Monitoring for an OpenStack-Ansible deployment

date:2017-02-21 00:00
tags:monitoring, operations

Blueprint on Launchpad:

The goal of the efforts described in this spec is to provide an easy method for monitoring an OpenStack cloud. This would initially include basic service state monitoring with extra functionality added as it matures.

Problem description

OpenStack clouds are complex systems of hardware, software, and networks. Deployers need to monitor the health of all of these components to ensure that end users have access to resources. OpenStack-Ansible does not offer any components for monitoring at this time, and this forces deployers to build their own monitoring plugins and tool stacks.

Deployers and operators need to know:

  • Are my OpenStack services up or down?
  • Are my additional services (Galera, RabbitMQ, etc) up or down?
  • What is the state of cluster partitions for Galera and RabbitMQ?
  • Are my APIs responding within a reasonable time period?
  • Are my management and tenant networks accessible?
  • Is the hardware underneath my cloud operating normally?

Proposed change

The proposed changes fall into two main buckets:

Monitoring plugins

This is the primary work effort for the spec.

Deployers need a solid set of monitoring plugins that gather information from various services or entities, and those plugins should output data in common formats for the most popular monitoring tool stacks.

Monitoring tool stack

This is the secondary work effort for the spec.

There are many open source and commercially available monitoring tool stacks available for Linux. Deployers should have the option to deploy an opinionated tool stack via Ansible if they don’t have one of their own already. The tool stack should offer up its time series data for searching and also have an alerting mechanism that can hook into a deployer’s existing notification tools.


There are loose collections of monitoring plugins available within OpenStack, but those plugins aren’t being actively maintained. Many of the other plugin sets available today only output their data in a specific format. Deployers could choose to use these plugins instead.

Deployers could also deploy their own monitoring tool stacks if needed. They could use the monitoring plugins created in this spec with their existing tools.

Playbook/Role impact

The monitoring plugins should be installable via pip and they can be added into existing roles or playbooks (perhaps the openstack-ansible-openstack_hosts role). The plugins themselves should be released independently of an OpenStack release.

The monitoring tool stack would be implemented in a new role with an additional playbook. The role that deploys this stack would be versioned along with OpenStack-Ansible releases so that it can utilize the existing variables and modules from each release.

Upgrade impact

This would be the first implementation of monitoring plugins and tools in OpenStack-Ansible, so there is no upgrade concern at the moment. However, the plugins and tool stack installation should be written such that upgrades are reliable.

Security impact

Some monitoring plugins will need some level of privileged access to OpenStack services or the other services running in the cloud. This requires accounts to be created and new secrets to be stored. It is possible to use accounts that have fewer privileges so that a compromise of a monitoring plugin would have a limited security impact.

The monitoring tool stack itself has important security concerns to address. Data from the monitoring plugins running on each host or container must be able to reach a centralized database for storage and processing. Access to any web frontends or databases should be handled carefully, just as we do for Horizon or Galera today.

Performance impact

Some monitoring plugins will need to make requests to OpenStack APIs or access certain other services. These plugins must be written carefully to avoid negative performance impacts on the system.

End user impact

End users should not notice the changes from this work.

However, they should get a better user experience if the environment is closely monitored and operations teams have access to valuable performance data.

Deployer impact

The monitoring plugins should be distributed as a pip package, so this should have a small impact on deployers. Some plugins will need accounts on the system, so deployers will need to create additional secrets for those accounts.

Deployers would have the option to deploy the monitoring tool stack if they do not have one of their own.

Developer impact

The developer impact from these changes is very low. The monitoring plugins should be easy to use and heavily tested. Developers should be able to modify existing plugins and create new ones with ease.


There are no dependencies.



Primary assignee:
Major Hayden (mhayden)
Other contributors:
Kevin Carter (cloudnull) Antony Messerli (antonym)

Work items

  1. Write a small class that can be extended for new monitoring plugins.
  2. Begin writing monitoring plugins that are executable via setuptools entry points.
  3. Ensure that tests are available for each plugin as well as the base class.
  4. Create a role to deploy a monitoring tool stack that uses these plugins.
  5. Document the plugins and the tool stack.


The monitoring plugins should be tested on each commit using tox.

The monitoring tool stack role should be tested independently (like the other IRR repos) and added to the integrated build as an optional component.

Documentation impact

The plugins should be documented and there should be developer guides that explain how to modify existing plugins or add new ones. The monitoring tool stack role will need documentation that explains the new variables and functionality available.


Notes from the OpenStack PTG in Atlanta (Feb 2017):