OpenStack Summit Boston 2017 recap

Monday 15 May 2017 OpenStack, Gnocchi Comments

The first OpenStack Summit of 2017 was last week, in Boston, MA, USA. I was able to attend as I've been selected to give 3 talks, to help for a hands-on and to animate an on-boarding session. This made sure I was a bit busy every day, which was good.

This is the first summit to happen since the new Project Team Gathering (PTG) happened last February. I was unable to attend this first PTG back then, as there was no way to justify my presence there. The OpenStack Telemetry team that I lead is pretty small. People don't really need to talk to each other face to face to discuss: therefore we decided to not ask to be present during the last PTG event.

The Telemetry on-boarding session that I organized with my fellow developer Gordon Chung on Tuesday had only 3 people showing up to ask a few questions about Telemetry. The session lasted 15 minutes on 90 planned. We shared that session with CloudKitty, for which nobody showed up for. When you think about it, this was really disappointing but did not come as a surprise.

First, the amount of company engaging developers into OpenStack has shrunk drastically during the last year. Secondly, since there's now another event (the PTG) twice a year, it seems pretty clear that every developer will not be able to attend all the 4 events every year, creating dispersion in the community.

I personally was glad to attend the Summit rather than the PTG, as it is more valuable to meet operators and users than developers to gather feedback. However, meeting everyone at the same time would be great, especially for smaller teams. The PTG scattered some teams to a point that many of developers of those lineups won't go to either the PTG nor the OpenStack. As a consequence, I won't have any meeting point in the future with many of my fellow developers around OpenStack. I warned the Technical Committee last year about this when it was decided to reorganize the events. I'm glad to be right but I'm a bit sad that the Foundation did not listen.

Though all the projects I work on tend to follow the good practice I wrote last year. Therefore I cannot say that it has huge consequences on the projects I work on. It's a loss as it makes it harder to reach users and operators for some of us. It also reduces our occasion for social interaction, which was a great benefit. But it will not prevent us from building great software anyway!

The few other sessions of The Forum (the space dedicated to developers during the Summit) that I attended discussed various technical things, and some sessions were pretty empty. I wonder if it was a lack of interest of people or if people were unable to travel to discuss those items. Anyhow, at this stage I am not sure it would have really mattered: this has been my 9th OpenStack Summit and many of the subjects discussed already have been discussed multiple time with barely any change since. Talk is cheap. Furthermore, most of the discussion were not made by stakeholders of the various projects involved, but by people on the side, or by members of the Technical Committee. There is just unfortunately too much of wishful thinking.

On the talk side, my presentation with Alex Krzos entitled Telemetry and the 10,000 instances went pretty well. We demonstrated what how we tested the performance of the telemetry stack. Same goes for my hands-on with the CloudKitty developers, where we managed to explain how Ceilometer, Gnocchi, and CloudKitty were able to work with each other to create nice billing reports. The last day was concluded with my talk on collectd and Gnocchi with Emma, which was short and to the point. My final talk was about the status and roadmap of the OpenStack Telemetry team where I tried to explain how the Telemetry works and what we might do (or not) in the next cycles. It was pretty short as we barely have a roadmap, the project having 3 developers doing 80% of the work.

I was also able to catch up with Nubeliu about their Gnocchi usage. They presented a nice demo of the cloud monitoring solution they build on top of Gnocchi. They completely understood how to use Gnocchi to store a large number of metrics at scale and how to leverage the API to render what's happening in your infrastructure. It is pretty amazing.

While I missed the energy and the drive that the design session used to have in the first summits, it has been a pretty good summit. I was especially happy to be able to discuss OpenStack Telemetry and Gnocchi. The feedback I gathered was tremendous and terrific and I'm looking forward to the work we'll achieve in the next months!