Henrik Rosendahl, CEO of Akanda, introduces OpenStack’s newest project, an open-source network orchestration platform built by OpenStack operators for OpenStack clouds.


Astara provides OpenStack operators with a vendor-agnostic network orchestration platform that addresses the complex nature and scale of Neutron implementations. Astara features a driver-based orchestrator to manage network functions from different providers on bare metal, in virtual machines (VMs) and containers.

Project Astara – formerly Akanda – has been an open source project for three years originating from DreamHost with the core development work done by key contributors to OpenStack Neutron. The first supported release was made available in May 2015, with the second release slated for availability at the OpenStack Summit Tokyo in late October.

About Astara

The Astara project aims to provide an integrated network service orchestration for connecting and security multi-tenant OpenStack environments. Astara provides deployer-configurable, multi-provider orchestration for Layer-3 through 7 network services (e.g. load balancing, routing).

Astara (formerly called Akanda) was designed from the beginning to integrate with OpenStack and further OpenStack’s mission. Astara features a driver-based orchestrator to orchestrate network functions from different providers on bare metal, VMs and containers. All core members have served the OpenStack community in many ways such as project team leads (PTLs) as part of Stable Release management and as critical third-party library maintainers. Astara has been open source and in production since Grizzly.

Why is there a project name change?

The Astara team choose to select a new name to create a clear distinction between entities providing commercial services and the project itself. The new name was selected to further our original intent in placing this project under governance — a team open to all contributors.

Why a separate project?

The Astara team has chosen to seek status outside of Neutron because the scope of the team will be more than the typical Neutron plugin/driver. The existing repos within Neutron normally require code from external sources to provide the implementation. Astara is different since the implementation will be managed within the repo using the four opens.

Does Astara overlap with existing projects?

Astara implements network specific orchestration for logical resources managed by tenants via the Neutron API, so it is natural for overlap to exist with other implementations that provide load balancing, routing and/or VPN.

Astara is different from other projects currently under the OpenStack namespace because it supports orchestrating a mix of Layer-3 through 7 network functions via baremetal, VMs and containers from within a single service. Where possible we’ve reached out to other projects to share code, exchange ideas and explore joint development.

What about Akanda?

Akanda will continue to provide development resources to the project, along with commercial subscriptions and enterprise support to customers and partners.

OpenStack Mission Alignment:

The Astara project as outlined here, is closely aligned with the OpenStack mission of supporting public and private clouds while being easy to implement and massively scalable. Astara has been running production for over three years.

Following the four opens:

Open Source:

  • Astara uses the open source Apache v2.0 license. Astara does not have any library dependencies that would restrict how the projects may be distributed or deployed.

Open Community:

  • The Astara leadership is chosen by the contributors of the project. The current PTL is Adam Gandelman (adam_g). The Astara project has regular IRC meetings https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/Meetings/akanda and everything is logged http://eavesdrop.openstack.org/meetings/akanda

Open Development:

  • All code reviews are through the [OpenStack infra CI](https://review.openstack.org/#/q/status:open+project:stackforge/akanda-appliance+OR+project:stackforge/akanda-appliance+OR+project:stackforge/akanda-rug+OR+project:stackforge/akanda-horizon+OR+project:stackforge/akanda-neutron,n,z)
  • Astara has core reviewers https://review.openstack.org/#/admin/groups/682, members and gate tests.
  • The Astara PTL acts as the liaison for cross-project teams
  • Astara collaborates with the OpenStack projects Oslo and Neutron.
  • Astara will contribute to Oslo as the opportunities arise.

Open Design:

  • Astara started holding public design meetings at the Kilo summit and will continue to do so.
  • The Astara team uses IRC and openstack-dev ML to discuss design

Basic OpenStack Project Interoperability:

  • Astara is compatible with OpenStack project APIs and reuses Oslo.

Astara has an active group of contributors:

  • http://stackalytics.com/report/contribution/akanda/180
  • http://stackalytics.com/report/contribution/akanda-rug/180
  • http://stackalytics.com/report/contribution/akanda-appliance/180
  • http://stackalytics.com/report/contribution/akanda-horizon/180
  • http://stackalytics.com/report/contribution/akanda-neutron/180

This material first appeared on Akanda’s blog, here’s the press release and the FAQ.
Cover Photo // CC BY NC