Report from the OpenStack PTG in Dublin

By , March 9, 2018 7:30 pm

Last week I attended OpenStack’s PTG (Project Teams Gathering) in Dublin. This event happens every 6 months in a different city, and is a fantastic opportunity for OpenStack developers and upstream contributors to get together and turbo-charge the next phase of collaboration.

I wrote a private report for my SUSE colleagues summarising my experience, but then Colleen posted her report publicly, which made me realise that it would be far more in keeping with OpenStack’s Four Opens to publish mine online. So here it is!

General observations

The PTG was well-attended with just over 400 people from all over the world. As with previous PTGs this felt like just the right size: enough to have most projects / organizations well represented, but not too big to prevent serendipitous meetings happening many times throughout the week, where I would just be wandering around and bump into exactly the right person I needed to talk to 🙂

All the etherpads are publicly available in case you want to dive into the gory details.

IMHO the ptgbot continued to work really well for adapting to the dynamic and fast-changing agenda. I submitted a few patches to polish it further.

The “extreme” (for Ireland, anyway) weather, which was reportedly the heaviest snow in 40 years, caused a lot of disruption, not just for travel, but also that our conference venue in Croke Park Stadium was forced to shut on Thursday afternoon, rather than Friday evening as originally planned. Luckily our amazing hotel, The Croke Park, stepped up to the plate and allowed us to continue the conference there. It was quite a squash fitting everyone in, but somehow they managed it, and the ensuing organized mayhem had the unexpected side effect of building really strong comradery between everyone.

There was a piano-bar style sing-along night (with OpenStack’s Executive Director Jonathan Bryce doing a great job on the piano), a board games night … I think it was my colleague Keith Berger who shrewdly observed that it was like being on a cruise ship 🙂 Having the best Guinness in the world on tap probably helped too. Check out #SnowpenStack on Twitter for some of the hilarious antics.

We managed a couple of SUSE team dinners and it was great to spend more time with teammates, especially the ones who are normally on a different continent 🙂

Self-healing SIG

My main reason for attending the PTG was bootstrapping this new SIG which I founded a few months ago. We had a really good session filling Tuesday afternoon, with about 30 people attending.

The subset of self-healing attendees brave enough to venture out into the cold

There were discussions about various use cases, and some people are already keen to start work on use cases immediately. We also had representatives from the API SIG, including Graham Hayes a.k.a. mugsie who is leading the new health-check API initiative, and from OPNFV, since we are trying to promote better sharing of work on automated testing of self-healing / HA functionality. (If you’re interested, please sign up here!)

We agreed some concrete next steps, some of which I already started working on:

You can follow all activity via the StoryBoard project.

The only disappointment with this session was that no operators attended. However I managed to coordinate with some people involved with the Tokyo Ops meetup this week, in order to gather feedback from ops, and we got a session slot booked in that agenda which happened yesterday. Additionally I am speaking on self-healing and leading a discussion session on it at the London OpenStack Meetup next Monday, so hopefully we’ll get some good feedback there too.

First Contact SIG

I joined the contributor guide part of this session briefly to give some feedback and also organise collaboration on writing a quickstart guide for people who are used to GitHub and don’t know Gerrit, since I promised to write that after creating a comparison matrix in Denver, which provides a base for the guide.


The Self-healing SIG previously agreed to use StoryBoard for tracking work, not just to aid collaboration within the SIG, but also to help dogfood StoryBoard and provide feedback. So I spent quite a bit of time with the StoryBoard folks giving feedback and brainstorming ideas for improving usability. I also started work on a “Rosetta stone” matrix which aims to show the key differences between StoryBoard and other issue trackers people are used to, such as JIRA, Trello, GitHub, Bugzilla, Redmine etc. Similarly to the approach with the GitHub / Gerrit matrix above, it could serve as the basis for a document which helps “port” people to StoryBoard from other issue trackers.

Fast-forward upgrades (FFU)

This was a really full session, with some good discussions. Main points:

  • It was agreed to form an Upgrade SIG, and this has now happened.
  • AFAICS everyone is not yet on the same page about what FFU means exactly, especially regarding online migrations. There is perhaps room for improvement in the governance tags provided for tracking upgradability (assert:supports-upgrade, assert:supports-accessible-upgrade), which would help clarify this.
  • IIUC Kolla seem to be going in a slightly different direction based on online rolling upgrades, although I don’t think they necessarily have any strong objections to supporting offline upgrades so maybe things will converge in the long term.
  • Noone from openstack-helm present 🙁
  • Lots of gotchas, and consequent debates on how best to capture and share these.


I only had time to pop into the oslo room briefly, to discuss an interesting new initiative in oslo.config to automate migration of config between releases (a bit like DB migrations, but for oslo.config instead of DB schema). This was also mentioned in the FFU session.

I posed some questions about how this would handle config which requires extra per-project logic to migrate, and also how it would handle config which has been explicitly set to the default value. We had some interesting discussions on that but I think ultimately the answer was “let’s cross that bridge when we come to it”.

I also had a quick chat with Ken Giusti about a long-standing oslo.service bug we’ve worked on, but we ran out of time and agreed to take it online.

OpenStack Ansible

I demo’d ansible-viz, the Ansible visualization tool of which I recently became the maintainer, to the OpenStack Ansible folks. They seemed really enthusiastic, and are looking into using it for embedding diagrams in their docs. Hopefully this means they will start contributing to make it better!

My colleague Dirk Müller and I also talked to them in general about other areas for potential collaboration. We were both impressed with how open they are to help and collaborate!


As usual with the PTGs, I got huge value from random unplanned conversations in hallways, at lunch tables, in the bar etc.

I spent a lot of time talking to Emmet Hickory (a.k.a. persia) and he gave me some great ideas about new use cases for the git workflow tools I have been building in hackweeks and spare time. I already knew that my git-deps tool allows fairly accurate predictions of how difficult it will be to backport a given commit to a stable branch, but a new idea emerged that this could be added as a non-voting job to Zuul‘s checks pipeline, to facilitate a more proactive / preemptive approach to backporting.

I talked with Tony Breeds (PTL of stable branch maintenance) about this who told me that Neutron is already extremely proactive when it comes to backporting, so they might be interested in this. So I met Miguel Lavalle (Neutron PTL) and he was really interested and requested that I put it on the agenda for a future Neutron IRC meeting. This has now happened and we will discuss during next Tuesday’s meeting.

Emmet helped me realise that my git-explode tool could also help with backporting work, so I need to finish packaging that and publish it. There is a London Git meetup coming up soon, and I might present the tools at that.

I’m getting off-topic now so I’ll finish here 🙂 If you found this report useful please leave a comment below, so that I know it’s worth bothering to do next time 🙂


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