Musings on the Austin Summit

This is going to be a bit of a different summit recap than my previous ones. Since Steve Hardy has already posted an excellent summary of the major TripleO topics from this summit, I'm not going to duplicate all of that here.

Instead, this will be a more personally focused post, wherein I reflect on my experience at this summit and how it compared to previous ones. If that kind of navel-gazing sounds incredibly uninteresting, then you might want to pull the rip cord now. :-)

Part of the reason I decided to sit down and write this was that looking back on the week there were some interesting themes that stood out to me. Here are a few words about some of them:

Engaging with the Broader Community

One of my major goals for this summit was to do a better job of engaging with people outside my immediate team, both in the sessions and in the more informal settings where the real work gets done. ;-) In Vancouver and Tokyo, I came away feeling somewhat like I had spent a week talking to the same people that I chat with on IRC or have phone calls with on a regular basis. While this is valuable, and I still had plenty of interaction with those people in Austin, it also feels like I'm missing out on something when there are thousands of other interesting people at the event. Talking OpenStack with random people I've never met before is something I've always enjoyed at previous summits (a conversation in the underwater tunnel at the Georgia Aquarium is probably still the highlight), and I was pleased to see it make a return this time around.

Hallway Track

Somewhat related to the previous point, a lot of my best discussions this time around happened outside of sessions. This isn't necessarily unusual, but it is a marked change from the first summit I went to, which I take as a sign that I have improved at taking advantage of the whole summit environment. I wish I could write a "How To Take Advantage of the Hallway Track" post, but I don't think I can quantify how I did it. I feel like a lot came down to my aforementioned focus on engaging with the community. As much as it pains my introverted self to step out of my comfort zone in social situations, it is worth it. It also helps to be at your fifth summit and have worked on multiple teams for multiple companies though, so I think to some extent the hallway track just takes practice.


I hadn't really planned on pushing OVB yet at this summit because it still required some hacks on the underlying cloud. Then things came together shortly before the event and I was able to do a full OVB deployment on a stock, unmolested TripleO deployment (dedicated blog post about this to come later). This is pretty game-changing as it means it is now theoretically possible to get OVB into the regular upstream infra. There are still significant hurdles to overcome and it may not happen anytime soon, but at least I know it can be done.

And I think there would be significant value to the OpenStack community if we could make that happen. TripleO is already planning to move to OVB for its CI testing, and there were at least two other sessions I attended where I think OVB could be an excellent solution to the problems discussed. The first was the deployment tools session, where a number of the attendees expressed concern at not being able to do realistic multi-node baremetal-style deployments. This is exactly the problem OVB was designed to address.

The other session where I think OVB could be very helpful was the Ironic CI discussion. One of the current blockers in Ironic CI is the ability to do a full Tempest run in CI using the Ironic driver. Due to the current need to use nested virt, full Tempest takes something like 4.5 hours to run, which is long enough to make even the marathon TripleO CI jobs blush. OVB would allow Ironic to use first-level VMs for booting instances during the Tempest tests, which would almost certainly slash the time taken.

Again, this isn't going to happen tomorrow, but these discussions further convinced me that non-TripleO-specific OVB is something we should pursue. It has the potential to benefit OpenStack in a big way.

My Oslo Knowledge Isn't Completely Stale Yet

Just what it says. While I'm no longer up on the most current events in Oslo (although I do still follow the Oslo-related discussions and specs), there are a number of efforts still ongoing that relate to things I was involved with in the past. It was kind of nice to still be able to contribute to the Oslo projects in some small ways. Maybe for Newton I'll finally have time to get back to contributing to Oslo on a more regular basis. Of course, I've said that for about the past three summits, so believe it when you see it. ;-)


I had an interesting experience this summit: About ten seconds after I walked into the venue for the first time on Monday, I ran into no less than three people that I knew. Not shocking by itself - I've been around OpenStack long enough that I know a fair number of people involved with it. The interesting part was that none of these people were developers, and two of the three I had met when they worked for different companies. I don't have any deep meaning to attach to this (it's mostly a result of my having done a number of (potential-)customer visits last year, and this being the first U.S. summit since then), but it was kind of a fun Small World moment, even as OpenStack has grown to be anything but small.


It's become a trend lately that I question whether I need to do these summit recap posts when I get home. After all, there's always a ton of other people blogging about summit, many of whom are writing about topics that overlap what I would cover. I keep doing it anyway because even if I feel like a summit was not as productive as I wanted it to be, when I sit down to write my recap I realize just how much we actually accomplished, even if it wasn't all we wanted to. So I'll probably keep doing these just for the warm fuzzies, and if I manage to accidentally stumble on some nuggets of wisdom that are useful to someone else then so much the better. :-)