A review of the 1st London OpenStack Meetup

Posted: July 26th, 2012 | Filed under: Fedora, libvirt, OpenStack, Virt Tools | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Last night I attended the 1st London OpenStack Meetup, accompanied by fellow Red Hatters, Richard Morrell & Steve Hardy. The event was held in the “Bluefin” building on the south bank of the Thames. Not co-incidentally, since they were organizing this event, this is the same building that Canonical recently moved into. From the meeting space, we were treated to fabulous views across London via the open air roof terrace, and were kept fed & watered with pizza & drinks. Perfect for the hot weather London is currently enjoying.

As well as being an opportunity to meet & greet other people involved/interested in OpenStack, there were 3 talks scheduled.  The presentation room had capacity for approx 100, and the attendees pretty much filled it – probably 85-90 people attending at a guess.  There was a brief introduction / welcome from Mark Baker, then it was straight into the talks, nominally scheduled for 20 minutes a piece.

  • Dave Walker, from Canonical, gave an overall introduction to the OpenStack project, its goals, some background history, all its different components and thoughts for the future. This was at a good high level, to avoid scaring off the less technically minded people in the audience.
  • I was up next, to give a pretty technically focused presentation. The first half described libvirt, and what benefits it provides, over controlling KVM directly. The second half then looked at what libvirt does in the context of Nova, the improvements done for Folsom, and some personal ideas for things to do in Grizzly. If you enjoy looking at lists of bullet points, without any description, the PDF/ODP slides are available.
  • Phil Day, from HP, finished up with an overview of their experiences deploying OpenStack at a large scale & some of scalability problems they’ve hit. It was a mixture of good & bad news, along with useful tips for those deploying. As can be reasonably be expected at this stage in OpenStack’s lifetime, it sounds like there is scope for doing more work to improve ease of maintenance & deployment out of the box.

With the main talks out of the way, there was just time before the food & drinks, to have a 5 minute lightening talk by Steve Hardy on the subject of Heat API. This was a new project to me, and most people in the room. The gist of it, is that it provides an alternative to AWS CloudFormation, using a compatible template syntax & API, to enable easier migration off Amazon, to an OpenStack based cloud. The developers of Heat API are hoping to become an OpenStack Incubator project in the future, and have structured their code to fit in with all normal OpenStack coding practices.

The talks were all professionally video recorded by the technicians in the conference room we used, so I presume they will be published online somewhere in the not too distant future. Richard Morrell also took an audio recording of my talk, to be made available in podcast format soon.

Right at the start of the evening Mark Baker suggested we (the OpenStack London community) should aim to hold a second meetup in the September timeframe, even daring to go monthly after that. There was a call for other companies in the community willing/able to help out with the organization/funding for future meetups  – basically finding a suitable meeting space for ~ 100 people, and providing food + drink. Of course future events will also rely on people volunteering to talk/present on interesting subjects related to OpenStack, to keep the potential audience entertained & informed. Given the success & enjoyment of the 1st meeting, I look forward to many interesting London OpenStack events in the future. Thanks to all the people involved in organizing this 1st event, to the other speakers for their time, and of course the audience for coming along to listen to us all!