Service Catalog Standardization

The service catalog offers cloud consumers an initial view to all the available services in an OpenStack cloud along with additional information about regions, API versions, and projects available. This catalog is to help make it easy to efficiently find information about the services, such as how to configure communications between services. But the catalog is also terribly underused, under documented, and inconsistently configured among most services. By standardizing the service catalog we can provide a better user experience with OpenStack.

Problem description

The service catalog might be the first interaction a user has with an OpenStack cloud to understand what the cloud offers in services and resources. That interaction can be confusing, inconsistent between cloud providers, and contain names and numbers that are mysterious and need decoding.

Providers making a service catalog might not think about consumers who see multiple service catalogs in a single week.

The API Working Group did some initial fact finding about the varieties of service catalogs available, and discovered just how varied the catalog can be. See

As an example of the inconsistency, cloud providers have filled in the “name” object as all three: “nova”, “cloudServersOpenStack” and “Compute”.

Such a diverse service catalog means that services don’t depend on it being consistent, SDK devs don’t completely understand it, and it requires applications to encode cloud-specific behavior.

Here are some concrete examples of information that must be encoded because it cannot be determined from the service catalog.

For example, a nova.conf file has to indicate exact URLs for many API endpoints:

api_servers =
url =

Ideally, rather than hardcoding these URL/port values in configuration files, the service catalog could provide discoverability for those.

Another example, the catalog_info = volume:cinder:publicURL in nova.conf is a configuration setting to set the info to match when looking for cinder in the service catalog. Format is separated values of the form:


There’s also an endpoint_template nova.conf variable that overrides the service catalog lookup with template for cinder endpoint, such as http://localhost:8776/v1/%(project_id)s.

While we are working through many of these issues, we are ensuring that projects understand that user experience includes consistency, discoverability, and simplicity as design tenets for service catalog incremental improvements.

A Vision of the Ideal Service Catalog

The following is a vision of where we want to get to with the service catalog in OpenStack.

  1. Querying type=’volume’ in any service catalog on any cloud returns an unversioned URL for that service. This is a contract we can depend on.

  2. All OpenStack server components find the operational urls for other OpenStack services with the catalog.

  3. The service types used in the catalog, such as volume or compute, defined in server components. This definition ensures that standardization propagates, as clouds will not work if their service catalog is not defined correctly.

  4. There are Tempest tests for standard service catalog, and it’s a DefCore requirement that standard service catalog entries are defined.

Proposed change

What we want to solve for:

  • Standard required naming for endpoints (versioned vs. unversioned, contains project ID vs. no project ID).

    • We want unversioned endpoints so that the user can get information about multiple available versions in a given cloud.

    • We do not want project ID, account ID, or tenant ID as part of the resource URI for an OpenStack API endpoint.

    • Standard naming means all consumers, including other OpenStack services, can trust what the value of type=’volume’ will be.

  • List of changes needed in existing clouds/products to comply with this.

    • We want DevStack to follow these standards as the best practice example.

    • We want to use JSON Schema to define the API for the service catalog to ensure understanding and compliance.

    • JSON Schema must allow for “extra” data so that we can continue with name, and vendor-specific “Extra” things during the transition(s).

    • Known types such as service_type can be documented in projects.yaml in the openstack/governance git repository.

  • List of changes in OpenStack projects that would rely on this standard, thus making sure we’ve got it right.

  • Published guidelines we recommend that DefCore requires of cloud provider’s service catalogs going forward. These guidelines can be created in the API Working Group set of guidelines.

  • Documentation for all new projects to comply with the service catalog standards defined by the guidelines.

Top difficulties with the service catalog for SDK devs are currently:

  • Name and type are meaningless, misunderstood, and poorly documented.

  • Regions are not consistently named or used. The way regions are structured are a pain for SDKs, because it requires a lot of traversing. Encourage clear provider documentation and guidance for this naming.

  • The versions in URLs are inconsistent (see what we want to solve for above).

  • The tying between auth and getting a service catalog seems unnecessary. See roles example above. A user should be able to get a list of all the services and endpoints in a single, preferably unauthenticated, call.

Documentation can improve some of the difficulties. Standards and guidelines should be published from within the Cloud Admin Guide, the Installation Guides, and the Identity service (keystone) developer documentation.

The list of changes is gathered here:

  • Ensure each service’s API has a version request (current standard is a GET call to /). However, keystoneauths’s session can’t use that to discover versions because the URL returned by the Identity service for another configured service is the versioned endpoint. The version is embedded in the URL. We should have the Identity service discover version number with each services’ API itself.

  • Remove project_id template from endpoints, acknowledging that future clients will have to account for this change.

  • Ensure DevStack examples are consistent and can be used as an exemplary best practice.

  • Ensure Tempest works with new catalog.

  • Write a tempest test that uses JSON Schema for the service catalog.

  • Provide the standard project and service names in the governance repository through the projects.yaml file. However, enable flexibility in the “name” for providers to offer multiple services.

  • Cause project’s interactions with the service catalog to be standard so that for example, the nova project does not need three configuration variables to specify how nova can interact with the cinder service catalog entries.

  • Ensure that the publicURL, adminURL, and internalURL have known use cases. Work with the operator community to understand whether those can be consolidated when presenting the catalog to an end user.


What happens currently is DevStack’s configuration becomes a de facto standard for endpoint URL naming, which then indicates both the name and type standard.



Anne Gentle annegentle Augustina Ragwitz Sean Dague sdague Dolph Matthews dolphm

Work Items

Create a guideline in the API Working Group repository for service types, names, endpoint URLs, and configuration for cloud providers creating service catalog entries.

Create a JSON Schema for the service catalog, to be stored as a tempest test, so that the refstack repo can make use of it. Tempest tests can check for valid entries. So the Identity project won’t enforce the list, rather a test in Tempest can enforce for interoperability. The test will check each entry based on JSON Schema, such as:

  • existence of service_type: required

  • value type of service_type: string (reference for value from governance/projects.yaml file)

  • extra data: acceptable because of the need for transition for providers

DevStack should be the reference implementation for best practices in service catalog entries.

Create a conceptual topic about the service catalog using as a starting point.




Release Name





This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.