Reflecting on the OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong

We have come such a long way since November 9, 2010, when I attended my first-ever OpenStack Summit in San Antonio Texas. I couldn’t pronounce Vishvananda Ishaya’s name, I kept interchanging swift and nova code names, and I could hardly remember two Linux commands in a row. But I got some great t-shirts, kept asking questions, got answers from encouraging co-workers and community members, and I learned as quickly as I could. Fake it ’til you make it, right? Fast forward three years, and we come to the first non-US-based OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong, my seventh. Here’s a summary of my favorites.

Dragon welcome dance

What else would we do to get ready for the Summit on the other side of the globe than be welcomed by two dancing dragons! This was a perfect start to the week.
Dragon dance opening

Summit 101 session

I helped with the OpenStack Design Summit 101 again this time, where we let newcomers know how the sessions go, what to expect, how to get the most out of the sessions. Loïc Dachary, Thierry Carrez and I talked about what PTLs want to get out of the summit, how blueprints work, and fielded good questions, all of which are Q&A on https://etherpad.openstack.org/p/icehouse-101. Here are a couple, see the Etherpad for more.
Q: Is the idea to discuss one specific blueprint?
A: More generally, how to we do X, and what blueprints are required to do that. Depends on the session, what blueprints already exist in the area, impact on multiple projects, etc.

Q: Do we make decisions about the specifics of the design?
A: Again depends on session, some session leaders will want a recorded decision as the outcome of the session. At the very least at the end of the session aim to know what the next step is.

If you’re curious, this is pretty much what design summit sessions look like. We intently read the Etherpad displayed on the screen, and if you sit forward, it means you have something to contribute to the discussion.

In an Infra session

Install guide, unleashed

Midweek, I had to make an observation – we’ve never had a working install guide at the Summit until Havana, and the fact we have one has been super helpful for getting it tested. There were doc comments overnight each day of the Summit. I told the docs team through the mailing list:

We need to be sure we are keeping up with the changes to the install guide by fixing what people tell us is wrong. Let’s make install guide bug fixes top priority for the next week to capitalize on all the testing that has come in.

Also, please update https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/HavanaDocTesting. For example, there are doc comments confirming a page works on 13.04. We need to ensure that’s captured in the wiki page so we have an accurate assessment.

Thanks all for the work on the install guide — it is paying off, let’s take the time to clean up what’s being tested.

Sure enough, we have merged in over 50 changes in a week, complete with backports to ensure the Havana install guide gets better and better.

Meet the Technical Committee

One of the highlights of the week was the opportunity to sit on the big stage with my fellow technical committee members. We answered prepared questions from Thierry Carrez, and also queries from the audience. One audience question I didn’t jump on is at 32:40, “… you’re representative of your communities, we are in China, but there is no Asian on the podium. What can you do to actually try to improve the situation?”

John Griffith answered, it’s a matter of who has contributed, and who wants it badly enough to do the work and lead the way. Michael Still said, “You have to be in it to win it,” and noted that Beijing had the highest number last release, but it’ll take time for contributors to self-nominate and run for a spot. Mark McClain noted that as a contributor from Ireland, he has faced the facts as well that he’s in a region with fewer contributors, but he acknowledges how much our understanding of a meritocracy is cultural, and that it’s not shared by everyone. We have to talk about diversity because we don’t have a massive amount of it. I agree that it’s not easy, and I know what it means to feel underrepresented. I think outreach is a great path forward, and I’m dedicated to it for women. I’d love to see more outreach to other communities and learn from them the cultural norms that we can take to the TC and keep working on diversity. It’s a marathon and not a sprint, that’s for certain. We can get better as a community, though, and we need to iterate on ideas all the time. Glad it was brought up in this forum.

Meet the OpenStack Technical Committee

OpenStack Operations Guide

We announced the O’Reilly Early Edition of the OpenStack Operations Guide last week. I had some fun on Twitter trying to get people to guess the animal on the cover. I blogged about it on the OpenStack blog, take a look.

Hong Kong itself

The most incredible thing about OpenStack Summits is all the stackers there together. I never had trouble finding people to go sightseeing with. Here’s the one sightseeing day I had, going on a “crystal bottom” cable car ride to get to a big Buddha statue with a monastery nearby with my teammate Everett Toews, whose write up is on his blog.

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We went to the Night Market one evening to buy gifts and eat super fresh seafood. 
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All in all it was an amazing trip and another great Summit. I’m so grateful to the OpenStack Foundation and Rackspace for making it happen for me for the seventh time. Feels like a lucky Summit.