Designate Contributors


The OpenStack community is seeking contributors and maintainers for Designate, an OpenStack project that provides self-service management of DNS Zones and Recordsets by OpenStack end users.

Contributors will help find and fix bugs, develop new features, and help maintain the quality of the project, including cross-project initiatives. Designate is quite stable, with any new features requiring long term planning, design, and phased implementation.

Business Case

Sponsorship of contributors to Designate presents a great opportunity for an organization to gain in-house familiarity with large scale, self-service DNS as a service as an alternative to complex ticket based workflows for DNS updates.

Additionally, organizations with in-house DNS expertise can bring it to bear on the challenges of the upstream project and thereby gain exposure to, and establish a reputation with, the OpenStack development community and the OpenStack operator community, as well as other organizations who distribute or use OpenStack downstream.

And of course contributors to the project have a seat at the table as decisions are made about future Designate feature development, priorities, and the like.

Designate welcomes everyone, from someone starting in the community to senior contributors 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.

Technical Details

DNS is of course fundamental in gracefully directing users and applications to services. Designate is a service that manages DNS Zones and Recordsets and the provides end users self-service management of these. Designate is vital for any network or web-based application in a self-service infrastructure cloud.


Designate allows the flexibility to replace underlying hardware while presenting consumers with a consistent endpoint with an abstraction layer over a wide range of drivers for various DNS servers and providers. This allows deployers to integrate Designate into pre-existing DNS infrastructures.


Self-serviceability is a core tenet of OpenStack technical vision. Designate helps OpenStack clouds adhere to that principle by exposing DNS functionality directly to end-users. Designate allows cloud operators to delegate the control of DNS zones to end users, to avoid complex ticket based workflows for DNS updates.

User Experience

When end users are building applications in a cloud native way, relying on external tooling to provision DNS entries adds complexity. With the advancement of IPv6, services required to have DNS entries, to avoid application user confusion.

Designate adds an important part of the value add for cloud infrastructure, and ensures that OpenStack has feature parity with other cloud providers.


Designate integrates with many other tools to allow for zero touch management of DNS Zones and Records. The integration with neutron allows admins to have PTR records (for reverse DNS lookups) managed for Floating IP ranges, without giving direct privileged access to the reverse zone to users.

Tools like letsencrypt certbot allow for auto provisioning of SSL certs using DNS-01 validation, while tools like Heat, Terraform and Ansible allow for the provisioning of DNS Zones and Records to be integrated into pre-existing workflows for applications.

Kubernetes external-dns support adds simple annotation based DNS management for applications running in kubernetes clusters with load balancers or ingress support.


The OpenStack community continues to evolve, and this evolution requires large cross-project initiatives. Furthermore, users and operators expect consistency across the OpenStack platform. Examples from recent history include OpenStack-wide support for Python 3 and easing operator pain by moving policy configuration into code. Ensuring Designate stays up-to-date with these initiatives is imperative in reducing operational costs, complexity, and user frustration.


Please join the Designate IRC channel (#openstack-dns on Freenode) or follow up on the OpenStack-discuss mailing list using the [designate] tag in the subject line.