On the form for requesting a new Nectar Allocation, there is a field that asks "Convert trial project?".  It provides you with two options:

  1. "No: start with a new project".
  2. "Yes: move resources from my pt- project to the new project".

What does this actually do?

Limitations of OpenStack projects

Before we can explain what these options do, we first need to explain the problem that we are trying to solve.

The Nectar cloud is implemented using a number of OpenStack service components, and these provide common implementations of "user" and "project". One of the limitations of OpenStack projects is that in general it is not possible to transfer resources from one project to another.  

For example, an Openstack instance (or server) cannot be simply transferred from one OpenStack project to another. Instead you would need to create a snapshot in the first project, share the snapshot with the second project, and launch the new snapshot in the second project. In the process, the new instance would get a new static IP address, and details such as Keys, Security Groups and Access Rules would need to be transferred ... manually.

What is the motivation for PT Conversion?

In Nectar we use OpenStack projects as the basis for Nectar project trials (PTs) and full Nectar projects. A common experience is that a new user will get a PT, do the Nectar "Getting Started" tutorials, and then create an instance and start using it.  In the next few weeks or months prior to that, the user may put in a lot of effort installing and configuring software on their PT instance, or even set up a "production" service on it that other people are starting to rely on.

The problem is that as a matter of policy, PTs are time and resource limited.  When the user discovers that they need a larger instance than they can launch in the PT, or that they need compute resources for longer than a PT allows, so they need to apply for a Nectar allocation. But when the allocation is approved, it will be a provisioned as a new project, and the user has the problem of transferring resources.

This is where PT conversion comes into play.  It provides a way to conceptually "move" the resources from the PT to the new project as part of the provisioning step.

What PT Conversion actually does?

While OpenStack doesn't allow you to transfer resources (in general) between project, it does allow someone (or something) with administrator privilege to rename a project.

So what PT Conversion actually does is to rename the user's PT to be the project for the newly approved allocation. All of the existing resources (instances, snapshots, object storage resources, security groups, and so on) still belong to the (now renamed) project.  Once that is done, a new "empty" OpenStack project is created with same name as the original PT. This becomes your default project as before.

What happens to PT quotas during PT Conversion?

When your PT is converted, the quotas are all set to zero, so that you cannot launch any more instances in the PT. When your first Nectar Allocation is approved, we consider that you are no longer "trying out"  Nectar. The PT is no longer needed for that purpose. (If you want the convenience of a "personal" project distinct from your main allocation, submit an allocation request. The Approver will make an assessment as to whether it is justifiable.)

A Nectar user's PT serves as a second purpose.  Various OpenStack services require every user to have a designated "default" project.  The PT fulfills this requirement, even when its quotas have been zeroed.