CloudCamp Gent 2011

I am at the CloudCamp Ghent and can share some notes.

VMware Cloud Foundry

  • Lode Vermeiren, VMware.
  • Talk on Slideshare
  • Long part about VMware products and history that are cloud related.
  • It got actually interesting once he started to demo stuff.
    • The good part was that it was very authentic (e.g. not all parts where working).
    • The bad part was that there was not so much to see, just some basic "upload my simple Hello World app"
  • The speaker distributed USB Keys with a VM and registration codes for the Cloud Foundry service.
  • Look at http://cloudfoundry.com/micro and use the cloudcampgh code for instant access (till November 26th). Without the code invites might take a couple of days to activate.
Combell Cloud Cases
  • Company is sponsor, this is a short sales pitch
  • Quite refreshing in its brevity
"Devops in the Cloud" is a pleonasm

  • Andrew Shafer (Reductive Labs / CloudScaling)
  • Thesis: Clouds exist only due to DevOps
  • On the question "did you solve the configuration management problem" he suggested packaging it and referred to our package deployment :-)
  • As his laptop did not work he started an interesting discussion about clouds, devops and corporate mindset
  • Bottom line:
    • Total automation
    • Short feedback loops between everybody involved
  • I think that this talk about DevOps and Cloud fits the subject: Prying the Cloud Open: Dell Crowbar & OpenStack, it also fits the OpenStack theme of the CloudCamp OpenStack workshop.
Microsoft Cloud Strategy
  • He started by announcing a "commercial break" before the coffee break. +1 for self-humor.
  • Eventually, every regular product should be available as a cloud service.
  • Office365 is just the start
  • Nothing really useful. But thanks to Microsoft for sponsoring this event.
Manage Non-Cloud Dev & Test Environment With a Cloud Hat On
Source: http://www.facebook.com/patrick.debois
  • Patrick Debois, devopsdays.org and others.
  • Download the talk from Slideshare.
  • Telling his story that brought him to the cloud.
  • His presentations was either plain b/w graphics or really nice cloud photos like
Source: http://www.collthings.co.uk/2008/06/10-very-rare-clouds.html
  • Quote: "Buy a new laptop every year" - The cost of a new laptop is much less than the loss in productivity due to ressource limitations. +1 that.
  • Interesting: Pay attention how the focus and understanding changes and evolves when going from local to cloud.
  • Abstraction through cloud libraries: Jclouds, Fog, Boto
  • Trick: Reuse the same workflows internally and in the cloud.
  • One cannot always do everything in the cloud, but you can shape your internal IT as a cloud
  • Here developed a good discussion
  • Challenges: Orchestration - No good and integrated solution available.
Cloud and Security A match made in heaven?
Sorry, it got too dark for my crap phone to take photos.
Challenges of Running and Scaling Cassandra in the Cloud
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/acunu_london/5343106364/]andy.ormsby
  • Andy Ormsby
  • Cloud challenges:
    • Performance of single node (significantly) less that physical server
    • Availability, stuff breaks
  • Apache Cassandra tries to answer these challenges
  • OK, this seems to be a Cassandra 101 talk. If you missed this one then try this Slideshare search.
  • As usual, the stories not written on the slides make the talk worthwhile.
I better don't write abou the telenet vendor talk, but I would rather use this opportunity to thank them vor sponsoring the event.

A Practical Introduction to OpenStack
Source: http://www.facebook.com/dysinger

That was the last "official" talk, now off to the break-out sessions. Let's see what we get today. Unfortunately half or more than half of the people left and did not stay for the break out sessions.

The topics where:
  • Private Cloud
  • Identity Management
  • Auto Scaling
  • Orchestration
Interesting discussion, not too many people. Hallway tack is always one of the hightlights of an event.

OpenStack Workshop
I also attended (and this was the main motive for the trip) the OpenStack workshop that occured on Monday before the CloudCamp and on Tuesday. The workshop was held by Tim Dysinger and Andrew Shafer (see above).

The first day focused on building infrastructure, Tim introduced us to vagrant and Chef. The idea was to use vagrant to manage VirtualBox VMs and Chef to configure the VMs to run OpenStack. Tim provided a vagrant project on GitHub which we used to deploy the VMs.

Unfortunately the first workshop day went by with playing around on vagrant and Chef without touching anything OpenStack-related. I must say that I did not know vagrant before and it is a really cool tool. However, this "exposure" to Chef did not convince me to use Chef at work.

The second day shifted focus to actually deploying OpenStack and in the end we just followed the starter guide on the project homepage.

Bottom line is that I learned a lot, met new and interesting people. I hope the next workshop will focus more on OpenStack and less on Chef recipes.


    Silicon Berlin

    What do these companies have in common?

