Last Tuesday night (17/5) in Melbourne saw the the 2nd meetup of the Melbourne contingent of the Australian OpenStack User Group. It was a fantastic night with great speakers and a great group of people who are passionate about OpenStack. There was a mix of people with various OpenStack experience, from the NeCTAR team who have made contributions to the source, to IT staff from various companies trying to get a handle on the new technology that everyone is talking about.
The evening started with Tristan Goode (Aptira) welcoming the group to the meetup, then sharing his impressions of the recent OpenStack conference in San Francisco, which he believes was the best conference he has been to in over 20 years in the IT industry.
Tom Fifield (NeCTAR) gave an energetic talk about the OpenStack project. It’s the fastest moving open source project he has ever seen, and he is glad to see the openness of the project being protected by the founding of a non-profit organisation that will hold all the IP and trademarks of the project. An open attitude to the project will lead to a better product in the end. OpenStack is real and its ready for use now, the current Essex release will have long term support on Ubuntu.
Angus Salkeld (Red Hat) gave a demo of project Heat. Heat provides a mechanism to provision up PaaS configurations, via template. It supports versioning of templates and the full PaaS installation. His WordPress demo brought up a MySQL instance and an apache instance, in approx. 5 minutes.
The final speaker of the night was John Dickinson (Rackspace), discussing the Swift component of OpenStack. He provided some history to the project, where Rackspace were at when they decided to embark on what is now Swift, a massively scalable object storage, allowing you to store unstructured data without bounds. He also described the design of the system, providing details on the core components of Swift, the object server, the proxy server, consistency server and rings.
One of the principles of the design was to reduce the impact on the operational staff, running with minimal manual intervention. Impressive considering it aims to store data reliably on unreliable hardware.
John is also very passionate about open source, he sees OpenStack as a way to overcome data sovereignty issues which are a growing concern with Australia and other parts of the world. It is amazing that people of this calibre are willing to make themselves available to a relatively small user group.
The meetup is an unbelievable opportunity to meet not just other people who use the technology, but the people who build it and contribute to it. Everyone is so enthusiastic about where OpenStack is right now and where it plans to be in the future. If you’re using OpenStack now you really need to come along to the next meetup, if you’re just playing around with OpenStack you definitely need to be at the next meetup, if you just want to find out more about OpenStack then there is no better place to be than the next meetup.