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OpenStack might not do everything you need it to do out of the box. To add a new feature, you can follow different paths.

To take the first path, you can modify the OpenStack code directly. Learn how to contribute, follow the Developer’s Guide, make your changes, and contribute them back to the upstream OpenStack project. This path is recommended if the feature you need requires deep integration with an existing project. The community is always open to contributions and welcomes new functionality that follows the feature-development guidelines. This path still requires you to use DevStack for testing your feature additions, so this chapter walks you through the DevStack environment.

For the second path, you can write new features and plug them in using changes to a configuration file. If the project where your feature would need to reside uses the Python Paste framework, you can create middleware for it and plug it in through configuration. There may also be specific ways of customizing a project, such as creating a new scheduler driver for Compute or a custom tab for the dashboard.

This chapter focuses on the second path for customizing OpenStack by providing two examples for writing new features. The first example shows how to modify Object Storage service (swift) middleware to add a new feature, and the second example provides a new scheduler feature for Compute service (nova). To customize OpenStack this way you need a development environment. The best way to get an environment up and running quickly is to run DevStack within your cloud.