CIP Testing Project next steps: some ideas

Agustin Benito Bethencourt <agustin.benito@...>


(this is a long mail)

in order to understand the ideas about the future of the CIP Testing project, let me enumerate the basic requirements that led CIP to pursue the current strategy, now under revision.

++ Fully de-centralise service architecture

A decision to go for a transparent & fully de-centralised service architecture as testing service architecture for CIP based on LAVA + KernelCI was based in the following arguments:

- Conclusion from evaluating other projects: , LTSI, AGL, openSUSE, openStack.
- Back then, AGL picture around testing was unclear.
- FUEGO back then had 3 different repositories/forks.
- Cost and current manpower availability.
- After evaluating costs, it was easy to come to the conclusion that CIP could not create its own (semi)centralised service. This was the main driver to design a fully distributed service architecture for CIP testing at that point.
- Priorities within CIP.
- Back then the priority was to test the CIP kernel.
- Adaptability to CIP nature.
- The CIP Testing team concluded that LAVA+KernelCI could be adapted to our use case and service architecture.
- Dependencies.
- Back then we agreed that we could only maintain the kernel for a very long time if we took ownership of the kernel maintenance activities. The same principle applies to the testing service, environment, tests...

I summarised the above arguments in the following text that some of you have read before:

Sharing results is far from enough. CIP needs to ensure transparently that any engineer is:
...using the same tests... test the same CIP system...
...on the same boards...
...with the same tool set...
...under the same environment...
...producing the same reports...
...comparable through canonical logs.

++ New picture

Over a year later there are some new elements to consider

1. AGL is making a significant investment in a semi-centralised testing service, based on LAVA+KernelCI. They are committed to maintain it.

2. As part of that work, several containers (KernelCI) to be maintained by AGL will be available soon, which would open the door for CIP to adopt a container based solution instead of a VM based one, reducing the effort to meet our use case.

Part of the work Codethink did in the provisioning and deployment front could then be delegated to AGL, reducing the effort to the configuration side only.

3. As part of the AGL work, KernelCI (data visualization) is being improved. The expectation is that these improvements end upstream, in

4.There are plans to integrate LAVA and FUEGO in the future according to FUEGO maintainer, Tim Bird.

5. LAVA development seem to go through a more stable phase. Dramatic changes in core areas has not been the norm in the last few months, once the transition from V1 to V2 was completed.

6. today includes older kernels like 4.4, 3.2...

7. KernelCI maintainer is no longer a Linaro employee.

8. Toshiba, a CIP Member, is investing directly in FUEGO.

++ Conversations at ELCE 2017

* CIP and AGL CIAT held a meeting to stablish areas of collaboration. The main conclusion was that CIP can adopt the containers based architecture in B@D, relying on AGL on maintaining each container (KernelCI).

On the other hand, CIP could focus more on the reporting side and also on creating tests. These two areas should be shared with AGL and upstream to

I see this agreement as a natural step forward. Action 2 of CIP Testing strategy already defined those two work areas as ToDo. It would be about raising their priority.

By relying on AGL on the provisioning and deployment side (containers) it is expected that the current workload on B@D could be reduced in the mid term. There is an initial technical work to be done that would take effort, in order to release B@D v2.0 as containers.

Keeping a similar effort than in the past, the amount of effort available for Action 2 would then be greater than Codethink could put during the past year.

++ Collaborating with

There are several collaboration points with

a. Upstream any work done by CIP on the testing creation front.
b. Upstream any work done by CIP on the reporting side.
c. Sharing CIP results from B@D through
d. Include the CIP kernel tree in Some consideration about this will be done later.
e. Fully participate in

Let me add some considerations for each point.

a. Upstream any work done by CIP on the testing creation front.

I do not see in theory any significant issue in this front as long as the tests we create refers to upstream kernel code. If tests refers to code that is not upstream, I see some challenges in using them upstream.

b. Upstream any work done by CIP on the reporting side

The question CIP will need to answer is if the reports CIP kernel maintainers need are generic enough that will be also useful for other old kernel maintainers and kernel developers.

