[openstack-dev] [tc][all][designate] The way forward for Designate

Hayes, Graham graham.hayes at hpe.com
Tue Feb 21 20:25:59 UTC 2017

For those that are interested, we will have an hour discussion about
how designate can move forward tomorrow (wed 22nd) at the PTG.

We will be in Savannah 3 @ 11:00 for an hour.



On 09/02/2017 14:22, Hayes, Graham wrote:
> The HTML version of this is here:
> http://graham.hayes.ie/posts/openstack-designate-where-we-are/
> I have been asked a few times recently "What is the state of the Designate
> project?", "How is Designate getting on?", and by people who know what is
> happening "What are you going to do about Designate?".
> Needless to say, all of this is depressing to me, and the people that I have
> worked with for the last number of years to make Designate a truly useful,
> feature rich project.
> *TL;DR;* for this - Designate is not in a sustainable place.
> To start out - Designate has always been a small project. DNS does not have
> massive *cool* appeal - its not shiny, pretty, or something you see on the
> front page of HackerNews (unless it breaks - then oh boy do people
> become DNS
> experts).
> A line a previous PTL for the project used to use, and I have happily
> robbed is
> "DNS is like plumbing, no one cares about it until it breaks, and then
> you are
> standing knee deep in $expletive". (As an aside, that was the reason we
> chose
> the crocodile as our mascot - its basically a dinosaur, old as dirt, and
> when
> it bites it causes some serious complications).
> Unfortunately that comes over into the development of DNS products
> sometimes.
> DNSaaS is a check box on a tender response, an assumption.
> We were lucky in the beginning - we had 2 large(ish) public clouds that
> needed
> DNS services, and nothing currently existed in the eco-system, so we got
> funding for a team from a few sources.
> We got a ton done in that period - we moved from a v1 API which was
> synchronous to a new v2 async API, we massively increased the amount of DNS
> servers we supported, and added new features.
> Unfortunately, this didn't last. Internal priorities within companies
> sponsoring the development changed, and we started to shed contributors,
> which
> happens, however disappointing. Usually when this happens if a project is
> important enough the community will pick up where the previous group
> left off.
> We have yet to see many (meaningful) commits from the community though. We
> have some great deployers who will file bugs, and if they can put up patch
> sets - but they are (incredibly valuable and appreciated) tactical
> contributions. A project cannot survive on them, and we are no exception.
> So where does that leave us? Let have a look at how many actual commits we
> have had:
> Commits per cycle
>      +--------------+---------+
>      | Havana       | 172     |
>      +--------------+---------+
>      | Icehouse     | 165     |
>      +--------------+---------+
>      | Juno         | 254     |
>      +--------------+---------+
>      | Kilo         | 340     |
>      +--------------+---------+
>      | Liberty      | 327     |
>      +--------------+---------+
>      | Mitaka       | 246     |
>      +--------------+---------+
>      | Newton       | 299     |
>      +--------------+---------+
>      | Ocata        | 98      |
>      +--------------+---------+
> Next cycle, we are going to have 2 community goals:
> * Control Plane API endpoints deployment via WSGI
> * Python 3.5 functional testing
> We would have been actually OK for the tempest one - we were one of the
> first
> external repo based plug-ins with `designate-tempest-plugin`_
> For WSGI based APIs, this will be a chunk of work - due to our internal code
> structure splitting out the API is going to be ... an issue. (and I think it
> will be harder than most people expect - anyone using olso.service has
> eventlet imported - I am not sure how that affects running in a WSGI server)
> Python 3.5 - I have no idea. We can't even run all our unit tests on python
> 3.5, so I suspect getting functional testing may be an issue. And,
> convincing
> management that re-factoring parts of the code base due to "community goals"
> or a future potential pay-off can be more difficult than it should.
>   http://graham.hayes.ie/images/oct-2016-projects-prod.jpg
> We now have a situation where the largest "non-core" project [1]_ in the
> tent
> has a tiny number of developers working on it. 42% of deployers are
> evaluating
> Designate, so we should see this start to increase.
> How did this happen?
> ====================
> Like most situations, there is no single cause.
> Certainly there may have been fault on the side of the Designate leadership.
> We had started out as a small team, and had built a huge amount of trust and
> respect based on in person interactions over a few years, which meant that
> there was a fair bit of "tribal knowledge" in the heads of a few people, and
> that new people had a hard time becoming part of the group.
> Also, due to volume of work done by this small group, a lot of users /
> distros
> were OK leaving us work - some of us were also running a production
> designate
> service during this time, so we knew what we needed to develop, and we had
> pretty quick feedback when we made a mistake, or caused a bug. All of this
> resulted in the major development cost being funded by two companies, which
> left us vulnerable to changes in direction from those companies. Then that
> shoe dropped. We are now one corporate change of direction from having no
> cores on the project being paid to work on the project. [2]_
> Preceding this, the governance of OpenStack changed to the `Big Tent`_
> While this change was a good thing for the OpenStack project as a
> whole it had quite a bad impact on us.
> Pre Big Tent, you got integrated. This was at least a cycle, where you moved
> docs to docs.openstack.org, integrated with QA testing tooling, got packaged
