Check out how Archana got started working with the OpenStack Manila project as part of her Outreachy internship.


Open source projects can only be as strong as their community.

The open source community is made up of a diverse group of individuals all at different experience levels. The Students of OpenInfra Series takes a look into universities and their approach at teaching open source in their curriculum.

Archana completed her Bachelor’s of Technology in Computer Science and Engineering in 2020. Recently, she started her journey in the open source world with Outreachy. Some of her previous achievements consist of Google Udacity Frontend Developer Nanodegree Scholarship, participation in Google Get Ahead program, and being a two-time GHC Scholarship Reviewer. she has been part of some technical communities in the past 2 years like Grace Hopper Conference, GirlScript Organisation, Crio. Do as a Developer Advocate, and SHEROES Organisation to create impact. She is interested in product engineering, web performance, community building, user experience, and blogging. When not working, Archana is studying relevant things, reading books, or cook food to calm her mind when exhausted.

Check out how Archana got started working with the OpenStack Manila project.

What Open Infrastructure project are you working with and what made you interested in that project, as opposed to some of the other options?

I am working on the OpenStack Manila UI (i.e. OpenStack Dashboard (Horizon) plugin) for the OpenStack Manila project. My interest in choosing this project is because of the term “cloud”. As we all know, everything is moving to the cloud and this is the future. The data which are already present to the cloud, we need to organize it in a best-optimized way to avoid any complexities in the future.

I always wanted to start my career in cloud computing or to work with an organization that works on clouds. So, when I got to interact with OpenStack I found out that this is a software package that builds a public and private cloud platform, and as we know that they are building Manila. A little about Manila here: Manila is for providing shared file systems as a service and this is a component-based architecture. It also provides file storage to a virtual machine and infrastructure for managing and provisioning file shares.

In the end, I found out that OpenStack is open source so without thinking much, I got excited and said “yes” to this project, because my passion for working in the cloud computing platform closely matched the mission of OpenStack, which is to produce a ubiquitous open-source cloud computing platform that is easy to use, and meets the needs of users and operators of both public and private clouds.

How did you get started?

To figure out something and work on a real problem is what I find interesting. Everyone wants to migrate their infrastructure to the cloud because of its advantages such as greater elasticity, self-service provisioning, redundancy, and flexibility; and as we know, storage is the key part or we can say `heart of the cloud`. It should be secured, robust and scalable. So, I found OpenStack’s vision to provide an open source platform to build and manage private and public clouds. IaaS(Infrastructure as a service) A scalable and robust platform.

I found that this would be the best opportunity for me to get into cloud computing or work with such a reputed open source project. Also, getting the opportunity to work on such technologies which match my passion was a unique part. Here I have the best team from all around the world.

In terms of my project contributions, it all got started by working on fixing a minor bug on the openstack/python-manilaclient project. In this, we want to add a waiter(a flag), that makes the work easier for the user(parallel tasking). This can be used when the user wants to wait until the operation is completed else this operation runs in the background.

What was the hardest part about getting started?

The hardest part of getting started was finding an open source organization to work on their projects which closely matched my passion. When I found this and got into the Outreachy Internship Program, the challenging part about getting started was to set up the whole development environment for OpenStack with Devstack. The whole process seemed to be tough in the beginning, but thanks to Victoria Martinez de la Cruz, who helped me in this, it was manageable. This was also my first project with such a large codebase, so making myself familiar was a bit challenging.

What could have made the getting started process easier?

The getting started process could have been easier if I could have found out some resources related to it. Some introductory sessions related to virtual machines could have helped me better to understand the process.

But, during this process, I found my mentor Victoria alongside me. She helped in the setting-up of the whole development environment. During this challenging process, I got to know about this Vexxhost platform which provides services from shared hosting to VPS. It helped me in getting a Virtual Machine on the cloud.

How have you contributed to the community?

I made my contribution to the Manila project as an Outreachy intern. I have started my contribution by working on an issue which was to add a waiter to the command in the openstack/python-manilaclient project. It is a library we use to connect an application with Manila. I did my contribution to this issue by working on adding a flag here which users can use to do concurrent tasks. Recently, I have participated in the Manila Bug Squash Event by contributing to a Manila bug fix. The goal of this event is to get together and come up with a list of bugs that need squashing.

These are the contributions I have done so far, however, there are many more contributions that will be coming from my side to the OpenStack projects. I’m so excited about this new beginning.

What’s the biggest benefit from your involvement? 

  • Building new connections
  • Learning new technologies
  • Working with a team on open source projects
  • Enhancing my communication skills.

What advice do you have for students who want to get started with open source?

Open source is just like a new house. If you want to get in, you need to knock on the door. You don’t know what you might be offered something which can improve your career a little or a lot in one or another way. The next step would be to pick someone or join communities from there to help you in getting started. There are so many communities and contributors out there who are always happy to help newbies in the open-source world. Once you get in, read about the project documentation, explore and join IRC. Reach out to mentors or community members to start with any beginner-friendly issues.

If you want to start with open source you can’t stay silent here, you need to talk out loud and make use of IRC 🙂

More about Archana’s contributions.

Interested in learning more about Archana’s internship with Outreachy, check out her blog.

Find Archana Kumari on LinkedIn and Twitter.