OpenStack Summit Is Coming To Australia And There's Something For Everyone

During the first week of November, the OpenStack Summit is coming to Australia for the first time. With sessions focussing on the needs of everyone from the OpenStack newbie through to seasoned professionals with years of experience, the Summit is a biannual event that takes place in different cities around the world. I spoke with Mark Collier, the of the COO OpenStack Foundation, to find out what we can expect from the Sydney event.

"We can't quite be satisfied having an annual event like most communities," said Collier. "We decided with a community this diverse and global we really need to do it twice a year".

Collier said OpenStack users and those looking at the cloud platform come from all over the world, often from as many sixty different countries, to the summit events. The summit brings together "makers and doers" who are looking, not only to learn what's new but also to share and solve problems. As many different vendors across the storage, compute and network sectors are members of the OpenStack community, as well as users from myriad different companies and industries, Collier says there is a great diversity in approaches to solving problems and growing the platform.

In order to manage the diversity of views and approaches, Collier said all of the content is considered by broad representation of the OpenStack community. Track chairs volunteer their time to looks at topics across a broad cross-section of various areas such as infrastructure and operations. They put together a shell of what they think the summit could cover.

The organisers receive in excess of 1000 submissions for speakers at each summit. The community members vote on which speakers and sessions they think will be of most interest and the track chairpeople choose the "best of the best", said Collier. SMEs choose the best speakers.

In addition, Collier says there are also more interactive sessions, called forums which are like round-tables where developers and experts get together to look into the deep detail of various topic areas to find solutions to specific problems.

And, as you'd expect at an event like this, there will be a hackathon as well with the key topic areas being Edge Computing, Scientific Research, or Market Viability.

Although some of the content is determined well in advance, other parts, said Collier, aren't finalised until very close to the even launch, depending on what is topical right at the time of the event. And, of course, there will be keynote addresses by people from large organisations with fancy job titles from large OpenStack installations such as Australia's Commonwealth Bank.

One of the big things Collier sees happening is how OpenStack is integrating and working with other open source technologies.

"The question is what's going to be combined with OpenStack to power this big wave of infrastructure. People are doing things with Kubernetes and OpenStack or other interesting container-type projects. We'll be hearing from them as well".

As OpenStack is now a very mature platform, there will be many conference attendees and speakers with vast experience and exercise. But Collier said there will also be plenty of opportunities for newbies to learn about the platform.

"We have been working on beefing up our 'OpenStack 101' content for the last couple of Summits and this will definitely be the case in Sydney. We have a number of dedicated sessions for newcomers as it is hard to be thrown in the deep-end".

This will help people to decipher all the technical jargon and acronyms as well as better understand where and how OpenStack could fit into their enterprise. Those sessions will be hosted on the first day.

I asked Collier how someone who wants to justify attending the OpenStack Summit could make a business case to their boss.

"In the infrastructure world, it's absolutely moving to cloud in every form. In the open infrastructure world, OpenStack is the de facto standard. When you think about people innovating in data centres and at edge computing - the foremost experts in those fields will be in the room in Sydney. Time is of the essence for every company - they want to move faster. This is the best place in the world to be to talk to talk to people who have architected extremely scalable systems, the people who implemented it, the people who made the mistakes that you don't want to repeat - learning from people who have done this cloud transformation you might be tasked with - this is where you want to be".

You can register for OpenStack Summit here.

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