Boston Summit and Forum May 8-11
The event started off Monday morning with Keynotes – some were really good, some well, not so much. There were a lot of stats presented from the user survey about how OpenStack has grown 44%, where 2/3 of the deployments were in production. That’s great news, especially with the right-sizing that has been happening in the cloud ecosystem.
Even though I feel like OpenStack is the right horse to ride, I fear that there is still some needed correction in the number of projects and active contributors to get it back to a manageable size and focus.
I was determined to increase the Server Group presence in the IBM booth and I am proud of my extended team coming together and making it happen for Boston. I had several team representatives step up and be Subject Matter Experts for Ask-me-about sessions or to give demos in the booth.
It was a smaller booth, but the layout was good and it was always packed with IBMers and interested Stackers. We had a nice new IBM POWER system on display, a new OpenPower system code named “Minsky”. This is a 2 POWER CPU system with 4 NVIDIA GPUs and up to 1TB of memory – all in a 2U rack. There were always folks around drooling over it’s serious computational horsepower.
I volunteered to help work in the booth and to also be a SME for OpenStack support on OpenPower systems. We also had other teams represented from the IBM Open Systems Development/Linux Technology Center there to answer questions about Neutron (networking), Ironic (bare metal provisioning) and Trove (database as a service). I was able to watch several of the demos and the team did a great job.
Monday concluded with the traditional “Booth Crawl” where vendors sponsor hor d’oeuvres and drinks. Since the team was all there working the booth, we didn’t get to wander around and partake, so afterwards we went across the street and had a team dinner at “Whiskey”, a fun, noisy college pub with great food.
I did get a chance to go to a few sessions Monday afternoon, but they were somewhat hit-or-miss. The Ironic Dev-Ops feedback session was good, but there were few sessions overall for Ironic, one of the projects I have been involved recently. I went to one of the Ubuntu sponsored sessions that was supposed to be on GPUs and it wound up just being a LXD sales pitch. I’m an Ubuntu fan and user, but that was a bummer.
Tuesday also started with keynote sessions, but I had a harder time seeing the importance for an OpenStack developer, with the exception of the Interop Challange and their attachment to Cockroach database. I then attended a session from AT&T on their container strategy and how OpenStack is used. They had an interesting 3 pronged approach, with valid cases for each environment, interesting real-world use of OpenStack and containers.
The afternoon was spent chasing down Ironic sessions that ended quickly and working at the booth. That evening was the one public event at the nearby Fenway park. They obviously spent a lot on this event, but honestly it would have been nice to have had a social gathering at the summit hotel, in a ballroom for instance and save the money. Don’t get me wrong, Fenway was amazing, but it was outside, raining, cold and on top of that, there was no provided transportation from the convention. It was only a few blocks, but in the cold and rain. It was a great experience to see the park and have some park grub, but other than buy beers, there wasn’t much to do. I decided that since I could by myself a beer in the dry warmth of the hotel lobby, I decided to call it an early night.
Wednesday was much more useful for me as the summit transitioned into being more Forum focused. I attended the Kolla project onboarding session. It was the highlight of the show for me since it took the basic understanding that I had of the various parts of Kolla and stitched them all together. It started high-level with an overview of the components and what they did, a review of the project goals, and then deep-dived into the details of building and deployment. My only wish was that the session was recorded for future reference and sharing.
The Forum sessions Wednesday and Thursday were useful, getting closer to what I was hoping for – something like a all-in-one midcycle. But some of the sessions could have been more useful if there was less of the “experts” pontificating the latest buzz-words and more getting down to the business at hand. My favorite buzz word from the Forum: “echo-chambering”. One session that was particularly interesting was one on comparing Kubernetes and OpenStack resource management. It was a useful comparison with clear slides and excellent description. The session slides are available and recommended. I especially enjoyed the glossary comparison of terms and parameters from each environment.
Overall, like I said, it was a good summit. I learned a lot and made new friends. But, I feel like it needs to have more direction in the selection of sessions. For one, pick a much more diverse set of session topics. Every other session was on Kubernetes. I know there were more diverse sessions proposed. Another, feel free to call it an all-in-one mid cycle instead of the Forum. That, with the Ops, Onboarding and Marketplace would make for a great event, and retain the usefulness for a quiet design meeting with just the developers. Next stop: Denver PTG!