In general the answer should be yes, they should be useful, so it would surprise me if most of our reports does not end up upstream. Obviously we would need to comply with some technical decisions implemented in

c. Sharing CIP results through has a specific service architecture. B@D does not match that architecture since it was designed to test kernel locally.

I am not very optimistic about being able to use only the visualization part of the service since B@D uses its own LAVA, not Linaro one.

CIP would need to raise this use case upstream and evaluate the answer from Linaro and the project.

d. Include the CIP kernel tree in

I see no problem in including Ben's tree in The 4.4 LTS tree is already there.

The problem comes with the fact that CIP/Ben H. would be expected of taking care of the results analysis associated with that tree. That is what good Open Source citizens would do, assume the workload of their requests. I doubt we can assume that workload anytime soon. In any case we only care about specific boards.

Managing this use case would require some discussion with the community. I would explore it.

e. Fully participate in

With the above in mind, any organization, company or individual can participate in CIP can too. But different requirements lead to adaptations which cannot be done and maintained without control over the service.

Linaro and the CIP project (Linux Foundation) do not necessarily have the same requirements today (or in 15 years). No matter if CIP fully participates upstream or not, my opinion is that the same strategy than in CIP Core applies here.

CIP needs control over its own testing service.

++ Current options

1. If is the answer, I propose to explore an agreement with Linaro. That would provide CIP some level of control.

Participating directly upstream in the current setup of the project, where it is Linaro the organization providing the service and the main investment without such agreement has risks. CIP should become upstream.

2. If the idea is joining forces with AGL, then an agreement with them should be the way to go.

I see two approaches:
i The one discussed during ELCE 2017, described above, where both organization collaborate but each one has its own strategy. Both of them upstream as much as possible.
ii One in which AGL provides the service to CIP, becoming AGL CIAT service consumers, contributing where we can and make sense to us.

3. Set up our own (semi)centralised testing service.

I think the same rationale CIP applied over a year ago is valid today. Setting up our own service is not an option unless the current level of investment in the CIP Testing project significantly increases, via monetary investment or/and contributions from Member.

Now we have a clear cost example in AGL. We just need to ask to find out how much we are talking about for the set up. In a couple of years we will know more about its maintenance.

++ Final remarks

I am glad that the technical and strategic decisions we took over a year ago has not closed CIP any door in the current scenario. Back then the situation was more blur than it is today.

Based on my experience, a (semi)centralised testing service is very expensive. I wonder how viable it is to have several LF initiatives setting up and maintaining independent embedded focused testing services. I hope the situation in a year is significantly better than today in this regard across initiatives.

When AGL decided to go for LAVA + KernelCI for its testing service, as CIP did, several new options opened for us. They need to be carefully considered. We are in a good position to share costs and risks with them.

As we have done in the kernel maintenance front, the closer we stay to upstream in the testing front, the less work we will do and the greater support we will get. is upstream in this regard. We can contribute in key areas, like tests, with very little cost and great benefit.

As in any Open Source project, before relying completely on upstream, an evaluation of the ownership and set up (ground rules) of that upstream project need to be carefully considered to understand, and ultimately assume, the potential risks inherited at the organization, legal... levels. This is true also for

I believe that with the current level of investment, CIP needs to share part of the workload related with the tooling in order to make meaningful contributions in the testing front, which is at the very end what we all want.

The CIP investment will need to grow in order to raise the quality threshold of what we are shipping. We all agree that testing is a central part of the CIP activity. It is not just a technical commitment. It is also about credibility.

Based on the new facts, if as a result of the re-thinking of the current testing strategy, B@D stop being a central part of the picture, that is fine for Codethink. My company is not afraid of killing their own babies when better options appear. What over a year ago made sense might not next year. We've been there several times before. The tragedy would be carrying on an iron ball chained to our foot.

I would explore in depth options 2.i and 2.ii, in that order, as initial steps.

Excuses for these two long mails. There will be no more :-)

Best Regards
Agustin Benito Bethencourt
Principal Consultant - FOSS at Codethink

Join { to automatically receive all group messages.