Openstack Summit, Vancouver – Day 1 (May 2015)


Manhattan with mountains” according to The ­New York Times when describing Vancouver, BC. Well, this week its not just home to the Vancouver Canucks ice-hockey team, but the picturesque city is also playing host to the May 2015 Openstack Summit.


The Keynote

Opening the show this morning, Executive Director of Openstack Foundation, Jonathan Bryce, reminded us that these summits aren’t just an annual affair but mark each software release. This particular event is presenting the launch of Kilo, Openstack 11.


Common to Openstack, and something I, personally, appreciate seeing, Bryce asks that everyone in the audience who contributed to the development of Kilo rise from their seats for an appreciative round of applause. On a more solemn note, he then went on to dedicate this release to Chris Yeoh, a contributor and community mentor, who passed away last month.


With the sense of community and comradery at an all-time high, Bryce then turned the audience attention towards the road to an Openstack-powered Planet with mention of important developments in Identity Federation–making it significantly easier to manage workloads across distributed Openstack environments. This sentiment, too, was met with applause.


Customer Evidence

Bryce then introduced Guillaume Aubuchon, CTO & Managing Partner at Digital FilmTree, and a familiar keynote speaker at Openstack Summits. “A 44 minute television episode starts with approximately 216,000 minutes of footage”, said Aubuchon, who then went on to explain the processes involved in taking that huge volume of raw, 4k video footage and making it into a single episode. He walked the audience through an example, a new television show called “Unreal”, where footage was shot in the morning in Vancouver, pushed to Los Angeles for editing, and then streamed in Vancouver for review that same afternoon. “This was not possible three years ago”, said Aubuchon before reminding the audience that an underlying platform supportive of workflow, a platform like Openstack, is critical to achieve this.


Next up we have Openstack contributors, and Openstack super-user finalists, Comcast. With a panel of three representing, the Comcast-trio briefly share how their on-demand video platform runs on Openstack. In 4 weeks they can get an app up and running, and scale it up for customers. Their Openstack infrastructure tripling since the Atlanta Openstack Summit in May 2014, and doubling since the Paris Summit of November 2014.


Amandeep Singh Juneja, Sr Director, Cloud Design and Engineering of Walmart, also an Openstack Super-user finalist, took the stage next. After a brief history of Walmart’s technology evolution, barcodes, worlds largest private satellite network, RFID, and a few others, Amandeep then explained the most recent challenge they are solving: Digital Scale. Last year over 1.5 billion page views over the holiday period consisting of both traditional web sites and mobile apps, and growing fast.


Amandeep explained todays realm for Walmart, eCommerce 3.0: Any Product, Anytime, Anywhere. “Customers can buy, on-line, any item from any store and have it delivered to them anywhere. But how do you scale this?”, he said. Walmart’s criteria for a rapid provisioning platform that is also flexible and elastic lead them to Openstack. Amandeep stating that Openstacks “Continuous Improvement <> Continuous Feedback from 100’s of enterprise scale consumers” is what has lead to its success.


Bryce returns to the stage to thank the sponsors that make the event possible and then introduces Mark Interrante, SVP Engineering, HP Cloud, who started off reflecting on some 2010 predictions:

  • Planetary scale
  • Authentication, authorization and accounting
  • Support for Hybrid scenarios
  • Federation


Acknowledging that many of these themes are the same today, but that we have moved closer to achieving it, he then shared HP’s commitment to Openstack, “HP had 250 people contribute to the Kilo release”.


Notably, Interrante communicated his appreciation for the growth in the “Openstack Operator” community–a key turning point for Openstack, the surge of Openstack Operators.


“Openstack needs to be simpler. You shouldn’t need a PhD to run it.“ said Interrante.

Met with applause, he assured the audience that his teams are heavily committed to simplifying the operator experience of Openstack. He reflected briefly upon how far they had already come but that he expects much more in the near future, in order to drive greater adoption.


Next up, Graeme Peacock, VP Engineering, TD Bank Group, started out with a career history: creating software at UBS, Citi Group, Deutsche Bank. He then explained how that’s the perfect background for running infrastructure. “Who better to improve infrastructure than the guy who’s been building software all his life”.


On purchasing decisions, Peacock explains, “It seems cheaper to throw bodies at the problem when you aren’t thinking beyond the [product] acquisition date”.  The selection of technologies that support automation will drive greater savings in the longer term, he suggested.


“Its not always easy”, acknowledged Peacock. “We have 27 different versions of Tomcat to support”. This is a regular problem for organizations and makes it difficult to build a common, repeatable architecture when so many variables exist to manage.


This raises a great question for those looking at a more agile infrastructure. Is your application architecture, agility ready?


Up next, Robin Windsor, President and CEO of Cybera: a not for profit organization focused on K–12 education. Cybera were first, after NASA, to put Openstack into production and, consequently, played a large part in influencing its development. Windsor closed his short session promoting community as the path to success.


The final customer-evidence speaker, Dave Wright, Founder and CEO of Solidfire, stepped up to the stage at his 7th Openstack Summit. Wright left Rackspace 5 years previous to start storage company, Solidfire. He promoted the importance of partnership – something I, too, believe strongly in: Forging Partnerships to Deliver on the SDN Vision, SDxCentral.


He requested of the audience, via the return-fire of toy rockets (don’t ask) the question: “Where would you take your cloud if storage was not a limitation?”

The first three answer of the MANY rockets then laying on stage:

A: “I would re-enact the fax machine scene from Office Space on my SAN”

A: “I would move all my applications to the cloud”

A: “I would stop thinking about storage and start thinking about data”


After a thoroughly enjoyable session from Wright, Bryce closed out the keynote session referring back to the Federated Identity initiative and how important it is to the Openstack-planet goal.



Planetary Scale seemed to be the strongest theme of the keynote, and a clever plan it seems with focusing first on transparency between Openstack deployments with Identity Federation and simplicity across workflow implementation and management. However, and always welcome, is the strong undertone community that is everything in Openstack.

[Get Day 2 coverage here]



Published May 19, 2015
Version 1.0

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