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14 September 2018

TripleO Denver 2018 PTG notes

by Juan Antonio Osorio Robles

I recently had the opportunity to attend the OpenStack PTG at Denver. It’s always good to see folks face to face :D. Here are my notes on what I thought was relevant.

Edge edge edge

A big topic in the PTG has been Edge. On the Working Group perspective, the discussion was more focused on identifying the Edge cases, and figuring out appropriate architectures for them, while at the same time, trying to come up with gaps in the projects that we could tackle.

On the TripleO side, the discussion is slightly more focused, as the main issue is to figure out how to deploy a base architecture that will cover our most sought for cases.

Currently, some “Edge” TripleO deployments have different entire TripleO deployments per edge deployment (undercloud, overcloud and all).

To address this issue, and try to make the deployments more lightweight. There are several ideas and approaches:

To make TripleO be more “Edge-friendly” there are still a lot of things that we need to add to the engine. One of them is making routed networks available to TripleO’s internal networks, and not just the control plane. This will allow to have different network segments on the edge sites, while having our interfaces such as the ServiceNetMap work as expected with the segments.

Python 3

With the on-going OpenStack wide goal of switching to python 3, there are several implications and work items that we need to do in TripleO in order to get this properly working and tested.

Alex Schultz has been looking into this, and it seems that at least on the TripleO side we’re quite well off into having our tooling run on python 3. Being a deployment engine, however, we do depend on other projects supporting python 3.

To test all this, we also need to run our deployment in an environment that has python 3 by default. CentOS (what we currently use to test), doesn’t have this. So the proposal has been brought up to start building Fedora 28 container images. This way, we can move forward in our python 3-based deployments testing. This will require a lot of work though, since Kolla currently doesn’t build container images for Fedora. Alternatives will be investigated.

Standalone OpenStack with TripleO

Work has been done to get TripleO to deploy a standalone one-node OpenStack instance, such as Packstack is able to do. There were a bunch of folks trying it out and the results seem quite promising. Here is the relevant documentation. The big advantage in this is that it’ll enable developers to test out their features in a faster manner than the regular full blown deployment, allowing for faster deployment times and faster iterations. The reason being that it’s no longer an undercloud and an overcloud, but one node that contains the base OpenStack services.

We’ll also switch several of our multinode scenario jobs to run standalone deployments. This will enable us to have faster CI times and more lightweight testing environments. However, this also means that the scenarios will have a reduced set of services, given that the nodes we get from infra are quite limited. This will result in us introducing more scenarios to make up for this. However, we would still benefit from shorter CI runs.

tripleo-quickstart / -extras merging

This used to be kept separate for historical reasons, but in the near future, the plan is to merge these two repositories. This will make it easier for folks to make changes and find the relevant places to make such changes. Subsequently, if other projects (such as infrared), would like to use parts of tripleo-quickstart, these will be divided in roles in separate repos, as requests come.


With us moving more and more into ansible, our current repo structure is getting more challenging to understand. Where does heat end and ansible begin?

To address this issue, efforts are being made to move the ansible bits into tripleo-specific ansible roles. Right now, the plan is to move each service to have it’s own repository with the relevant role. However, this plan is still open for discussion.

There is also the need to run tasks when deleting a host, or scaling down. This used to work since Heat used to manage the deployment, so we would run scripts based on heat triggering a DELETE action. With the move to Ansible, this no longer works. So a spec has been proposed in order to address this. The plan is to introduce new sections to the service deployment, and run specific ansible tasks on a specialized command that will execute the scale down. This will be very useful, for instance, when scaling down and needing to unregister the RHEL node.


Password rotation

Password rotation for some services was broken when we moved our services to containers. Specifically there’s the issue of changing the master MySQL password, which, currently breaks as the new password is used, and we’re not able to set the new one. Steps are being taken to address this, and in order to avoid regressions, we’ll create a periodic job that will run this action. Here is where the standalone job approach shines, since we can have a fairly fast and lightweight job to only test this capability. Ultimately, we’ll want to notify folks that care about this job when it breaks, so the ability to notify specific people in a Squad will be added to CI.

