I think the situation described by Doug is what most OpenStack newcomers
are facing. TBH, the company I work for(Catalyst IT Ltd, a NZ based open
source company) run into the same challenge, so we had to cook something
in our kitchen and are currently running it for our cloud service. The
difference is we created it as a 'Rating' instead of 'Billing' system,
since we understand that most companies already have something in place
as the ^real^ billing system (in our case OpenERP).

We see this rating project as bridge between Ceilometer and whatever
systems people are using to do the billing/invoicing. All the commercial
sensitive information and business rules are kept in the billing system
(for example: OpenERP). The rating project only raises the 'sales orders
/ bills / invoices' based on the usage reported by Ceilometer on a given
period. In our case this back-end is pluggable, allowing organizations
to integrate with their existing ERP systems or even generate invoices
in the form spreadsheets if they don't have one.

Anyway, I believe there is a real requirement for a rating system in
OpenStack, no? Consider these projects [1][2][3][4] and
cyclops/cloudkitty mentioned in this loop. And I would like to refer the
charts presented by Nicolas Barcet about Ceilometer [5], which defined
something like below. Obviously, there is still a gap for rating at
least(after almost 2 years), which can be an independent service or an
advanced plugin/service of Ceilometer (like LBaaS for Neutron, depending
on the scope).


*Metering* -- Collect usage data

*Rating* -- Transform usage data into billable items and calculate costs

*Billing* -- Create invoice, collect payment

So it seems the question is changing from '/do users need a rating
system?/' to '/Would OpenStack benefit from having an out-of-box rating
project?/'. I would say yes, why not. More and more companies are trying
to leverage OpenStack as a public/private cloud solution and charge
their customers, so it would be great if there is an out-of-box rating
solution from OpenStack community. Besides, like Eoghan suggested, it
would be great to have a rating/billing session in Paris . Before that,
I would like to suggest some regular IRC meetings to discuss this topic
to work out the goal, scope, key use cases and roadmap.

Our suggestion for the first IRC meeting is 25/August 8PM-10PM UTC time
on Freenodes's #openstack-rating channel.

Thoughts? Please reply with the best date/time for you so we can figure
out a time to start.

Cheers.


[1] Dough https://github.com/lzyeval/dough

[2] trystack.org billing https://github.com/trystack/dash_billing

[3] nova-billing https://github.com/griddynamics/nova-billing

[4] billingstack https://github.com/billingstack

[5]
https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1ytYhQGR5SxoccZ-wuza2n0H2mS7HniP9HoFDUpuGDiM/edit#slide=id.g1f73edb4_0_2


