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OpenStack Heat


An important part of a cloud environment is orchestration. In OpenStack there is a component dedicated exclusively to orchestration within the platform, the main project in this program is Heat.

According to the OpenStack Foundation, Heat is an orchestration machine for launching multiple composite cloud applications based on templates in the form of text files. With this component, a complete cloud infrastructure can be represented as code. This allows “Infrastructure as Code” efforts to be implemented and the entire cloud infrastructure to be automated. In simple terms, Heat offers OpenStack users the ability to automate the creation of cloud components such as networks, instances, storage devices and much more.

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OpenStack Heat makes orchestration easy

Simple programmatic management of the entire infrastructure

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Heat manages the entire application life cycle


A heat template describes the infrastructure for a cloud application in a text file that can be read and written by humans.

Infrastructure resources that can be described include servers, floating IPs, volumes, security groups, users, etc. Almost all configuration objects in OpenStack can be mapped in heat templates.

Templates can also specify the relationships between resources (for example, this volume is connected to this server). This allows Heat to call the OpenStack APIs to create all their infrastructures in the correct order and start their application completely.

Heat manages the entire lifecycle of the application – if you need to change your infrastructure, simply change the template and use it to update your existing stack. Heat knows how to make the necessary changes. All resources are deleted when you are finished with the application.

Heat primarily manages infrastructure, but the templates integrate well with software configuration management tools such as Puppet, Ansible and Chef. The Heat team is working on an even better integration between infrastructure and software.

There are four main components of the Heat project, each of which performs a unique function:

  • Heat: is the CLI that communicates with the Heat API.
  • Heat API: is the component that provides an OpenStack-native ReST API that processes the requests and sends them to the Heat engine.
  • Heat API CFN: This component provides an AWS-Style Query API that is compatible with AWS CloudFormation and processes the requests and sends them to the Heat engine.
  • Heat engine: is the brain of the operation and does the main work of orchestration, introducing templates and delivering events back to the API consumers.