Another issue that was brought up, is that password rotation requires service restarts. So there is no clean way in OpenStack in general to rotate passwords without service interruptions. Not a lot we can do in TripleO, but I’ll bring this up to the OpenStack TC to see if we can make this a community goal; similarly to the work that was done to make the “debug” option tunable on runtime.

SELinux support for containers

With the move to supporting podman as a container deployment tool, we are also looking into getting our containers to play nicely with SELinux. This work is being lead by Cédric Jeanneret and is a great improvement on TripleO security.

Unfortunately this is not so simple to test upstream, as we get our SELinux rules from RHEL, down to OpenStack.

The proposal to get better visibility on our support for SELinux is to enable better logging in our jobs. We’ll still run with SELinux in permissive mode, however, we can enable more logs and even notifications to the security squad whenever new breakages in the policy happen.

Secret management in TripleO

My team has been working in getting oslo.config to have the ability to fetch the values from different drivers. Castellan will be one of these drivers, which could subsequently use Vault to fetch data in a more secure manner.

This work is moving forward, however, time is soon coming to see how we’ll hook this up to TripleO.

This is not as straight-forward as it seems. If we want to keep the sensitive data to be as safe as possible (which is the whole point), we want to avoid duplicating this in other places (like heat or ansible) where it could end up unencrypted. One of the ideas was to bring up a temporary instance of Vault where we would store all the sensitive data, and eventually copy the encrypted database to the overcloud.

This is still quite raw, and we hope to solidify a sane approach in the coming months.


In a nutshell, there will be on-going work to make the CLI and the UI converge better, so they’ll use the same mistral interfaces and have similar workflows for doing things. This might result in breaking some old CLI commands in favor of workflows similar to what we do in the UI, however, this will reduce the testing matrix and hopefully the code-base as well.

Our validations framework will also be re-vamped, to uniformly depend on Mistral for running. This way, it can be leveraged from both the UI and the CI. The hope is to standardize and make validations part of the service definitions, this will make validations more visible to other developers and improve the experience.

Finally, work is coming for a framework for folks to be able to generate roles safely. The issue is that when building custom roles, it’s not apparent what services are needed, and what services can be deployed together, or even which services conflict (such as is the case for ODL). So having a tool to generate roles, and that contains enough information to resolve such metadata about the services, would be a great usability improvement for deployers.

Getting rid of Nova in the undercloud

It was brought up that there is on-going work to remove Nova and expose more explicit options for folks to deploy their baremetal nodes. This is quite beneficial to TripleO as it will make the undercloud a lot lighter than before, while also giving deployers more flexibility and features for their baremetal deployments. It also opens TripleO to the possibility of becoming a more general case baremetal provisioning framework. We already are able to deploy OpenShift on baremetal, hopefully the more this is used, the more use-cases and feature requests we get in order to make TripleO more usable for folks outside of OpenStack.

The baremetal deployment would be driven by a tool called metalsmith which leverages ironic, glance and neutron. Good progress has been already made, and there’s even a patch to enable this workflow.

While this work might land on Stein, it won’t be enabled by default, since there are still many things to figure out; such as how to upgrade from a heat stack that uses Nova resources, to the nova-less approach. Another thing to figure out is how to make the TLS everywhere workflow work without nova, since currently we rely on nova-metadata and a vendor-data plugin to make this work. Given the community seemed to have positive feelings about the metalsmith approach, it seems relevant that we come up with an alternative approach for TLS everywhere that we’ll introduce in the T release. Since we now have config-download as a default, using Ansible to make TLS everywhere work is probably the way to go.

Major OS upgrades

In an effort to make TripleO handle more and more scenarios, and to make operator’s lives easier, it’s only a natural step that TripleO also manages major OS upgrades. Currently our major upgrade workflow only handles major OpenStack version upgrades, but we haven’t taken into account major version upgrades for the Operating System. This type of workflow is quite complex.

In a nutshell, the proposed solution, while destructive in some ways, is probably the only sane way to go.

In a nutshell, the current plan is:

This was a rough sketch of the rough plan that was thought of in a long discussion about this. Several other options where discussed (such as a big-bang approach that unprovisions all the nodes and puts them up at the same time). However, this seemed to address most of the concerns that people came up with.

A blueprint will be written with a more structured workflow and hopefully we’ll have a working solution in the future.

tags: tripleo - openstack

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