On 09/08/14 06:13, Doug Hellmann wrote:
>
> On Aug 8, 2014, at 3:34 AM, Piyush Harsh <h...@zhaw.ch
> <mailto:h...@zhaw.ch>> wrote:
>
>> Dear Eoghan,
>>
>> Thanks for your comments. Although you are correct that rating,
>> charging, and billing policies are commercially sensitive to the
>> operators, still if an operator has an openstack installation, I do
>> not see why the stack could not offer a service that supports ways
>> for the operator to input desired policies, rules, etc to do charging
>> and billing out of the box. These policies could still only be
>> accessible to the operator.
>
> I think the point was more that most deployers we talked to at the
> beginning of the project already had tools that managed the rates and
> charging, but needed the usage data to feed into those tools. That was
> a while back, though and, as you say, it’s quite possible we have new
> users without similar tools in place, so I’m glad to see a couple of
> groups working on taking billing integration one step further. At the
> very least working with teams building open source consumers of
> ceilometer’s API will help us understand if there are any ways to make
> it easier to use.
>
> Doug
>
>>
>> Furthermore, one could envision that using heat together with some
>> django magic, this could even be offered as a service for tenants of
>> the operators who could be distributors or resellers in his client
>> ecosystem, allowing them to set their own custom policies.
>>
>> I believe such stack based solution would be very much welcome by
>> SMEs, new entrants, etc.
>>
>> I am planning to attend the Kilo summit in Paris, and I would be very
>> glad to talk with you and others on this idea and on Cyclops :)
>>
>> Forking the codebase to stackforge is something which is definitely
>> possible and thanks a lot for suggesting it.
>>
>> Looking forward to more constructive discussions on this with you and
>> others.
>>
>> Kind regards,
>> Piyush.
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________
>> Dr. Piyush Harsh, Ph.D.
>> Researcher, InIT Cloud Computing Lab
>> Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW)
>> [Site] http://piyush-harsh.info <http://piyush-harsh.info/>
>> [Research Lab] http://www.cloudcomp.ch/
>> Fax: +41(0)58.935.7403 GPG Keyid: 9C5A8838
>>
>>
>> On Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 12:01 AM, Eoghan Glynn <egl...@redhat.com
>> <mailto:egl...@redhat.com>> wrote:
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>     > Dear All,
>>     >
>>     > Let me use my first post to this list to introduce Cyclops and
>>     initiate a
>>     > discussion towards possibility of this platform as a future
>>     incubated
>>     > project in OpenStack.
>>     >
>>     > We at Zurich university of Applied Sciences have a python
>>     project in open
>>     > source (Apache 2 Licensing) that aims to provide a platform to do
>>     > rating-charging-billing over ceilometer. We call is Cyclops (A
>>     Charging
>>     > platform for OPenStack CLouds).
>>     >
>>     > The initial proof of concept code can be accessed here:
>>     > https://github.com/icclab/cyclops-web &
>>     > https://github.com/icclab/cyclops-tmanager
>>     >
>>     > Disclaimer: This is not the best code out there, but will be
>>     refined and
>>     > documented properly very soon!
>>     >
>>     > A demo video from really early days of the project is here:
>>     > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIwwVxqCio0 and since this
>>     video was made,
>>     > several bug fixes and features were added.
>>     >
>>     > The idea presentation was done at Swiss Open Cloud Day at Bern
>>     and the talk
>>     > slides can be accessed here:
>>     > http://piyush-harsh.info/content/ocd-bern2014.pdf , and more
>>     recently the
>>     > research paper on the idea was published in 2014 World Congress
>>     in Computer
>>     > Science (Las Vegas), which can be accessed here:
>>     > http://piyush-harsh.info/content/GCA2014-rcb.pdf
>>     >
>>     > I was wondering, if our effort is something that OpenStack
>>     > Ceilometer/Telemetry release team would be interested in?
>>     >
>>     > I do understand that initially rating-charging-billing service
>>     may have been
>>     > left out by choice as they would need to be tightly coupled
>>     with existing
>>     > CRM/Billing systems, but Cyclops design (intended) is
>>     distributed, service
>>     > oriented architecture with each component allowing for possible
>>     integration
>>     > with external software via REST APIs. And therefore Cyclops by
>>     design is
>>     > CRM/Billing platform agnostic. Although Cyclops PoC
>>     implementation does
>>     > include a basic bill generation module.
>>     >
>>     > We in our team are committed to this development effort and we
>>     will have
>>     > resources (interns, students, researchers) work on features and
>>     improve the
>>     > code-base for a foreseeable number of years to come.
>>     >
>>     > Do you see a chance if our efforts could make in as an
>>     incubated project in
>>     > OpenStack within Ceilometer?
>>
>>     Hi Piyush,
>>
>>     Thanks for bringing this up!
>>
>>     I should preface my remarks by setting out a little OpenStack
>>     history, in terms of the original decision not to include the
>>     rating and billing stages of the pipeline under the ambit of
>>     the ceilometer project.
>>
>>     IIUC, the logic was that such rating/billing policies were very
>>     likely to be:
>>
>>       (a) commercially sensitive for competing cloud operators
>>
>>     and:
>>
>>       (b) already built-out via existing custom/proprietary systems
>>
>>     The folks who were directly involved at the outset of ceilometer
>>     can correct me if I've misrepresented the thinking that pertained
>>     at the time.
>>
>>     While that logic seems to still apply, I would be happy to learn
>>     more about the work you've done already on this, and would be
>>     open to hearing arguments for and against. Are you planning to
>>     attend the Kilo summit in Paris (Nov 3-7)? If so, it would be a
>>     good opportunity to discuss further in person.
>>
>>     In the meantime, stackforge provides a low-bar-to-entry for
>>     projects in the OpenStack ecosystem that may, or may not, end up
>>     as incubated projects or as dependencies taken by graduated
>>     projects. So you might consider moving your code there?
>>
>>     Cheers,
>>     Eoghan
>>
>>
>>
>>     > I really would like to hear back from you, comments,
>>     suggestions, etc.
>>     >
>>     > Kind regards,
>>     > Piyush.
>>     > _______________________________________
>>     > Dr. Piyush Harsh, Ph.D.
>>     > Researcher, InIT Cloud Computing Lab
>>     > Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW)
>>     > [Site] http://piyush-harsh.info <http://piyush-harsh.info/>
>>     > [Research Lab] http://www.cloudcomp.ch/
>>     > Fax: +41(0)58.935.7403 <tel:%2B41%280%2958.935.7403> GPG Keyid:
>>     9C5A8838
>>     >
>>     > _______________________________________________
>>     > OpenStack-dev mailing list
>>     > OpenStack-dev@lists.openstack.org
>>     <mailto:OpenStack-dev@lists.openstack.org>
>>     > http://lists.openstack.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/openstack-dev
>>     >
>>
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-- 
Cheers & Best regards,
Fei Long Wang (王飞龙)
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Senior Cloud Software Engineer
Tel: +64-48032246
Email: flw...@catalyst.net.nz
Catalyst IT Limited
Level 6, Catalyst House, 150 Willis Street, Wellington
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