigger brakes have been fitted, with 12.3-inch front rotors growing a whole 1.2-inches over the standard Civic Sedan, while the rear rotors grow almost an inch to 11.1-inches total. 235/40R18 all-season performance rubber is standard, with summer tires a factory option.
As with the Sedan and Hatchback, the new Si benefits from the 11th Gen Civic’s stiffer body and longer wheelbase. Honda then adds 8-percent stiffer front springs and 54-percent stiffer rear springs, together with new dampers, reinforced upper front MacPherson struts for better cornering, and thicker front and rear stabilizer bars to cut body roll. The Type R donates compliance bushings, upper arms, and lower B-arms, while steering gets an upgrade courtesy of a stiffer torsion bar.
There are still Normal and Sport drive modes, but an Individual mode has been added. That allows the driver to choose their mix of engine response, steering weight, and instrumentation theme settings.
Outside, there’s a new upper front bumper, a reworked rear bumper with twin oval exhaust tips, a front spoiler, and a gloss black rear spoiler. More gloss black appears on the mirrors and window surrounds, and Honda makes LED lighting front and rear standard, too. 18-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels – in an Si-specific matte black – are standard, too, and the Blazing Orange Pearl paint is exclusive to the car as well.
Inside, Si-exclusive sport seats with integrated head restraints and more shoulder and lower thigh support are included, along with sport pedals and red contrast stitching. The honeycomb dash panel is carried over, but with red trim now. A 7-inch driver display and 9-inch infotainment touchscreen are standard, with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Honda also adds the 12-speaker Bose audio system, and Honda Sensing is standard, too.
Pricing will be confirmed closer to the 2022 Civic Si’s arrival in dealerships later in 2021.
Toyota Tacozilla inspired by 1970s Chinook campervans to debut at SEMA
We bet you haven’t heard of the Toyota Chinook campervan, but we’re pretty sure you’ll be looking forward to Toyota’s Tacozilla campervan concept at this year’s SEMA show in November. The Toyota Chinook is a collaboration between the Japanese automaker and American wagon maker Chinook RV. The first Toyota Chinooks entered the market in 1973 and were essentially motorhomes with a pop-up roof built on a long-wheelbase Toyota half-ton truck chassis.
And since it’s a Toyota, Chinook campervans have the same bulletproof reliability as Toyota trucks. The folks at Toyota’s motorsports tech center in Texas created Tacozilla with the Chinook in mind, but it now has a more contemporary design to cope with seriously rugged terrain.
Starting with a Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport manual, the team conceptualized a bed-mounted micro-house with a cab-over design and a stubby rear end to lessen the approach and departure angles, making it effortless to find a suitable camping spot in the wild outdoors. According to project manager Marty Schwerter, Tacozilla will be sleeker, more aerodynamic, and more fuel-efficient than any Toyota Chinook before it, not to mention more off-road capable than ever before.
Toyota claims the camper is tall enough for a six-foot two-inch person to stand while cooking meals in the built-in kitchenette. The home quarters will also have a table, a standard toilet, and a two-person bed. Tacozilla will also come in a unique retro-inspired red, white, and orange livery as those vintage Chinook campervans. “Racecars are cool looking,” added Schwerter. “I want campers to be cool looking, too.”
And while the old Chinooks were motivated by Toyota’s 18R motor, Tacozilla will have a standard 3.5-liter V6 engine with 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. The initial rendering also features unique off-road wheels and chunkier Cooper Discoverer all-terrain tires.
Unlike other concepts, the Toyota Tacozilla is as real as it gets. The automaker is working overtime in finishing the prototype just in time for the 2021 SEMA Show this November 2 to 5, 2021. The question is, can we expect Tacozillas at Toyota dealerships soon? If Toyota did it in the early 1970s, we could see no reason it won’t be doing it again. But will Tacozilla be as cool as those retrolicious Chinook camper vans? We’ll have to wait for SEMA to find out.
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