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Shaken Fist, an open cloud aimed at small and edge deployments

Shaken Fist is a deliberately opinionated cloud intended for small deployments. We spend a lot of time trying to do the simplest possible thing well, and keep our resource usage on idle deployments as low as possible. Shaken Fist has progressed from being a proof of concept to being a functional cloud, although the release numbers being below zero indicates that we are still stabilizing the REST API and that breaking changes might occur. 1.0 will be released when we are relatively sure of stability going forwards.

Shaken Fist started a personal research project, but has grown into something which is starting to see wider contributions and some small commercial deployments.

The underlying idea

Originally Shaken Fist came about as a reaction to the increasing complexity of OpenStack, as well as a desire to experiment with alternative approaches to solving the problems that OpenStack Compute addresses. What I really wanted was a simple API to orchestrate virtual machines, but it needed to run with minimal resource overhead and be simple to deploy. I also wanted it to always work in a predictable way.

One of the reasons OpenStack is so complicated and its behaviour varies is because it has many options to configure. The solution seemed obvious to me -- a cloud that is super opinionated. For each different functional requirement there is one option, and the simplest option is chosen where possible. Read on for some examples.

Development choices

If there is an existing library which does a thing, we use it. OpenStack suffered from being old (and having issues with re-writes being hard), as well as licensing constraints. We just use the code that others have provided to the community. Always.

Deployment choices

libvirt is the only supported hypervisor. Instances are specified to libvirt with simple templated XML. If your local requirements are different to what's in the template, you're welcome to change the template to meet your needs. If your template changes break things, you're also welcome to debug what went wrong for yourself.

"I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter"

First off, we don't have a newsletter. That said, updates will be announced here as they happen. What we do have is useful links:

  • The Shaken Fist repository is where the code for the server is, including the deployer. Its a good place to start.

  • There is also the python client repository contains the python API client, as well as the command line client that users and shell scripts use to interact with Shaken Fist.

What is Shaken Fist? Can I help?

The Shaken Fist Manifesto is our general conceptual starting point, but apart from that just reach out and have a chat.