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CloudStack Collaboration EU 13: The Esprit De Corps of Open Source

I started to write this post after CloudStack Collaboration Conference EU (CCCEU) a few weeks ago but I was so exhausted I simply passed out. The conference was so good that while my mind was willing my body slept for 16 hours to recover. Despite the delay I think that it was an event of significant note.  

CCCEU was a gathering of almost 400 people from over 30 countries to discuss Apache CloudStack. It’s very seldom that I would describe time spent talking about software to be euphoric but I can’t think of a better word.  I found it particularly notable how effective a small group of volunteers can be as they came together in support of a cause they believe in.  While this event had all the trappings of a regular software industry event beautiful venue (the Beurs van Berlage the spark for modern Dutch architecture a very fitting venue for what I believe is the spark for private cloud platforms), numerous talks by industry luminaries, exhibits, live entertainment and free drinks. Though there was something ineffable about the atmosphere. It was very collaborative and despite many people competing for attention, resources and vendors with overlapping solutions, I didn’t detect a bit of animosity among the participants.  This video does a good job showing the spirit of the event. 

 

Community of Code and the Apache Way

What got me hooked on open source in the first place was its esprit de corps; which I saw manifested at  at CCCEU. The feeling was palpable. Open source is unique in it provides raw materials at a negligible cost for people to do amazing things and the mechanism for sharing ideas is equally accessible. Imagine if you would Ford and Chevrolet having access to free raw materials and parts for building their cars and a customer mandate to collaborate on driving standardization between their vehicles. It’s unfathomable. Though that kind of collaboration takes shape every day in the world of open source software a theme I touched in during my keynote, The Why of CloudStack.

Some of the other amazing keynotes (being posted to You Tube) came from CFengine founder and configuration management pioneer Mark Burgess who talked about Uncertain Cloud Infrastructures in a keynote and his skepticism of deterministic management models (see this presentation from Devops Days to get the gist). Dell’s resident DevOps expert John Willis talked the convergence of virtualized networks and trends in DevOps in another keynote espousing the growing agile operations principles (on a side note his ignite talk Deming to Devops was also killer). In his opening remarks Chip Childers, VP of Apache CloudStack, showed off some pretty impressive traction on the humble but vibrant project, 21,000 commits, hundreds of developers producing over 2.5 million lines of code in a very short amount of time. Childers also showed off hundreds of clouds in production (as no one buys CloudStack we he only had anecdotes about the most vocal users) including Autodesk, BT, Gilt.com, TomTom, AutoTrader, SunGard, and many, many more.

Another bright spot was that the ringleader for the event wasn’t a marketing guru or a conference organizer it was an affable Agile Scrum Master, Harm Boertien for mission-critical systems integrator, Schuberg Philis who provides high-end application support on CloudStack clouds. The company does make money-providing services but they leverage open source to do so, not unlike Amazon who built their cloud utilizing numerous open source technologies like Linux and Xen.  Though they are a small company of a less than 200 and they dedicated hundreds of man-hours to organizing the event for reasons that transcend self-promotion and lead generation. Their generosity was not an anomaly; scores of people donated their time and expertise to the event. Sponsors including Citrix, NetApp, VMware, Splunk, Sungard and many, many more provided financial support to make the event a success. 

Why CloudStack

While not a true open source disciple Steve Jobs was effective at using open source in many of his projects including OS X but he made a point in general that is especially relevant to CloudStack. 

“A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”

I really feel that the huge input from users (not software vendors alone) with a broad variety of experience are active in the CloudStack design process makes it a premium solution. Their first hand experience is what drives CloudStack. CloudStack is easy to use and provide highly scalable cloud orchestration of compute, storage and network resources. It's also very extensible to include other technologies that are better developed outside of the project. This focus on a core platform that provides a beautiful self-service interface and good coordination of resources across geographic regions is what has made CloudStack successful to day and provides a platform for further innovation. 

One to Grow On

While I felt the CCCEU was a raging success I was a little saddened. Not by the event or the people that were there but by those that were not. With all the fanfare around cloud computing there is a huge amount of interest in deploying cloud infrastructure and CloudStack is an excellent solution though considerably lesser known than many others. Though the voice of the project is somewhat subdued compared to those of bigger cloud providers like Amazon and organizations like the OpenStack Foundation with massive marketing resources as a result of being housed in an organization known for their ability to produce software not promote it, The Apache Software Foundation. Not that anyone is better than the others it's just in the absence of awareness people are missing out on a great option if they haven't heard about CloudStack. I sincerely hope that someday CloudStack will no longer be "the best kept secret in the cloud" and awareness from events like these continue to spread the word. If you get the chance to visit a CloudStack meet-up or other event I can assure you it would be well worth your time.  

Related Links:

The CloudStack Collaboration Conference Website

CloudStack Collaboration Conference on YouTube

CloudStack Collaboration Conference on FlickrThe Mission Critical Cloud: CloudStack Collaboration Conference Europe

CCCEU13 on Twitter 

Verslag Cloudstack Collaboration

CloudEvangelist - Podcast: Antoine Coetsier – Exoscale

Cloud Evangelist - Podcast: Funs Kessen – building EU Clouds

Cloud Evangelist - Hybrid Cloud Environments & SDS

Computerworld NL - Stack Wars? Die bestaan helemaal niet!

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Guest Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Open@Citrix

Citrix supports the open source community via developer support and evangeslism. We have a number of developers and evangelists that participate actively in the open source community in Apache Cloudstack, OpenDaylight, Xen Project and XenServer. We also conduct educational activities via the Build A Cloud events held all over the world. 

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