What I Hope to Get From the OpenStack Vancouver Summit

reproduced from content I wrote for SuperUser.

Matt Fischer, principal engineer at Time Warner Cable, shares survival tips for the Summit: backup plans, a beer list and a talk that he promises will be better than “Cats.”

May 11, 2015

The Vancouver summit is about a week away and so it’s time to start my prep work for the summit. This first means making a list of talks I want to go to. It also means making a list of any people I want to meet in person to talk to or people I owe a beer (or three) to. Finally, it means a list of things I want to accomplish at design sessions. If you’ve never been to a Summit before, what you get out of it really depends on how well you dig into the schedule and do some advanced planning.

So with that in mind, here’s my thinking.

Planning for Talks

I have some main focus areas for talks, things I want to come away from the summit knowing more about. These include things for which I’m the “owner” of in the Time Warner Cable OpenStack cloud, but also things I’m just curious about, so in no particular order:

Operations I always want to know how to do things differently or better, so you’ll see me around these rooms a lot. I’m specifically interested in Upgrades, CI/CD, and integrating new features into our cloud.

Heat I’m specifically interested in application catalog capabilities. Designate – I’ve worked some on this in the past few months. Neutron – I always want and need to know more about Neutron, even though it’s not my focus area.

Now with talks you can simply find the ones you like, and if you create an account and sign-in, you can add them to your personalized schedule. This is what I’d recommend to help plan your day. But, there’s a few more tricks that I’d recommend you use.

Review your schedule every morning. If you’re in Vancouver with a team you can divide up talks if you have time conflicts. You may also find that you’ve changed your mind or the schedule has changed, hence the morning review.

Have a backup talk. Sometimes talks are full or maybe you go and it’s not for you. You always need a backup talk.

Make a list of talks you want to watch later. All the talks end up on the OpenStack Foundation’s Youtube channel. Make a list of talks that you didn’t or won’t get to and watch them later. This does not work well for hands-on sessions, so I always opt to go to them.

If you can’t pick a talk by subject, pick by speaker. The speaker makes the talk sometimes more than the subject.

Don’t be afraid to have free time. The summit can be grueling. Leave a space or two in your schedule and visit the vendors or go take a nap.

Planning for People

OpenStack is community driven and the community is made of people. Take time to say “hi” to the people you’ve talked to on IRC or mailing lists.

Take the time to thank someone who fixed a bug for you or better yet buy them a beer. You cannot underestimate the value of having a beer with someone you’ve only previously met online. I cannot emphasize this enough.

Who are the lucky ones on my beer list this year? You’ll have to wait and see, hopefully I’m on yours!

Planning for Design Sessions

For the first time, OpenStack Puppet will be a real OpenStack project and so while previously we’ve had an hour to discuss stuff, this time we will have a full day for design work. Through lots of work over the past year, I’ve become core in OpenStack Puppet, and I hope to spend a good part of my day Tuesday participating in live discussions and work sessions. We have lots of stuff to discuss, the largest item which is dear to me, is when the master branch can drop support for the old stable release. If you’ve been active in other projects, you may have similar issues like this that need closure. These are usually easier to figure out in a room rather than in an IRC meeting. However, many of the design sessions are already planned so it may be too late to get something on the agenda, but it’s not too late to attend and participate. I’d recommend making a list of the things you want to cover and seeing how that lines up with the design session schedule. Please note that the Design Summit and the OpenStack Summit use different schedules hosted on different pages.

Planning for Parties

The OpenStack Summits have a large after-hours social aspect. These are valuable to attend just for camaraderie — you don’t have to drink beer to go and have fun. I generally go to as many of these as possible, they are usually pretty great.

You’re Invited!

I hope to see everyone in Vancouver, and would like to especially invite you to see some of my talks. The descriptions are pretty good, but I thought I’d say a few things about what you could expect to get out of each of them, here they are in chronological order with links so you can add them to your schedule.

Building Clouds with OpenStack Puppet Modules If you’re curious about how companies use Puppet to deploy OpenStack or about how our community works, you should attend this talk. You will get a couple different views and ideas on using Puppet from Mike Dorman and I, and hear about the community from Emilien Macchi. Monday, May 18 • 4:40 p.m. – 5:20 p.m. http://sched.co/38gd

A CI/CD Alternative to Push and Pray for OpenStack There are lots of CI talks this year, but I promise you will learn something new at this one. Clayton O’Neill and I will cover lots of topics and tools and you will see how we use these tools to get code and config from concept to production. Tuesday, May 19 • 12:05 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. http://sched.co/37lb

Getting DNSaaS to Production with Designate Have your customers been asking for DNSaaS (DNS as-a-Service)? Do you plan on having several people working on it full time as core Designate developers or would you rather just get it deployed with the minimum of pain? If the latter, then this is the talk for you. Clayton and I will cover what work is required, what work we did, and what to watch out for. One special thing that we will cover is how to write your own (or use our) Designate Sink which lets you automatically create records every time a new floating IP is assigned. Wednesday, May 20 • 9:50 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. http://sched.co/380J

Real World Experiences with Upgrading OpenStack at Time Warner Cable There are also lots of Upgrade talks at this summit. In this one, Clayton and I will be telling a story of what happened when we upgraded to Juno. Even though I wasn’t smart enough to put “beer” in the title of my upgrade talk, maybe you can learn some lessons or get some ideas from us. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, it will be better than “Cats.” Thursday, May 21 • 2:20 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. http://sched.co/37wu

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