    (bought by Nokia in 2006)

    (bought by Ebay)

    Well, they are all in Berlin!

    Berlin is one of the most vibrant places on earth where new web companies settle and thrive. Berlin attracts not only people from Germany but from all over the world. Especially English speakers are welcome in Berlin and find a lot of like-minded people here.

    Investors are flocking to Berlin and almost every day or week we seen new start ups. Even the big players are coming now, as the recent press reports (sorry, mostly in German):
      Also earlier reports mention Berlin as the European Silicon Valley:
      Berlin also happens to have the most startup companies in Berlin, as deutsche-startups.de found out:
      Source: Originally by deutsche-startups.de, now found on internetworld.de and frische-fische.de.
      I was not able to determine about which year this statistics are, so take it for illustration.
      Velocity Conference Linking Silicon Valley and Silicon Berlin

      But the event that really links the Silicon Valley to Silicon Berlin is the Velocity Web Performance and Operations Conference, that leads the WebOps community in the Silicon Valley. In November 2012 the Velocity Europe came to Berlin for the first time with a great success both in numbers and quality content.

      About 40% of the Velocity attendants where from Germany, we don't yet have a number on the participants from Berlin. The conference managed to bring the culture and feeling of the Silicon Valley to Berlin. I never met so many people from the various German communities at a single event as I did at the Velocity!

      In my opinion the Velocity is an important step in linking Berlin to the Silicon Valley to support the development of a vibrant Web community in Berlin. I hope the next Velicity EU will be again in Berlin, everybody I talked to also thinks the same.

      Update 2011-11-22: Added more links to Tagesspiegel and  techcrunch
      Update 2011-12: Silicon Berlin bei ImmobilienScout24
      Update 2012-02: See Silicon Berlin Update  and report about Silicon Berlin talk at Berlin Devops meetup.


      Google Apps - Marketplace Addons you really need

      I migrated my domain to Google Apps and would like to share some of my experience.

      One of the great features is IMHO the Enterprise Marketplace where you can find lots of really useful (and even more of useless) Apps to add to your domain. Here is a selection of apps I tried or at least noticed.

      Must Have

      • Doodle integrates really nice into Google Apps and fulfils all dreams about scheduling meetings or asking several people about their opinion on something
      • Lucid Charts has a free account which is more than sufficiant for most simple drawing needs. The shape library is rather simple, e.g. no floor plan shapes. Diagrams are limited to 60 objects each.
      • PresentOnlineNow gets the job done with regard to online presentations and comes for free for up to 10 participants in a meeting room. Only downside is that screen sharing does not work from Linux. Positive is that the participants don't need to install anything, it requires only Flash.
      Might Be Interesting
      These apps seem interesting, I did not yet have time to check them out:
      • Organizer is the cure for Email overload
      • Bookmarks Version 2 (FREE) centralizes bookmark management and sharing, free version covers 500 bookmarks per domain.
      • Exxtensions allows to send a Fax from Google Docs (and possibly also local files in the future). Prices seem competitive. BEWARE: THEY SEND AN EMAIL TO ALL DOMAIN USERS! I talked to the support and the promised that the next release (early 2012) would include customizable Sender ID which is currently missing. The support thanked me for voicing my opinion but did not state when they would stop to send unsolicited emails.
      • Sherpa Tools might be interesting to manage shared contacts. Did not try it out because it does not work on Apps For Free (according to the reviews).
      • Shared Groups. Reviews sound good and really affordable at 10€ per year. Did not try because eventually I don't need shared contacts for a family domain (yet).
      • Lend-Items: Keeping track of items on loan. Free plan allows adding 100 items to your catalogue.
      • SurveyAngle: Online surveys, forms, polls, and questionnaires.
      • Gbridge: Free instant VPN for everyone using Windows. With Desktop and File sharing.
      • Gliffy Diagrams and Flowcharts also offers a free account but seems more restricted compared to Lucid Charts. OTOH it has some really nice shapes like for a floor plan. Unfortunately with the floor plan one cannot set the sizes precisely.

      Things That Looked Good but Did Not Work Well
      • Shared contacts. Even if you get them filled in it is no big help.
      • iClippy promises to solve all screen shot problems but fails to support Linux and is limited to 800x600 in the free plan


      VEU 2011 Birds of a Feather was great - see you all next year!

      I would like to thank everybody who helped with the Birds of a Feather event yesterday.

      It was really great, at the start we had about 30 people and managed to fill up all the talk slots and also had a few discussions.

      Till the evening some more people arrived so that we where about 70 for the dinner.

      The party was also joined by participants of the CouchConf, which happened to be on the same day.

      I hope that everybody enjoyed it and will be back next year.