OpenStack Tokyo Summit

OpenStack summit is a biannual conference for developers, users and admins of OpenStack cloud software. This being my second conference, I was better equipped with the knowledge of what to expect and how to better plan out my schedule around sessions. It is quite easy to get overwhelmed with the scale of the event, number of sessions/speakers and may feel like information overload if not planned well.

There are two main tracks of conference: 1) Main Conference 2) Design Summit. Main conference is for general attendees that includes keynotes, breakout tracks, hands-on labs and some sponsored sessions. Design summit is for developers and operators who contribute code and feedback for the next cycle. It does not reflect the classic tracks with speakers and sessions, and are not recorded at the moment.

My day 1 schedule included keynotes by Jonathan Bryce who was later joined by Egle Sigler, Lachlan Evenson and Takuya Ito who talked about OpenStack Yahoo! Japan usecase. My other sessions in the schedule are largely related to Swift – OpenStack Object Storage. Swift makes an ideal storage solution for web applications that need to store large volumes of data. Building web-applications using OpenStack Swift talk covers overview of swift with focus on it’s features and how they are useful for web application developers. It includes good code examples based off popular web frameworks AngularJS and Django. Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) Drives and Swift Object Storage was another great session on how SMR drives have the potential to reduce storage costs with data from public cloud access patterns observed at SoftLayer. This talk discusses SMR drives background, how to improve Swift performance with SMR, and potential swift changes that would enable better usage of SMR drives.

Swift associates user defined metadata attributes and values with containers and objects. Metadata search is gaining significant interest in the community and is currently not available in Swift. This talk on Boosting the Power of Swift Using Metadata Search describes components of design and implementation of a metadata search capability integrated with swift. Discusses enabling some key applications that were previously not possible. Another talk of value was on Erasure Coding in Swift. EC is moved out of beta and now supported in Swift. Swift Erasure Code Performance vs Replication: Analysis and Recommendations session discusses on how and where EC would be useful basing off performance study carried out on multiple clusters with various CPU, network, memory configurations. This helps in analyzing how different parameters affect performance per policy in Swift. At this summit, I had the opportunity to conduct a workshop on Git and Gerrit with Amy Marrich and Tamara Johnston. Git and Gerrit are some of the essential tools in getting started with OpenStack software development. This workshop walks-through the process of patch submission in OpenStack using a test repository.

For rest of the week my schedule was Design Summit. This part of the summit mainly focuses on software development discussions for the Mitaka cycle, existing barriers, new proposals and also feedback from operators. Generally the schedules for each day of the design summit are laid out in an etherpad prior to summit. Focus for swift community was on exciting new features like data-at-rest encryption, container sync, ring placement, symlinks, container sharding, fast-post and more. My current code contributions to Swift are on Encryption feature. We were able to make significant progress on pending design decisions, discuss on blockades and come up with measurable goals for the M cycle. It turned out to be highly productive and the discussions gave good insights into other upcoming features in swift.

Going to the summit, to be able to meet people in person, interact and discuss on-going work was highly valuable to me. You’d finally know persons behind IRC nicks and it is a sure way to enhance further online communications on IRC, email etc.