Three Essential OpenStack Deployment and Validation Tools

by Ostatic Staff - Jan. 16, 2015

As predicted, 2015 is turning out to be the year when many IT departments are moving from evaluation stage to deployment stage for OpenStack cloud instances.

What many first-time OpenStack users don't realize though, is that numerous tools have been developed in tandem with OpenStack to ease the process of testing and overall orchestration. In this post, you'll find three essential examples of these to know about.

Heat.  Heat is an OpenStack orchestration project, and according to its project wiki: "The mission of the OpenStack Orchestration program is to create a human- and machine-accessible service for managing the entire lifecycle of infrastructure and applications within OpenStack clouds. Heat is the main project in the OpenStack Orchestration program. It implements an orchestration engine to launch multiple composite cloud applications based on templates in the form of text files that can be treated like code. A native Heat template format is evolving, but Heat also endeavours to provide compatibility with the AWS CloudFormation template format, so that many existing CloudFormation templates can be launched on OpenStack. Heat provides both an OpenStack-native ReST API and a CloudFormation-compatible Query API."

You can find many good online guides to using Heat. Arthur Berezin takes you through the essentials in his guide to getting started with Heat, which covers running it from the command line, using it with applications and much more.

Tempest. Tempest is a set of integration tests to be run against a live OpenStack cluster. Tempest has batteries of tests for OpenStack API validation, Scenarios, and other specific tests useful in validating an OpenStack deployment. It can be run against any OpenStack cloud, be it a one node devstack install, a 20 node lxc cloud, or a 1000 node kvm cloud. You can find lots of online guides on using Tempest. 

Rally. Some people find Tempest to be a complex tool, and there is a project that helps demystify it: Rally, a project that creates a framework for validating, performance testing and benchmarking OpenStack at scale with Tempest.  Mirantis has an excellent set of resources on Rally.

In this one, the Mirantis team notes: "Rally automatically installs and configures Tempest, and automates running Tempest tests. In contrast to Tempest, which is installed and executed individually on each cluster, Rally can verify a huge number of clouds — just add clouds as deployments to Rally, then easily switch between them. Rally’s benchmarking engine can automatically perform tests under simulated user loads. Results of these tests and benchmarks are saved in Rally’s database. You can review them."

Hopefully, these tools can make your use of OpenStack easier and more trusted. For many more resources of interest, has a brand new guide to deployment resources, found here, and you can check out our roundup of OpenStack training resources here