As a software developer or system architect that is interested in looking at the workings of OpenStack, devstack is one of several different ways to start a personal cloud using the current OpenStack code base.
In it’s most basic form, you can run devstack in a virtual machine and be able to manage your personal cloud via the Horizon web interface (known as the Dashboard), or via several CLI APIs such as the OpenStack client (OSC). You can use this to launch compute services, manage boot images and disk volumes, define networking and configure administrative users, projects and roles.
The benefit of devstack is for the developer and deployer. You can actually see the running cloud software, interact and engage with individual services. devstack is a valuable tool to debug and bugfix services. devstack is used by the OpenStack CI/CD system for testing so it is robust enough to evaluate the core projects and many of the available projects that can be configured to be installed with devstack. You can also configure to use trunk (i.e. master) code, or specific branches or tags for individual services. The CI system for example will install the trunk of services, and the specific branch of a new feature or bug fix for one given project in order to perform user and functional testing.
devstack also enables more complex configuration setups. You can setup devstack with LXC containers, you can run a multi-node setup, you can run with Neutron networking. While devstack installs a small subset of projects including keystone, nova, cinder, glance and horizon, you can use devstack to run other OpenStack projects such as Manila, Trove, Magnum, Sahara, Solum and Heat.
The benefit of devstack is for evaluation of capabilities. devstack is not a product to use to determine a path for production deployment of OpenStack. This process includes many more complex considerations of determining why you want to implement an infrastructure for demand for your organization, and considerations of the most basic technical needs such as uptime and SLA requirements, high availability, monitoring and alerting, security management and upgrade paths of your software.
If you are ready to see what OpenStack could provide and want to run a local cloud, you can start with installing Openstack with devstack, a first-time guide.