Open Stack Summit Day 3 – Closing Thoughts

wow. I’m exhausted.

OpenStack Summit 2015, Tokyo Edition is over. It was amazing. I have a handful of ideas for follow up technical posts after I have time to get home and dig into them a little bit. But I want to get a few thoughts down on the conference as a whole while I’m sitting in my incredibly small room in Tokyo being too tired to go out on the town.

There could have been a container summit inside OpenStack Summit. Everywhere I turned, people were talking about containers. How to use them effectively and innovate around scaling them. It was awesome. These 2 technologies (IaaS and Containers) are going going to collide somewhere not very far up the road. When they do it is going to be something to behold. I can’t wait to be part of it.

The conference on the whole was incredible. I can’t give enough credit to the team who put it all together. It was stretched out across (at least) 4 buildings on multiple floors, and it worked the vast majority of the time. The rooms were a little over-crowded for the biggest talks (or any talk that had the words ‘container’ or ‘kubernetes’ or ‘nfv’ in the title), and they tended to be a little too warm. The warm seems to be common for most public areas in Japan. I guess that’s just how they roll here.

Probably my biggest criticism of the conference is angled at most of the keynote speakers. They were, on the whole, not great. When I am at a large IT conference like this, I expect the keynote presentations to be motivational and polished. Too many of these were history lessons and needed a few more rounds in front of a mirror. There were exceptions of course (particular kudos to the IBM BlueBox¬†folks!). But that was my biggest ‘needs improvement’ factor the OpenStack Summit Tokyo.

Out of 10, I would give this conference a solid 8. My score for Tokyo would be similar, if not higher.

I can’t wait to see what happens in Austin. I’m already working on ideas for talks. ūüôā

OpenStack Summit Day 2 – Wrapping my head around NFV

Day 3 isn’t technically over yet. But I’m exhausted. And jet lag is hard. So I’m sitting in one of the conference hotels in a very low chair with my laptop in my lap. Don’t judge.

One of the biggest ideas at OpenStack Summit this year is NFV (Network Function Virtualization). A straw poll of the talk descriptions reveals approximately 213245 talks on the topic this week in Tokyo.

A thousand years ago I worked for a crappy phone company in Richmond and I got to know how a telephone company works. I got to spend some time in telephone central offices and helped solve carrier-level problems. With NFV, I understood why people wanted to get into that world (there’s a TON of money sitting in those dusty places). But I didn’t quite understand the technical plan. What is going to be virtualized? Where is the ceiling for it? It just didn’t make engineering sense to me.

To help combat that ignorance I’ve gone to 4 or 5 of those 213245 sessions today. I’ve also asked pretty much every booth in the Marketplace ‘how are we doing this stuff?’.¬†At the HP Helion booth, I got my engineering answer. My disconnect was that the logistics of defining a big pipe (OC-48 or something like that) in software would just be an exercise in futility. Going all the way up the software stack with that many packets would require a horizontal scale that wasn’t cost-effective.

Of course that’s not the goal. There IS a project name CORD (Central Office Re-imagined as a Datacenter) that is intriguing. But it’s also very new, and mostly theory at this point.

But If we can take some of the equipment that is currently out in the remote sites (central offices, cell towers) and virtualize it, we can then move it into the datacenter instead of having it out in the wild. That makes maintenance and fault-tolerance a lot cheaper. It also saves on man-hours since you don’t have to get in a truck and drive out to the middle of nowhere to work on something.

Another added benefit is that it would disrupt the de facto monopoly that currently exists with the companies that provide that specialized equipment. Competition is a good thing.

That’s the gist. And it’s a good one. We can take commodity hardware and use it to virtualize specialied equipment that normally lives in the remote locations. And we can virtualize it in a datacenter that’s easier and cheaper to get to.

OpenStack Summit Day 1 – The Big Tent is BIG, and Tokyo Lessons Learned

My morning started off with a few lessons learned about being in Tokyo, where I speak 0 words of the language.

  • have cash, Japanese cash, if you plan on getting on Tokyo public transit. After learning this lesson I spent 45 minutes looking for a 7-11 (they use Citi ATMs which apparently easier for us gringoes) before getting in a cab to get me to the Summit on time. We passed 4 7-11’s in the first 1/2 mile of my trip. Of Course.

    This guy laughed at me multiple times
    This guy laughed at me multiple times
  • It is a serious walking city. the walking. omg the walking. and then the walking.

But on to the OpenStack Summit stuff, of which there is a lot.

After getting registered with the required keynote addresses. They are all on the schedule, so I won’t go into the who and what, but a few observations.

  1. The production quality is incredibly high. Like giant tv cameras on platforms high. Like 5 big monitors so us in the back can see too, high.

    big crowd filing in before the keynotes started
  2. The speakers were, on the whole, a little unpolished. They usually had good things to say, but could have used a few more dry runs for a crowd this big.
  3. ZOMG the crowd. Well over 5000 people from 56 countries. The big tent really is big these days. It is awesome, in a word. It is also the most inclusive conference I’ve ever attended. That is also very awesome.
  4. Double ZOMG THE HEAT. The conference is stretched out over 3 (4?) hotels plus a conference center. All of the thermostats seem to be set on ~81 Farenheit (Celsius?). Take that and toss in an overcrowded room full of sweaty geeks and things can get a little uncomfortable. Especially in the middles of the aisles. Especially especially after lunch.
  5. The Marketplace (vendors tables) is utter chaos. With that said, Mirantis easily wins this year. They have
  6. There is now an OpenStack Certification. Or there will be soon, at least. You can be a Certified OpenStack Administrator (COA). I don’t know how this is going to play with the existing¬†Red Hat Certification, but I’m interested in finding out.
  7. Openstack has a new way of visualizing it constituent parts. is way WAY better than the old wiki-style nastiness.
  8. Bitnami COO Erica Brescia took some pretty awesome shots at Docker Hub and its lack of curation. It’s the wild west out there, and it comes with consequences. I’m not a huge fan of Bitnami. But I am a huge fan of how Erica Brescia does her job.

My least favorite observation on the day was Canonical’s slogan for LXD. They had an ad on the spashes before the keynotes started and it was something along the lines of “Ubuntu/Canonical has the fastest hypervisor on the planet with lxd $something $something $something”

Hey¬†Canonical, you are aware that containers and virtual machines are different things, right? So are you trying to re-define the word, or are you trying to pass off a container manager as a hypervisor? Huh? At any rate, it’s an awful slogan and even worse marketecture. I’m debating a drive by of their booth tomorrow.

After lunch I went to a talk held by Mirantis where the compared a base install of their offering to a GA(ish?)-release of RHEL OSP 7. They were more fair and balanced than I thought they would be. Their product, Fuse, is 3 or 4 years old at this point and very polished. OSP 7 uses OSP Director, which is based on TripleO. OSP 7 is Red Hat‘s first release based on this installer. It suffers from exactly the warts you think it would.

With that said, I was surprised they had to pic some pretty small nits to make their presentation work. A lot of their documentation issues were already addressed. But they correctly identified the biggest areas of need for OSPd as Red Hat works to mature it in OSP 8 and beyond.

All in all Day 1 was great fun. I’m looking way forward to Day 2. On top of that I’m PRETTY SURE I can get to and return from the conference using Tokyo Public Transport.