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Insider Tips to Get the Best of OpenStack Summit and Vancouver

By May 16, 2015Uncategorized

Flying into a cloudy Vancouver

Vancouver is infamous for cloudy weather. I should know, I grew up there. As I fly into the YVR for the OpenStack Summit taking place there this week, it will be cloudy… not wet (fingers-crossed), but foggy. Vendor fog. It’s baffling how many vendors show up at the OpenStack summits. There are simply way too many to know them all or consider them all if you’re building cloud infrastructure. What’s an IT practitioner to do to navigate the selection of sessions and exhibits? You need a shorthand, the top 20% not the bottom 80%.

Here are my 3 rules of thumb when it comes to getting the cream and cutting out the rest of the crop this week.

1. Lock-in to Open

Making a decision always locks you in to some extent. The root of the word decide literally came from a meaning of cutting off all other alternatives. But locking into open source gives you hedge. Decide to go the open source route. At least you’ll paint yourself into corners with many doors instead of a dark gameover-reboot scenario (aka rip and replace). If you’re at the summit this week, shortcut your navigation by visiting the open source players first and foremost. You’ll find me in the OpenContrail-related sessions and booth. The OpenStack crowd loves open source. Hit up these best and brightest open sourcers, staying in harmony with the future of the tech and in harmony with your open sourcing human nature.

2. Fly into the Cloud with IFR

Drawing on more in-flight inspiration here… Pilots fly Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) when in cloudy and foggy weather. Moreover, fly-by-wire and auto-pilot makes their job all the easier. With the help of these computer systems they don’t need to see exactly where they are going because the instruments and computer make adjustments for the pilot and know the way, the other planes, the terrain, the conditions etc. When it comes to navigating the OpenStack summit, by flying “by the instruments,” I mean get to the data, the numbers, the truth. Like I said, with abounding vendor fog and marketing fluff, get to the sessions, demos and conversations where you can trust the information being presented. Listen to real-life deployments where numbers are presented. By the instruments and by autopilot with respect to cloud infrastructure, I mean choose automation. At Juniper we recently wrote on automation toward the goal of total cloud orchestration… the holy grail. But to get to the pearly gates resting upon cloud orchestration, you need intelligent automatic infrastructure on which you built your platform for innovation.

3. Work Backwards

It’s easy to get caught up in OpenStack as a general recipe for cloud infrastructure and start looking into all the drivers and complementary bells and whistles. The reality of building a cloud, is that you have a purpose for it. Start with the end in mind. No one wakes up in the morning and says, “I need OpenStack.” Everyone starts with a business or IT challenge or opportunity in mind. Know it and work backwards. Are you offering SaaS? Are you doing Dev/test? Are you running an internal Enterprise app? Are you running VNFs? Are you repatriating from a public cloud? Are you data warehousing? Do you need hybrid cloud flexibility? Do you need a guaranteed level of availability? Do have a fixed budget 😉 ? Whatever the purpose and in turn, the many requirements, work backwards from the business to IT to the applications and then platforms that you will need to run. Share your story with the booth staff or in Q&A, and ask what they can do for your case. Once you know your apps and platforms, research which ones run on OpenStack and search for OpenStack distros, drivers, and infrastructure components that have a track record of running them (look at vendor partnerships for help here) and will meet your requirements. As above, bias open source, finding numbers that don’t lie, and automation.

The Best of Vancouver

Hopefully these 3 tips get you to the best of the OpenStack summit and cloud infrastructure choices in general. As I said above, I’m originally from Vancouver. While it is often overcast, the spring is usually quite nice, and on a sunny day, there is no city more beautiful in my biased opinion (and a lot of folks agree). Since I’m not just an open source and cloud SME and evangelist, but also one for Vancouver, here is what I recommend you catch outside the summit.

What Else to do in Vancouver

1. Go up Grouse Mountain on a sunny day. If you are an avid hiker, do the Grouse Grind and take the tram down. Beware the grind is challenging, but very rewarding when you make it.
2. Breathe the BC forest air, whilst trekking thru Lynn Canyon Park. There is a free suspension bridge there, or you can pay to walk the Capilano suspension bridge which is close to Grouse Mountain if your short on time and need a twofer.
3. Taste, drink, and browse the Granville Island Market. You can opt to get a water taxi from/to Yaletown which is another cool spot.
4. Bike, blade, walk or run the seawall. You can start from Yaletown and go all the way around Stanley Park ending up back at Coal Harbour at the summit’s Vancouver convention center. Walking all this would take a while because it is about 10kms, so perhaps if walking, stick to Stanley Park and Coal Harbour.
5. If you have an extra day or two, visit Whistler village.

PS get your espresso at Cafe Artigiano or JJ Bean.