‘Help most needed’ list

‘Help most needed’ list

This document lists at most 5 areas where the OpenStack Technical Committee seeks contributions to significantly help OpenStack as a whole. While in most cases things happen naturally through the normal contribution dynamics in the community, in some cases a tragedy of the commons is at play. Guidance, leadership and proper recognition of efforts is therefore needed to encourage individuals or organizations to contribute in areas where they could make a big impact.

Each item should clearly explain why the item matters (value of the effort to the community, operators and users), why we need help there (description of the current situation) and what experience or benefit the volunteer can expect to gain from tackling it. It should also include the name of a TC sponsor (responsible for evangelizing, articulating and channelling the work, but also facilitating connections between candidates and target teams). For an estimate of the commitment required, interested candidates should reach out to the TC sponsor, or the PTL of the affected project.

1. Documentation owners

The #1 pain point in OpenStack, especially for new potential adopters, is complexity. While cutting down complexity everwhere we can is critical, proper documentation is essential in addressing that complexity. It directly benefits operators and users of OpenStack, but also facilitates ramping up new direct contributors to the project itself.

The documentation team has been struggling with limited resources since the dawn of OpenStack, despite the heroic efforts of previous team members. An ambitious plan to further decentralize the Documentation team (and turn it into a guidance and mentoring support team) has been outlined. To be successful, this plan requires project teams to own their own documentation, which means that the role of documentation owners will be critical.

Volunteers for this role will in the short term drive this ambitious transition, by being members of their project team and members of the new decentralized documentation team. On the long-term they will become a reference go-to person in their project, and respected mentors in the OpenStack community.

Interested? Contact the Documentation PTL (pkovar) or the TC sponsor for this item (dhellmann).

2. Community Infrastructure Sysadmins

TC Sponsor: Jeremy Stanley (fungi)

The Infrastructure team is responsible for designing, building and maintaining the systems that are used in the day to day operation of the OpenStack project as a whole; this includes development, testing, and collaboration tools. All of the software it runs is open source, and under public configuration management so that everyone in the community has the opportunity to participate. One very effective way to get involved in OpenStack, gaining a deep understanding of and visibility within the community, is by helping operate this infrastructure. Attrition due to shifts in employment or availability of personal time impacts the team’s ability to support the community effectively, and so there is a constant need for new contributors who can commit to investing sufficient effort to overcome the steep learning curve associated with these varied technologies.

Because our community is global, its support needs span most timezones. Unfortunately, the bulk of long-term contributors to Infrastructure are concentrated in the Americas and so this leaves APAC and EMEA community members with far fewer options for immediate assistance with urgent issues. Gaining more contributors who are active during those times (whether they live in those parts of the World or not) would provide a substantial benefit to the community. This is not necessarily as easy as it sounds because it’s harder to get as much overlap with the current bulk of the team for shadowing and knowledge transfer, but there are still some existing team members in those timezones who can help mitigate that somewhat.

In particular, the team seeks developers and systems administrators with a background both in maintaining Unix/Linux servers and free software, and places heavy emphasis on systems automation and configuration management (primarily Ansible and Puppet at the moment). Everything possible goes through code review, and gets extensively documented and communicated with the rest of the community over IRC and mailing lists. Server resources are donated by companies operating OpenStack services, and the team also operates a persistent deployment of OpenStack too, so there is substantial opportunity both for people who have experience in those technologies as well as anyone wishing to gain more familiarity with them.

Join the #openstack-infra channel on the Freenode IRC network or reach out through the openstack-infra mailing lists on lists.openstack.org if you would like to get involved. It’s a rewarding chance to learn and help others, but most of all it’s fun!

3. Designate Contributors

Designate is a service that manages DNS Zones and Recordsets in an OpenStack way. We support multiple DNS Servers, and DNS Service Providers. DNS is a vital service for any network or web based application. DNS is a core part of directing users and applications to a service - it allows the entire underlying infrastructure to be replaced, even moved across regions or clouds, while presenting a consistent endpoint. DNS should be managed along side the servers, load balancers and other equipment in an OpenStack cloud and the integration with Neutron allows for DNS entries to be created when something is connected to a network. For more complicated examples, Heat can be used to manage the DNS zones and records, allowing for entire zones to be created, updated and deleted along side the resources that they point at. Once Designate is in every cloud, you can bring a heat template from cloud to cloud, and have a user ready deployment with a simple openstack stack create command.

Designate has had issues finding contributors to replace previous contributors who have moved on from the project mainly due to major restructuring in the organisations that sponsored development.

They need contributors to help find and fix bugs, develop new features, and help maintain the quality of the project. Designate is quite stable, with any new features requiring long term planning, design and phased implementation.

This makes Designate a good project for everyone, from a person starting out in the community, who wants to work on an interesting and important section of infrastructure, to very senior developers who want new, interesting problems to tackle. Contributors will get to work on a project that will be a central part of any OpenStack deployment, and work on a project that needs to scale from a small single node install to a system controlling DNS servers worldwide.

If you are interested, please join the IRC channel (#openstack-dns) or contact the Designate PTL (Graham Hayes - mugsie on IRC), the TC sponsor (Sean McGinnis - smcginnis), or email the openstack dev mailing list with the tag [designate].

4. Glance Contributors

Glance is a service to manage images for OpenStack clouds. It’s one of the early projects in OpenStack and it’s deployed in almost every OpenStack cloud. Without Glance, Nova can’t boot instances.

Glance is looking for new contributors who would be willing to provide reviews, to work on bugs, or to work on new features.

Glance is a great project to ramp up on OpenStack and it’s a great project for developers regardless of their experience. Glance has welcomed interns, junior developers, and more senior developers. In every case, it’s a great way to grow and contribute to OpenStack.

Glance is a critical project in OpenStack. Contributions to the future of the image registry are essential to the stability of OpenStack. More importantly, Glance is not “done”. There’s significant technical debt that needs to be taken care of and several features that can be implemented.

Interested? Join the Glance IRC channel (#openstack-glance) or reach out to the Glance PTL (rosmaita), the TC sponsor for this item (flaper87) or starting a new email thread on the ML using the tag [glance].

5. Goal Champions

Things get done in OpenStack when a group of people work together toward a shared goal. In order to do that, one or more people in the group need to step up and coordinate the group, keep track of progress, call for and chair regular meetings, and publish status updates. PTLs do this work for project teams, leaders do it for various cross-project working groups and SIGs, and champions do it to help us complete OpenStack-wide Goals over a cycle.

The work of those champions is essential to the success of OpenStack, and yet it is often challenging to find volunteers for those positions. Contributing as a goal champion takes time (several hours per week), and that commitment needs to be properly recognized and celebrated.

Volunteers for this role will make a direct impact on the productivity of others, become respected leaders in OpenStack community, build influence among their peers, and make great candidates for future elected leadership positions in OpenStack.

If you are interested in helping with community goals, contact the TC sponsor for this item (dhellmann).

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