OpenStack Ocata Summit

I spent last week at the Ocata design summit in Barcelona and wanted to take the opportunity to write up some notes from the week while it is still fresh.

Overall, it was an extremely interesting and well run event. Thanks to all involved in making it happen.


Today was about getting settled in and meeting up with folks. There is some design work going on, but most of the topics relevant to me didn't really kick off until Wednesday. I tried sitting in a few sessions, but didn't take much in as I was sleep deprived.

I did enjoy the "What the Heck is OoO" session; it was a neat introduction to TripleO, a project that can be bewildering to new developers and users. It covered the essential terminology and explained the project goals. When you are so involved in a project it is good to take a step back and look at the bigger picture sometimes. I think we need to do a better job of making TripleO more approachable - is there a way we can reduce the jargon required to have a basic understanding?

I finished the day off by popping along to the RDO party briefly. There was a great turnout and a bunch of familiar faces.


I started today with a quick 5km run along the Barcelona beach front, it makes for a pretty nice running spot - it is very flat! Unfortunately the weather isn't great, but it did stay dry for my run.

I watched some of the keynotes today, the demos by the TripleO infra team of our CI setup was particularly nice to see. It is great to see this amazing work get some of the spotlight. I had a number of interesting conversations about Mistral and TripleO and squeezed in a few test runs of my talk.

In the afternoon I attended a few design sessions and gave my talk in the last slot. "TripleO: Containers - Current Status and Roadmap" was the first session I attended. It was really interesting and there was a ton of interest based on how full the room was. There are a huge number of interesting problems to work through, but ideas and the spec seem to be taking things in the right direction.

Next I went to the TripleO work session on "Growing the team", again we had another full room and that perhaps highlighted why we need to discuss this and the growing pains we are having with so many active developers. We discussed an active proposal to split the team into squads and allow focus and development to happen in more focused, smaller groups. This seemed like a popular idea. We also discussed a way of better identifying subject matter experts, the consensus didn't seem as clear but it sounds like we might try using gerrit groups to better identify these people. We also discussed a way of better identifying subject matter experts, the consensus didn't seem as clear but it sounds like we might try using gerrit groups to better identify these people.

Finally I finished the day by giving my talk "Effective Code Review". It went fairly well, but I think I rushed it a bit and probably skipped something becuase I finished earlier than expected. The feedback and questions I had were interesting, so overall I think it went down well.


Today started sharp with the session "Building Self-healing Applications", which contained an interesting exploration of using self-healing applications with Aodh, Zaqar and Mistral. The end result was a nice demo and suggested architecture which, in short, uses Aodh (the Telemitry alarm service) to trigger Mistral workflows via Zaqar. This opens up oportunities for automating a number of tasks based on what is happening in your cloud in real time, rather than having alarms trigger manual administration tasks it can trigger automated workflows that will complete the steps automatically.

I then attended the "OpenStackClient: Roadmap and Priorities" design session. This was interesting to me due to my involvement in python-tripleocleint - which was one of the earliest openstackclient plugins. A number of interesting topics come up in this session:

  • The work discussed around improving the help in openstackclient sounds really important and I think it would be a really great change.
  • A new meta-package that will install all plugins, so make it easier to get everything. This will be useful so you don't need to know to install openstackclient and python-heatclient.

Next, the "TripleO upgrades" session. If you think installing OpenStack is complicated, upgrading OpenStack between releases opens up a whole new set of problems. This session was very interesting as we briefly covered how we upgrade now and how we are going to approach upgrading in the future, which composable roles. Thankfully some very smart people are working on this.

Then another "auto-healing" Is auto-healing a new buzzword that I missed? This talk unfortunately wasn't what I was looking for. I primarily came to the talk as it had Mistral tagged, but I don't think they even mentioned Mistral. Having said that, it sounds like they are doing some interesting things and I learned to pay more attention to abstracts.

"Mistral and StackStorm" made for an interesting session as they are one of the biggest users of Mistral and helped shape the project. It is also interesting to note that they use Mistral mostly outside of OpenStack which is great as it demonstrates the viability of the project.

"Nokia: TOSCA & Mistral" gave a good summary of Mistral and what is new in the Newton release. It was also interesting to hear how they are using Mistral at Nokia.

Other than these, I sat in a few design sessions for oslo and Heat, but only managed to follow along a little bit as I'm not as involved in these projects but I have a peripheral interest.

Woah. Today was busy.


Friday morning was packed full of design sessions - two for TripleO followed by two for Mistral. Then the Mistral contributors meetup in the afternoon.

For TripleO we spoke about composable undercloud deployment with Heat and the TripleO GUI/CLI and validations in the first session. These were both good discussions, but it felt like there was too much to cover in 20 minutes, particularly for the second half. For me, it feels like the primary goal for Ocata will be getting the GUI and CLI as close as possible - this will involve a bunch of work on the Mistral workflows to make it possible. Other than that, there will be lots of refinement to improve the user experience of both the CLI and GUI.

The second design session was much more free-form and was open for general questions and discussion related to Ocata. This was really interesting to follow along as we heard from a wide range of people about issues that were important to them.

In the Mistral session we covered a wide range of topics. Focusing on some current urgent issues and general usability by making small improvements and work on the documentation. Rather than repeat that, we took some good notes in an etherpad.

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