Service Flavor Framework

This specification details a framework to enable Operators to configure and Users to select from different abstract representations of a service implementation in Neutron. The representation decouples the logical configuration from its instantiation allowing support of multiple possible implementations to coexist. Decoupling also enables Operators to create user options according to deployment needs. This proposal does not require any significant driver integration to implement.

Problem Description

The service provider framework allows services to be backed by multiple drivers; however there are several limitations with the current approach. The limitations include:

  • Operators cannot modify the deployment without user knowledge.
  • Operators cannot easily configure different service levels for same driver.
  • Operators cannot transparently deploy a service in multi-vendor environment.
  • Operators cannot easily reschedule service to another backend.
  • Operators cannot influence the scheduling during backend selection.
  • Users must be aware of the driver implementing the service.
  • Vendors cannot differentiate.
  • Extensions cannot be easily exposed to the user via REST API.

Proposed Change

The proposed solution is to introduce two new logical entities exposed via the REST API to decouple the logical configuration from the backend implementation. The first entity is called Flavor and is an operator curated description of the backend implementation. Flavor’s attributes include id, name, extension list, service, service profiles, selection algorithm and enabled flag. The extension list is used to enable additional REST API functionality for logical configurations associated with the flavor. An example would be enabling TLS and/or L7 for load balancing. Users are allowed to query and view the public attributes of the flavor. The selection algorithm determines the service profile and the driver schedules the instance to the backend.

The second entity is Service Profile which has attributes of id, name, entry point, driver initialization metadata and enabled flag. The Service Profile enables an operator to associate the driver entrypoint with metadata necessary to initialize the driver. A benefit of metadata is that the same driver may back different flavors definitions. Multiple service profiles may be associated with the same flavor to enable multi-vendor/multi-driver environments.

This extension will introduce a new RPC method in the core server. The method will handle scheduling the logical instance onto the backend. Scheduling will involve binding the logical configuration to a backend with capacity. Once scheduled, the plugin will directly dispatch calls to the driver. The scheduling method implementation will be intentionally kept simple to enable this work to be completed within the cycle. Future work may include a more advanced scheduler by incorporating Gantt (a project to make the Nova scheduler available to other OpenStack components) and/or developing a method for backends to express load/capacity. Auto-rescheduling and instance health monitoring are outside the scope of this change and are the responsibility of the driver. Operators also retain control over cost and scheduling via their selection of the service profiles.

While flavors and service profiles could be stored in configuration files, this spec proposes to store the entities in the database. Storage in a relational database ensures atomicity and consistency across neutron servers and workers by avoiding configuration deployment races. Additionally, an operator may add/update/delete flavors without system downtime. (Note: Flavor and service profiles may not be changed or removed if in use).

User Workflow
Users will query for a list of enabled flavors filtered by service. The user will then create the logical entity for the service passing the flavor id. The user workflow will be unchanged after this time. If a flavor is selected with multiple service profiles, the profile is selected via a weighted random algorithm (see below.)
Admin Workflow
An admin knowing the hardware/software versions within the deployment will create flavors to offer. The operator will choose the extensions that a flavor will support and ensure the appropriate service profiles are associated.

Future work includes tenant specific flavors and advanced scheduling (integration into Gantt project and/or filters).

This proposal enables vendor differentiation since flavor definitions may include vendor API extensions that the operator may choose to enable.

Data Model Impact

Two new logical models will be added to the database.

id: uuid name: string description: text service: LOADBALANCER, VPN, FIREWALL, L3_ROUTER, etc supported_extensions: comma separated value string selection_algorithm: Enum(random, available, least_used) service_profiles: [(uuid list, weight)] (JSON list) enabled: boolean
Service Profile
id: uuid description: text driver: string metainfo: string(json encoded dict) enabled: boolean

The existing provider attribute will be changed to service_profile_id and used to associate the root of the service’s logical model with the profile.


The new logical models will be exposed via the API. The logical model CRUD operations will only be exposed to administrators with the exception of read operations on Flavor. All users will be able to query and get the details on a single flavor with a limited set of attributes (id, name, description, service and service extensions). Additionally, one administrative action will be added to each service: reschedule(id). This action will enable an operator to force the system to reschedule the backend for a logical service.

FLAVORS (/flavors):

Attribute Name Type Access Default Value Validation/ Conversion Description
id string (UUID) RO, all RW, admin generated N/A identity
name string RO, all RW, admin ‘’ string human-readable name
description string RO, all RW, admin ‘’ string human-readable description
service string RO, all RW, admin ‘’ string token mapping flavor to svc
service_profiles list RO, all RW, admin [] json list driver mapping with weight
supported_extensions string RO, all RW, admin ‘’ string available api extensions
selection_algorithm enum RO, all RW, admin random see model how to select profile
enabled bool RO, all RW, admin true bool toggle

SERVICE_PROFILES (/service_profiles):

Attribute Name Type Access Default Value Validation/ Conversion Description
id string (UUID) RO, all RW, admin generated N/A identity
description string RO, all RW, admin ‘’ string human-readable description
driver string RO, all RW, admin ‘’ string python module path to driver
metainfo string RO, all RW, admin ‘’ json string meta data
enabled bool RO, all RW, admin true bool toggle

Security Impact

The policy.json will be updated to allow all users to query the flavor listing and requst details about a specific flavor entry. All other REST points for create/update/delete operations will admin only. Additionally, the CRUD operations for Service Profiles will be restricted to administrators.

Notifications Impact

The content of current notifications will change minimally to add a new flavor attribute. This attribute will be used for applications such as billing and can be captured by Ceilometer. The provider attribute will be retained for operators that wish to track the user’s flavor and backend.

Other End User Impact


Performance Impact

There will be a minimal overhead incurred when the logical representation is scheduled onto the actual backend. Once the backend is selected, direct communications will occur via driver calls.

IPv6 Impact


Other Deployer Impact

The deployer will need to craft flavor configurations that they wish to expose to their users. During migration the existing provider configurations will be converted into basic flavor types. Once migrated, the deployer will have the opportunity to modify the flavor definitions.

Developer Impact

The expected developer impact should be minimal as the framework only impacts the initial scheduling of the logical service onto a backend. The driver implementations should remain unchanged except for the addition of the capacity call.

Community Impact

This proposal allows operators to offer services beyond those directly implemented, and to do so in a way that does not increase community maintenance or burden.


Keep doing nothing.



Doug Wiegley (original spec and code by markmcclain and enikanorov)

Work Items

  • Implement the new models
  • Implement the REST API Extension (including tests)
  • Implement the scheduling RPC call.
  • Add support for flavors to LBaaS, VPNaaS, and FWaaS APIs.
  • Implementation migration script for existing deployments.
  • Ensure notifications for Ceilometer are available.
  • Add client API support


No dependencies on other work. It should be noted that many other items depend on flavors.


Tempest Tests

Tempest testing including new API and scenario tests to validate new entities.

Functional Tests

Functional testing is being excluded from this change because this API does not directly alter the data path. (Elements that alter the datapath are covered by other functional test).

API Tests

The new API will be tested.

Documentation Impact

User Documentation

User documentation will need be included to describe to users how to use flavors when building their logical topology. Operator documentation will need to be created to detail how to manage Flavors and Service Profiles.

Developer Documentation

Additionally, documentation of the new REST endpoints will need to be included in the Networking API description.