[User-committee] [app] OpenStack Apps Community, several suggestions how to improve collaboration

Igor Marnat imarnat at mirantis.com
Tue May 17 10:13:31 UTC 2016

having attended many sessions and talked to many customers, partners and
contributors in Austin I’d like to suggest several improvements to how we
develop OpenStack apps and work with the Community App Catalog (

Key goals to achieve are:
- Provide contributors with an ability to collaborate on OpenStack apps
- Provide contributors and consumers with transparent workflow to manage
their apps
- Provide consumers with information about apps - how it was developed and
- To summarize - introduce the way to build community working on OpenStack

*What is OpenStack application*
OpenStack is about 6 years young and all these years discussions about it
are in progress. Variety of applications is huge, from LAMP stacks and
legacy Java apps to telco workloads and VNF apps. There is working group
which works on a definition of "What is OpenStack application", hopefully
community will agree on definition soon.

For the sake of our discussion below let us agree on a simple approach: an
OpenStack application is any software asset which 1. can be executed on an
OpenStack cloud, 2. lives in apps.openstack.org.  So far there are Murano
applications, Heat templates, Glance images and TOSCA templates.

*Introduction to OpenStack development ecosystem*
OpenStack was introduced about 6 years ago. Over these years community
grown significantly. There were 8 companies contributing to OpenStack in
Austin (1-st release). In Mitaka (13-th release) there were 64 companies

One of the reasons for this growth is the set of sophisticated tools the
OpenStack contributor ecosystem has chosen to use or build to enable
- software repositories: http://git.openstack.org/cgit/openstack/nova,
http://git.openstack.org/cgit/openstack/neutron, ..
- bug trackers: https://launchpad.net/nova, https://launchpad.net/neutron,
- same instance of gerrit for all the projects for code review:
- gating test infrastructure http://zuul.openstack.org/
- common approach to release management, repositories management, naming,
tons of other things managed by review in
- IRC channels, etherpads, meetings and mailing lists
- governance to manage all of the above

All of the above is what we can call OpenStack collaboration ecosystem and
it is a key factor for OpenStack community success.

*Introduction to OpenStack apps development ecosystem*
Now when OpenStack is mature and have it up and running is not a big deal,
focus of community and customers shifts from "how do I get a running cloud"
to "what do I do with running cloud".

Use cases of different cloud users are very different, however one can
identify and develop standard building blocks which can be reused by cloud
users (service providers, DevTest teams, ...). Many cloud users want to
contribute their homegrown apps upstream because:
- it allows to other people to use it and improve it
- community can implement missing parts
- community can help with testing and maintaining an app

Year ago we introduced Community App Catalog for OpenStack
http://apps.openstack.org as an integration/distribution point of customer
experience/apps. This initiative is successful, there are about 100
software assets of various kinds which can be run on OpenStack. For further
growth we need to make several changes in a way we approach collaboration
around OpenStack Apps. Namely, we need to provide an ability to apps
developers to collaborate on application development.

*OpenStack Community App Catalog is there, what else?*
Community App Catalog http://apps.openstack.org allows to publish/consume
apps to/from it.

"The OpenStack Community App Catalog is designed to use the same tools for
submission and review as other OpenStack projects. As such we follow the
OpenStack development workflow" [0].

To follow OpenStack development workflow, apps developers need to have:
- dedicated repositories & code review system to collaborate on code
- mailing lists, IRC channels, core reviewers teams
- common approach to QA
- governance model to manage all of the above

Most of the above is missing for apps developers now.  App Catalog provides
central place to store final artifacts (ready apps, like .exe files in Win
world) but there is no centralized infrastructure to collaborate on
development of source code of apps.

Apps developers partially use infrastructure of OpenStack core projects
(Heat & Murano) - repositories and bug trackers. Other than that they are
on their own, there are no teams, no mailing lists, no IRC channels for
apps developers - most of the items from the list above is missing.

[0] https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/App-Catalog#How_to_contribute

*All right, we need to change something. What exactly?*

1.  We need to introduce a team which manages content of Community App
Catalog, decides which new assets can be added, decides on a workflow for
apps publishing, maintaining, consuming. This team could be a complimentary
team working alongside the Community App Catalog implementation team
(engine, backend, frontend); or within the team itself

2. There should be separated repositories for source code of apps from
Community App Catalog. These repositories should not be stored under
openstack label as they do not relate to core OpenStack projects. Core
project teams are not responsible for maintaining apps.

3. Bug tracking for apps should be separated from bug tracking for core

4. There should be teams working on apps with core reviewers, IRC channels
and mailing lists. These teams should differ from core projects teams.

5. Given #1 - #4 it seems reasonable to develop governance model specific
for OpenStack Apps Community, which differs (when it’s necessary) from
governance model of OpenStack Community.

Let us develop such a governance model, implement changes described above
and build community of OpenStack apps developers.

PS. There is representative discussion in comments to
Some team wants to add new repository for CI/CD Murano app. Should it be
part of Murano core project? Rather not. Should it be part of BigTent?
Well, rather not as BigTent is for core OpenStack services, not for
workloads on top of it. At the same time team wants to use some OpenStack
infra resources (at least gerrit for now) as this project is obviously
beneficial for OpenStack. We need to have an ability to resolve similar
requests in a centralized manner - there are more teams who want to publish
source code of their OpenStack apps and there is no established workflow
for that.

*Agree. What’s next?*

Suggested plan:
- Introduce label openstack-apps, put repositories with source code of
OpenStack Apps under it, i.e.:
  * http://git.openstack.org/cgit/openstack-apps/murano-apps
  * http://git.openstack.org/cgit/openstack-apps/heat-templates
  * http://git.openstack.org/cgit/openstack-apps/tosca-workflows
- Agree with OpenStack Community App Catalog team on how content of App
Catalog is managed and by whom
- Describe workflow of how to add source code of new application to
repositories, who approves its addition
- Introduce simplified workflow of publishing new Application to the
  * register/login
  * push/update
  * done
- Introduce teams (core reviewers) contributing to/maintaining Murano apps,
Heat templates, ...
- Establish channels of communications with potential contributors (mailing
list, meetings, IRC/slack channel, ... ?)
- Agree with contributors on QA process for applications and how we track
it in Community App Catalog

To simplify commenting and tracking of the plan above I put last two
sections with suggested steps to the etherpad

Please share your thoughts and comments.

Igor Marnat
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