OpenStack Je T’aime: Another Great OpenStack Summit

The week is coming to completion here in Paris. The OpenStack Summit season for 2014 is completed, and the last few hours of the Kilo Design Summit are finishing up tomorrow. I was even lucky enough to be able to meet today with OpenStack Foundation COO, Mark Collier, and this was the perfect way to round out the week for me. I had a really fun week with the vBrownBag team here and all of the great people who were at the conference to celebrate this next phase in the OpenStack timeline.

Less Cheerleading, More Working Together

The theme I picked up from a lot of the conversations around the event, and from some of the sessions I watched, is around what we need to do as a community to increase the viability of the OpenStack ecosystem. It seems odd to say “less cheerleading”, but what many have noticed from some sessions in the past is that there was always this strong message of “OpenStack is great, so you need to stop doing IT the way you are doing it today, because this is better”.

I love what OpenStack has done up to now, and I love where the whole project is going. It feels like we are crossing the point where hype is being outweighed by history as more customers tell their success stories. We have a massively growing customer ecosystem across all verticals, and in every size and shape you can imagine.

Vendors, developers, and all of the contributors are bringing the challenges with OpenStack to the fore, proudly. The acknowledgement of some of the difficulties in the projects has become the new conversation. We are working together more tightly, and more contributors are diving in to attend to requirements and challenges with features and fixes. There are a few more challenges ahead still at this point.

Upgrades Need to Be Easier

Unfortunately, we can’t all stay on trunk and push to production with every update that happens. This means that the process for upgrading components between releases has to become more fluid and simple. There are great strides being made in various programs to ease the pain for upgrades. Discussions around LTS (Long Term Support) editions is also underway which could help on this front potentially.

Swift has the advantage of being a distributed system that allows for upgrades to be done while the system continues to operate. We hope to see this sort of capability built into the other programs in some way. In-place upgrades or migration upgrades will be a welcome change for many customers who are having concerns about the long term operational processes.

One word: Neutron

The Neutron program has been going through some growing pains since it was made an integrated program in Folsom. Just like when Mark Twain wrote “the report of my death was an exaggeration”, we have seen the life of nova-network extended and celebrated. As Neutron evolved through the Grizzly and Havana releases, we saw the positive changes including the introduction of the ML2 (Modular Layer 2) plugin framework implemented.

Neutron has been challenging operators with scale, upgrades, and also configuration. Development and strengthening of the Neutron program is happening with many great contributors that marks some positive moves happening. There is still a lot of work ahead.

Many Enterprises Love High Availability

It’s not about pets and cattle. It’s about legacy applications that are in need of redesign, but a long cycle of development that will be outpaced by hardware and operating system refresh. Clouds aren’t scary, legacy processes are. In the interim we have to accommodate the workloads according to the real business requirements.

Have you ever been told that a storage product could get you 25:1 compression, but when you put your data on it the compression only reaches 12:1 and the vendor says “Your data is the problem”? We can’t let this happen to the OpenStack discussion. The customer workload is where the business requirements are derived from. There is no such thing as a bad workload. These are simply new user stories and potentially edge cases that have to be dealt with.

It was a great week all around and I hope to bring much more OpenStack Summit content to the community over the next while.

You can watch the entire set of sessions that were at this year’s Paris summit on YouTube at the OpenStack Foundation channel. This is the full playlist, so feel free to bookmark here and watch all the OpenStack goodness!

OpenStack Summit Panel Session: Building a Career in OpenStack

Today is the wind down day for the OpenStack Summit in Paris. The Kilo Design Summit will keep going at some other venues, but we have the expo floor closing up which marks the completion of the presentations and panel sessions for the event.

In the Atlanta summit earlier this year I was lucky enough to be on a panel session which talked about building a cloud career in OpenStack. The panel featured a great group of folks including Kenneth Hui, Aaron Delp, Jason Grimm, and moderated by Niki Acosta. You can see the original Atlanta session on my Media page (

This time, we reprised our group in Paris for another discussion and the fun part was that many changes have happened for us since the spring. Over the course of the last few months Kenneth Hui moved to EMC, I moved to Turbonomic, Aaron Delp has extended his responsibilities in SolidFire, Niki has moved to Metacloud which was then acquired by Cisco, and we added two new panelists with Ryan Yard of Rackspace, and Shamail Tahir. Jason was unable to come to the event unfortunately so we missed him this time around.

Jobs, Skills, and Open Source in General

The theme of this is obviously around career building. We discussed the skills that each of us on the panel have sought out in order to grow our careers related to OpenStack, and what we see in the industry for others seeking work. Some great questions came in from the audience and to Niki before the session, so we talked to recruiters about how to look for skills, plus to job seekers to give some ideas as to how we each made changes to adapt.

A great conversation started around how people can ask their company to contribute to open source projects. This created some good back and forth around the legalities, and some good tips to begin the process of starting or contributing to open source projects. I was really pleased to have a chance to chat with people after the session too. It is great to connect with new people and hopefully share experiences to help bring them closer to their goal.

Here is the video of the session which is hosted at the OpenStack Foundation YouTube channel (which is filled with awesomeness by the way!)

We are aiming to continue the trend and present our panel discussion for the Kilo Summit in Vancouver which is May 18-22, 2015. Along with that panel, I will have lots of speaking sessions proposed which will give me a chance to dive even deeper into giving back to the great OpenStack community that has helped me to expand my knowledge and my personal network.

