My First OpenStack Summit

My First OpenStack Summit

October comes to an end after a fantastic and unique experience in the beautiful city of Barcelona, namely, my first OpenStack Summit. Before November begins, I want to put down my impressions and observations of this incredible event. Taking part of the summit proved useful not only to better understand OpenStack, but also because next year, as part of the R&D activities related to FIWARE in Martel, we are going to push further the work on FIWARE Lab, a free to use cloud based on OpenStack with about 7000 users.

My first OpenStack Summit, Barcelona 2016 (Photo credit to OpenStack.org)

My first OpenStack Summit, Barcelona 2016 (Photo credit to OpenStack.org)

OpenWhat?

OpenStack is such a huge project that the first challenge for newcomers is actually understanding what Openstack really is. In fact, it is common to feel overwhelmed with so many new names. If you know nothing about it, I encourage you to head to this page. The way I see it, it is as a production-ready heterogeneous open-source cloud operating system supported by a huge active multinational and multi-industry community.

New Release Highlights

The latest release is codenamed Newton and its main theme is to present OpenStack as one platform that manages it all: vms, containers and bare metal. It brings new scalability enhancements, improved resilience through self-healing and workload adaptability and an easier to use experience for operators and application developers. For more details, you can read the official release notes.

Something I did not know is that there is a special OpenStack team responsible for collecting data through users surveys and presenting results at least twice a year. So, If you are into metrics and stats, you can see all their reports in this page.

By the way, if you couldn’t make it to BCN or missed a talk, all videos can be found here.

Getting Started

I was curious to see how such a big community organizes its work, so my week started at “The Upstream University”. It is basically a warmly welcome for newcomers with a well planned introduction to the OpenStack community and the whole contribution process. There are plenty of tools and process to be used in order to contribute to the project and this was the place to learn about them all. We had a lot of fun following all this material presented by some friendly folks from the core contributors team.

At the end of the week the “Design Summit” took place. This is when contributors of each project composing OpenStack gather to discuss issues in person, code a bit and plan upcoming work. Note though that a change in the structure and schedule of the Design Summits was announced from the next summit onwards. See more details about this change in this post.

Three main impressions from my first OpenStack Summit

As a Software Developer, I must confess I was surprised to see so many stakeholders coming from the telecom industry. People working with infrastructure, carriers, networks and telecommunications. This is somehow reflected also if you take a look at the list of the recently announced gold members. Particularly, I sensed a lot of community interest around Software Defined Networks (SDN), Virtual Network Functions (VNF) and Neutron (OpenStack network-as-a-service project). In retrospective, this makes sense, as it seems the industry is shifting towards software-defined everything.

containers

Another trending topic that made its place in a keynote and many presentations was Containers. I personally liked the way Mark Shuttleworth’s introduced the topic in “Openstack with Containers”. The most active projects dealing with containers worth checking out are Kolla, Kuryr and Magnum. Kolla facilitates running OpenStack services on containers. Kuryr aims at serving Neutron’s networking services for containers setups. And Magnum facilitates deploying container clusters (swarm, kubernetes, mesos) on top of OpenStack. Also, as regards container cluster orchestration, my impression is that Kubernetes is settling as the most used solution. This is not only true with Docker, but also with CoreOS’ rkt.

Finally, the summit made clear that OpenStack has reached a respectable maturity. It was interesting to see IBM demonstrating its true interoperability. Sixteen industry partners came on stage and deployed their own solutions on top of the same framework. It was also exciting to see how the Scientific Industry is embracing OpenStack in projects with massive computing demands like the LHC and SKA, among many other use cases.

Take home for FIWARE

FIWARE is largely investing on the adoption of Containers on top of OpenStack. Many new features in Newton deal with that and are surely worth exploring to see what could be brought to simplify even more the devops of FIWARE Lab users.

The FIWARE Lab is a complex “federation” of OpenStack. Each FIWARE Lab node is an OpenStack cloud, and thus helping the sys-admins understanding what’s going on and quickly solve issues is not so easy. The new self-healing and monitoring features are surely something we will look into in the future. A lot of this is possible thanks to Vitrage providing Root Cause Analysis!

Find out more

Interested in OpenStack?

Next summit will take place in Boston (May 8-12, 2017). If you are planning to go, here are some tips to get the most out of it:

  • Book your tickets early to get significant early registration discounts. Moreover, if you become a contributor you might qualify for free tickets!
  • So, if you are considering to become a contributor, checkout the contributor guide. Moreover, do not miss the upstream university days before the summit! Remember to take your laptops with free disk space 🙂
  • Make sure you have updated business cards on time. The summit is an excellent opportunity to network with people from all around the world.
  • Plan your schedule with the OpenStack Summit Mobile App. It’s a terrific tool that lets you create your own schedule, map room locations and even rate the talks. Remember to double-check the schedule the day before because some talks will be added in the last minute.
  • If you also like books, don’t miss the book signing that usually takes place in the Marketplace.
  • Explore, interact and avoid staying in a single place or chatting always with the same people.

Interested in FIWARE?

The first FIWARE summit will take place in Malaga (Dec 13-15, 2016). Stay tuned!

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