Trip to OpenNebulaconf


This year also saw the first ever OpenNebula conference. I was there for a really short time only, since I’d been coming from the open source backup conference at cologne.

Let me say it was a harder, longer trip than I could handle, two conferences in two days is already bad, but if you also need to prepare stuff it gets rough.

So, how was it?

Getting there: the (almost endless) ride

So, an almost sleepless ride to cologne and then another pretty long one to berlin, a short nap, and every free minute spend on the lab (the server failed the final test reboot like 2 hours before my 3am train departed…). A disaster, but at least the people started to be less rude (running into you, etc) the closer I got to berlin.

At some point there was a nice young consultant woman sitting next to me who *also* fought sleep while she frantically worked on some papers. Couldn’t help smiling.

By the time I arrived I had like 37 hours of work/talks/travel versus 3 hours of sleep. You bet I *love* the beds at my fav berlin hotel (park inn alexanderplatz) when I arrive after a ride like that.

I’m in the wrong place and there’s a nazi for breakfast.

The next day started out bad – the hotel was *called*, but not located at, Alexanderplatz. Not fun considering I had to put down a lot of money to get a room at Alexanderplatz, had planned to save some time by being close by to the venue, and that I had a kinda weird cab driver to take me to the other place. Being completely exhausted even in the morning I really didn’t care to hear about the lower amounts of foreign population in East-berlin due to the non-exchangeable nature of the GDR mark.

Last to go

Having arrived I found the conference reception desk, and apparently I was totally the last person to arrive:  the guy at the desk immediately knew who I am. I browsed around a little, immediately caught sight of the super cool inovex opennebula lab (acrylic casing, 8 i5 nodes), then had some coffee and settled for the sofa.

Oh, THERE!

I tried to get my “personal IT” working so I could drop a message to carlo daffara who only had little time left till his flight and at some point I realized the impatient guy around the corner was him, waiting. 🙂

With that sorted we spent almost two hours chatting and I was surprised at some of the stuff they’re doing at cloudweavers. It doesn’t easily happen that you meet anyone up for a discussion of IO queue/latency/bw issues. Like, noone. Less than that if you’re talking about CEOs. Now, there he is and he’s even got real solutions in the works that noone has ever worked on as methodically. And stuff like this is all just a little sidequest for cloudweavers. I’m amazed.

Lunch break? Slides!

So far I had seen no talks but at least got to watch the amazing lightning talks – once they’re online, watch all of them.

I tried to make my slides more useful, fixed bugs in my new opennebula nagios checks and, well, generally panicked.

Then it was time for the talk, and I tried to do well. 🙂

Slides suck!

Next time I’ll stick with 5 slides and just tell what I think – I don’t need that bullshit powerpoint to get people interested so why bother.

I think I managed to have some minds *click* on the idea of monitoring the large scope of an infrastructure instead of just details. One of the key points was to monitor free capacity instead of usage. In a cloud env I think this is a must have.

I didn’t get the time to add a single tiny BI rule for my setup, so I skipped most of the business intelligence part.

One sad/funny point was that I went on forever about fully dynamic configuration, but missed the main point:

This will be a downloadable selfconfiguring monitoring appliance you can get via the marketplace.

I just didn’t remember to say it.

The reception was good anyway and I hope I helped some of the people – not to mention that it was really hard to talk in front of so many of them! I’m still suprised if someone comes to me and says he liked the talk. Some day I’ll stop worrying.

0.25 days of conference left

I watched a few more talks and it was hard to decide which one to look at – for example I went to hear about rOCCI and it was very worth it but missed the talk from BBC. I’m so looking forward to the recordings.

After that talk, there was another break and then the conference ended with a very short speech from the OpenNebula guys. Many people including me just kept sitting, still eager for more talks. Seems there’s room for a 3-day conference if the topic is that interesting 🙂

What else…

I think it was great that there was multiple companies behind hosting the conference, it seemed to open up discussions a little. I was surprised that the NetWays team really held back marketing wise, which is far different from what I heard from (non-MK 🙂 visitors of other (mostly monitoring-) conferences they have a role in. They did an incredibly good job at organizing stuff. It’s hard to describe – I’m used to the utter chaos of CCC and such conferences and what Netways put up is the exact opposite. Everything worked. Everyone I talked to was happy with how smooth the conference went. Really, great work.

After the conference I had some sleep and then went for drinks with the opennebula guys. Sitting outside after a few burgers I had the second “unfun” event of the day when some old unhappy man started to insult, attack and shove around random people of the group. My first thought was just “yeah right, that’s what we get for being in Mitte instead of Kreuzberg”.

Since I was the only german I tried to tell him to stop acting like a 12-year old idiot, but to little success. After some time he finally left. I think this guy was actually just full of self-hate and wanted someone to hit him. Very weird.

How did I make it back?

After this unasked interruption we moved on a few corners and went to CCCP bar, which was still mostly a tourist place, but a lot more the Berlin I’m used to. Good drinks, a lot of opennebula and other chat and a nice bartender(ess) made it very hard to leave.

At 3 or 4 I still somehow started walking back to my hotel. I have no clue how I actually got there.

The next day I got a lot more sleep and instead of getting drunk again I was already adding some more bugfixes to the KVM checks 🙂

Although I missed the OpenNebula team – they’re extremely interesting and nice people.

Final words

I missed some of the best talks, plus the hacking sessions, plus the gettogether. Next year I shall not make that mistake!

Soon I’ll also do a writeup about the technical  bits of the monitoring thingy.

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