> by Linux distros, and build cross project features.
> When this was a selective thing, there was teams available to help with
> that,
> docs teams would help with content (and tooling - docs was a mass of XML
> back
> then), QA would help with tempest and devstack, horizon would help with
> panels.
> In Big Tent, there just wasn't resources to do this - the scope of the
> project
> expansion was huge. However the big tent happened (in my opinion - I have
> written about this before) before the horizontal / cross project teams were
> ready. They stuck to covering the "integrated" projects, which was all
> they could do at the time.
> This left us in a position of having to reimplement tooling, figure out
> what tooling we did have access to, and migrate everything we had on our
> own. And, as a project that (at our peak level of contribution) only
> ever had
> 5% of the number of contributors compared to a project like nova,  this put
> quite a load on our developers. Things like grenade, tempest and horizon
> plug-ins, took weeks to figure out all of which took time from other vital
> things like docs, functional tests and getting designate into other tools.
> One of the companies who invested in designate had a QE engineer that
> used to
> contribute, and I can honestly say that the quality of our testing
> improved 10
> fold during the time he worked with us. Not just from in repo tests, but
> from
> standing up full deployment stacks, and trying to break them - we
> learned a lot
> about how we could improve things from his expertise.
> Which is kind of the point I think. Nobody is amazing at everything. You
> need
> people with domain knowledge to work on these areas. If you asked me to do a
> multi-node grenade job, I would either start drinking, throw my laptop
> at you
> or do both.
> We still have some of these problems to this day - most of our docs are
> in a messy pile in https://docs.openstack.org/developer/designate
> while we still have a small amount of old functional tests that are not
> ported
> from our old non plug-in style.
> All of this adds up to make projects like Designate much less attractive
> to users - we just need to look at the `project navigator`_ to see what
> a bad
> image potential users get of us. [3]_ This is for a project that was ran
> as a
> full (non beta) service in a public cloud. [4]_
> Where too now then?
> ===================
> Well, this is where I call out to people who actually use the project -
> don't
> jump ship and use something else because of the picture I have painted.
> We are
> a dedicated team, how cares about the project. We just need some help.
> I know there are large telcos who use Designate. I am sure there is tooling,
> or docs build up in these companies that could be very useful to the
> project.
> Nearly every commercial OpenStack distro has Designate. Some have had it
> since
> the beginning. Again, developers, docs, tooling, testers, anything and
> everything is welcome. We don't need a massive amount of resources - we
> are a
> small ish, stable, project.
> We need developers with upstream time allocated, and the budget to go to
> events
> like the PTG - for cross project work, and internal designate road map,
> these
> events form the core of how we work.
> We also need help from cross project teams - the work done by them is
> brilliant
> but it can be hard for smaller projects to consume. We have had a lot of
> progress since the `Leveller Playing Field`_ debate, but a lot of work is
> still optimised for the larger teams who get direct support, or well
> resourced
> teams who can dedicate people to the implementation of plugins / code.
> As someone I was talking to recently said - AWS is not winning public cloud
> because of commodity compute (that does help - a lot), but because of the
> added services that make using the cloud, well, cloud like. OpenStack
> needs to
> decide that either it is just compute, or if it wants the eco-system. [5]_
> Designate is far from alone in this.
> I am happy to talk to anyone about helping to fill in the needed resources -
> Designate is a project that started in the very office I am writing this
> blog
> post in, and something I want to last.
> For a visual this is Designate team in Atlanta, just before we got
> incubated.
> http://graham.hayes.ie/images/ATL.jpg
> and this was our last mid cycle:
> http://graham.hayes.ie/images/mid-cycle.jpg
> and in Atlanta at the PTG, there will be two of us.
> [1] In the `Oct-2016`_ User Survey Designate was deployed in 23% of clouds
> [2] I have been lucky to have a management chain that is OK with me
> spending some time on Designate, and have not asked me to take time off
> for Summits or Gatherings, but my day job is working on a completely
> different project.
> [3] I do have other issues with the metrics - mainly that we existed
> before becoming leaving stackforge, and some of the other stats are set
> so high, that non "core" projects will probably never meet them.
> [4] I recently went to an internal training talk, where they were
> talking about new features in Newton. There was a whole slide about how
> projects and improved, or gotten worse on these scores. A whole slide.
> With tables of scores, and I think there may have even been a graph.
> [5] Now, I am slightly biased, but I would argue that DNS is needed in
> commodity compute, but again, that is my view.
> .. _Oct-2016: https://www.openstack.org/analytics
> .. _Big Tent:
> https://governance.openstack.org/tc/resolutions/20141202-project-structure-reform-spec.html
> .. _designate-tempest-plugin:
> https://github.com/openstack/designate-tempest-plugin
> .. _project navigator:
> https://www.openstack.org/software/releases/newton/components/designate
> .. _Leveller Playing Field:
> http://graham.hayes.ie/posts/openstack-a-leveler-playing-field/
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