Community Infrastructure Sysadmins

Summary

The OpenStack community is seeking developers and system administrators with a background in maintaining Unix/Linux servers and free software to join the Infrastructure team. This 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.

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.

There is a particular need for infrastructure team members from APAC and EMEA.

Business Case

Sponsorship of a team member is a way to visibly help build and maintain the development, collaboration, and testing tools used by the third most active open source project in the world without having to donate hardware. Team members interact with contributors across all the OpenStack projects as well as with the OpenStack service providers who supply resources for OpenStack CI systems.

Sponsors of infrastructure team members have a “seat at the table” as decisions are made about how to improve and scale OpenStack infrastructure going forwards.

Sponsors gain in-house expertise and experience building large-scale, adaptive software development infrastructure with open-source tools and public configuration management. There is no better way to gain exposure to and expertise with leading-edge CI/CD in advance of potential deployment at home than to place someone on the team deploying one of the world’s most scaled out instances of the Zuul project.

The software developed, skills involved, and open community practices learned can have high value downstream in a sponsors own enterprises and software products.

Technical Details

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 and gain a deep understanding and visibility within the community is by helping operate this infrastructure.

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 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.

Value

The infrastructure team leverages resources donated from companies operating OpenStack services. The community uses the software it produces as a tool for testing it. Every day, contributors submit thousands of patches for review. Infrastructure tools deploy each patch and test it against thousands of tests and scenarios. This volume provides an opportunity to improve the software we write by giving us first-hand experience with issues at scale. The benefit of fixing these issues for the OpenStack CI system is two-fold:

  1. It makes the test platform more stable and robust

  2. Products or services benefits from the fix being applied upstream

Don’t Repeat Yourself or Your Testing (DRY)

The culture built around extensive testing in OpenStack makes it easier for us to trust patches proposed for review. We’ve integrated this culture into our review process. Duplicating a social and technical CI system of this size takes incredible amounts of time, people, and patience. Bolstering the CI system we already have in place allows you to focus on testing that is specific to your product or service.

Immediate Feedback

The OpenStack CI system is the backbone of feedback for contributors and operators. Users get this feedback early, ideally before the patch lands. Ensuring early feedback through a robust CI system and testing means fewer surprises down the road when you attempt to integrate your product into a new release or deploy a new version of a service.

Contact

Join the OpenStack Infra IRC channel (openstack-infra on Freenode) or reach out through the openStack-infra mail list at list.openstack.org if you would like to get involved.