If you have any questions, feel free to connect on Twitter and let me know!

vBrownBag at OpenStack Summit in Paris

Among all the awesomeness happening at the OpenStack Summit in Paris, we have a great program of events with the vBrownBag community here. If you don’t already know the vBrownBag, you need to dig in on that because it is absolutely one of the best groups of people, and most powerful content pool I’ve been able to be a part of.

Having grown up among this great community over the last couple of years, I am particularly proud and humbled to be able to support the team here led out by Alastair Cooke, along with Emad Younis, and Damian Karlson who make up the team for the event. I was also a part of the support team at the OpenStack Summit in Atlanta earlier this year, so being able to double down on community and OpenStack is particularly fun for me!

What is vBrownBag Doing at the OpenStack Summit?

First of all, you should bookmark this page:

The OpenStack Summit produces some really great full-length sessions as a part of the full show schedule, but many of the companies and community contributors who are here may not have been able to have their proposed talks included in the schedule. This is where vBrownBag comes to the rescue!

We have a series of 10-12 minute “Tech Talk” sessions running Monday to Wednesday here in Paris, and as you can see from the schedule link above, they are also published on YouTube for continuous consumption after the event. How cool is that?!

The advantage with the Tech Talks is that we can see some great technology, new way to do things, products that we may not have had a chance to be introduced to normally, and much more. The 10 minute format makes for some quick, concise delivery, and is just the right size to give information to see if they what to investigate more.

Highlights from Day 1

There are some really great sessions here, and although it’s difficult to pick any of them out over the others, I was really interested in a couple that I saw here while running the recordings.

VDI in OpenStack with Gary Xia

I like the direction that this could go, and although it’s early on for VDI on OpenStack, I really feel this could begin a strong area of adoption that could also drive big VDI vendors to contribute to the OpenStack ecosystem.

Adopt Triple-O Tools for Your Own Project

Automation is you’re friend. Triple-O will definitely be a big part of the work I’m going to be doing over the next few months with OpenStack. Not only for OpenStack-native work, but hopefully extending out to touch external systems more. Between Heat and Triple-O, I think anyone who enjoys orchestration and automation will be busy building out some proof-of-concept designs.

Make sure that you take a look at all of the videos there on the page, and I hope that you find the content as exciting as I did. Plus, watch as the session are uploaded from Day 2 today, and a full day on Day 3 which will keep your learning funnel full for a while!

Happy Stacking!

OpenStack Summit Day 1 Quick Notes

It’s quite an amazing to be here in Paris watching the OpenStack Summit unfold in front of us. With #vDM30in30 in full flight, this seemed like the perfect way to bring some of my experience from the City of Light.


The backdrop of the Champs-Elysées is like a perfect stage for me as a long time cyclist and fan of the Tour de France. While I won’t be riding the cobble stones along the base of l’Arc de Triomphe, I will be walking the route, but the focus of what is happening in Paris is all OpenStack right now!

Focus on Enterprise, and Operations

While some of the most compelling use-cases for OpenStack stemmed from the ability to enable developers to simply manage environments in the same way that AWS has become the de facto tool of choice for developers on a public cloud platform. OpenStack has found its stride with many of the development-focused environments, but one of the areas that organizations have questioned whether OpenStack is ready is for the traditional enterprise.

When we say OpenStack for enterprise, we aren’t talking about Netflix, eBay, LinkedIn and those types of organizations. While they are enterprise by definition because of their size, enterprise in the more “traditional” sense includes everything from soup to nuts as far as infrastructure. If you look at companies that are heavy on file-sharing, but lighter on rapid application development, you will see how making the move to OpenStack doesn’t have the same draw that it may for other companies.

Beyond the type of workload as far as file sharing and such, the classic discussion around HA (High Availability) and live migration is once again at the fore when browsing potential incubation projects for the Kilo Design Summit.

Orchestrate All the Things!

Heat is getting lots of…well, heat. I’ve seen a lot of great work around using Heat, leveraging for external configuration management systems, and much more. Triple-O has many administrators building out some powerful orchestration recipes, and as Docker continues to draw attention, we are seeing more about the orchestration to build and scale applications.

Again, these are powerful DevOps enabling features, but the focus is on building up the strength on the operations side.

A Neat Little Package…or Distro in this Case

Want a private OpenStack cloud? Not a problem! The distributions are being developed at a decent pace, and the work being done by folks like Cloudscaling (now a part of EMC), Rackspace, Metacloud (now a part of Cisco), Piston, and Mirantis to name a few, is really laying the groundwork for a greater adoption by enterprise customers.

Despite all that we promote not the power of the OpenStack ecosystem, it will hold much more weight in many people’s minds when more easily deployable, upgradeable, and fully supported distributions are available. If anything, we should regard this as a win. An OpenStack customer, regardless of how they got there, is an OpenStack customer just the same 🙂


Discussions are happening on creating LTS (Long Term Support) editions of OpenStack. It is still early on in the process, but this could also be an important step. Major revisions on a 6-month cycle can be challenging for some organizations to think of adopting. It’s not that there is no capability to make the updates work, but there are changes in process that will need to be in place to let companies stay up to date with limited disruption.

If we see LTS OpenStack become an option, I think that it could be an interesting and positive option to help more people enable their business using the powerful open cloud environment.

There will be much more excitement tomorrow at OpenStack Summit, and if you want to prepare for the next steps, it’s a good time to tap into the excitement and start looking at how OpenStack can be a part of driving your business.