Canonical has announced the extension of its commercial OpenStack offering to small-scale cloud environments with a new project Sunbeam. What makes Sunbeam unique is its K8s-native architecture. By running its services inside of containers, OpenStack gets fully decoupled from the underlying operating system, making historically challenging operations, such as upgrades, much easier.

The project is 100% open source and is available free-of-charge. Early adopters can also opt-in for comprehensive security coverage and full commercial support under the Ubuntu Pro + Support subscriptions once they complete the deployment themselves. This enables organisations to modernise their small-scale, legacy IT estates and easily transition from proprietary solutions to OpenStack, without an expensive professional services engagement.

Finally, its lightweight architecture makes Sunbeam usable on machines with limited hardware resources, including workstations and VMs, effectively eliminating the need for dedicated hardware for testing purposes.

Sunbeam ships with the latest OpenStack version – 2023.1 (Antelope). Early adopters will be able to upgrade directly to the 2024.1 version next year through the Skip Level Upgrade Release Process (SLURP) mechanism. As of now Sunbeam includes core OpenStack services only, but it’s expected to evolve quickly to ensure full feature parity with OpenStack Charms soon.

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