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OpenStack Days Silicon Valley 2016 (The Unlocked Infrastructure Conference) Day 2

Jodi Smith - August 11, 2016
The second day of  OpenStack Days Silicon Valley continued with conversations about containers and the processes of managing OpenStack. If you missed the event and the live stream, no worries; here are the highlights.

Christian Carrasco - When OpenStack Fails. (Hint: It’s not the Technology)

Christian, a cloud advisor at Tapjoy, started off the day by sharing what Tapjoy has learned from working with OpenStack. Tapjoy is an SaaS player that from early on set its sights on OpenStack. The company has grown to be the leading player in the mobile app monetization space, with more than two million daily engagements, 270,000 active apps, and 500 million users.
However, interestingly, most of the lessons Christian has learned while working at Tapjoy have less to do with the technology or maturity underpinning OpenStack or the many components necessary to its deployment. Instead, they revolve around the people, process, and organizational choices that are necessary for your OpenStack cloud to succeed.
Christian urged the audience to stop focusing on building a better buggy, and to instead focus on making a better cloud—the next generation of cloud. Christian argued that before we can hyper-converge the cloud, we need interoperability standards, arguing that there were many industries that couldn’t have existed without standards, such as the internet, the automobile industry, and healthcare.

Luke Kanies - DevOps: Myths vs. Realities

Next up was Luke Kanies, the founder and CEO of Puppet. Luke spoke to the audience about the myths that surround DevOps in the enterprise, and argued that we need to leave behind the old way of delivering software to adopt the new world of DevOps practices.

Luke made it clear just why: top performing DevOps teams deploy 200 times more often and recover from failure 24 times faster, he said.
Luke argued that the fears companies have about adopting DevOps practices are due to two beliefs. First, that certain practices just won’t work for an organization, due to factors such as legacy environments, traditional enterprises, or hierarchical organizations. The second belief, he said, is that DevOps practices are simply unworkable when enterprises are subject to a host of external regulatory and compliance requirements.
Luke said that most organizations (97-98 percent) that had fears about introducing DevOps practices had legacy issues, but he argued that ignoring those legacy issues undermined their work.
Luke ended his talk by discussing how to overcome misconceptions by dispelling the most common myths. He said that adopting DevOps practices didn’t have to be all or nothing, they could be simpler than it appeared, and that often the largest returns come from unexpected areas. Ultimately, he argued, you have a choice—do you want to start using DevOps practices, or would you prefer for your competitors to beat you to it?

James Staten - Hybrid Cloud is About the Apps, Not the Infrastructure

James Staten, Microsoft’s Chief Strategist for the Cloud and Enterprise division, was next up on stage to talk about building and deploying true enterprise cloud apps.
James said the key to this is understanding how to blend your environments, as leading enterprise examples of cloud computing are not exclusively private or exclusively public cloud deployments, but are instead a mixture of both plus multiple public clouds. He said that even Microsoft runs on a hybrid cloud.
James argued that the hybrid cloud is here to stay, and not just because of the legacy code that can’t move anywhere (let alone to the cloud). He pointed to statistics that showed 74 percent of enterprises believe a hybrid cloud will enable business growth, and 82 percent have a hybrid cloud strategy (up from 74 percent a year ago).
He said that organizations used to be worried about application integration, security, and data sovereignty when considering moving apps to a public cloud. However, now organizations say they don’t use public clouds because of needing compute on premises, the Internet of Things, optimization of economics, and wanting to leverage the right resources in the right places.
James ended his session by outlining new hybrid models with many elements, including local resources, public clouds, and SAAS apps and microservices. He said that hybrid isn’t just about location, but the programming languages, devices, and operating systems. He said that the apps we are building need to have compute capability everywhere, because a hybrid cloud is about the apps you are designing.

Alex Williams, Frederic Lardinois, Craig Matsumoto, Mitch Wagner - Open Source and the News Media

The first panel discussion of the day was about Open Source and the News Media, with four technology journalists: Alex Williams (founder of The New Stack), Frederic Lardinois (writer for TechCrunch), Craig Matsumoto (Managing Editor at SDxCentral, and Mitch Wagner (Editor, Enterprise Cloud, for Light Reading).

Key takeaway: People are often confused by messages coming from open source projects and companies that build products and services using them, and acronyms, clever names, and not-for-profit foundations had further contributed to this confusion. Alex said that some people would say that cloud service providers are the greatest threat to open source.
In addition, the panelists discussed the difficulties they had with tracking and learning all of the players and their interests in the Open Source movement.

Kim Bannerman (Director, Advocacy & Community - Office of the CTO, Blue Box), Kenneth Hui (Senior Technical Marketing Manager, Rackspace), Patrick Reilly (Founder and Former CEO of Kismatic) — All Open Source Problems Solved in This Session

Next, Kim Bannerman, Kenneth Hui, and Patrick Reilly, a group of open source veterans, discussed critiques that are common for open source projects and looked at how to address them.
Patrick pointed out that OpenStack really is a community, and to have OpenStack work better you really need to participate. He argued that if you have a complaint, you should follow up and work to fix those issues.
Interestingly, the panel discussed the idea that often criticisms about open source projects, such as their governance, roadmap, and focus, are often just the downsides of advantages open source provides: transparency, inclusiveness, and agility.

Jonathan Donaldson (VP & GM, Software Defined Infrastructure at Intel) — The Future of OpenStack Clouds

Following the two panel discussions, Jonathan Donaldson of Intel and Craig McLuckie from Google talked to us about their collaboration and the future of OpenStack clouds.
Craig said that Google wants to be an enterprise software company, using OpenStack, because the market is too big to ignore. However, Craig said that Google is pretty behind.
During the talk, Jonathan discussed Intel’s Cloud for All initiative. It began last year and Intel began heavily investing in the OpenStack platform in an effort to improve OpenStack for the enterprise and to speed up its rate of adoption around the world. He said that Intel cares so much about a cloud for all because fostering innovation leads to use cases and creates value.
This has led to Intel and the broader community making OpenStack production-ready for enterprise workloads. He said that this has led to new features and significantly lower barriers for businesses that want to deploy private and hybrid clouds.

Randy Bias (VP of Technology, EMC), Sean Roberts (Director Technical Program Management, Walmart Labs), Mike Yang (GM of Quanta Cloud Technology) - The State of OpenStack on Commodity Hardware

The first discussion of the final session was about OpenStack and commodity hardware. In the early days of OpenStack, open cloud software with “open” or commodity hardware was seen as a perfect match.
One question the panel discussed was whether BOMs that mix commodity and proprietary components were the norm, or whether pre-integrated and fully commodity BOMs with components from one manufacturer were more popular.

Randy pointed out that the bottom line is that open or commodity hardware is not free, as it still takes skill to deploy. He argued that while it eventually will be easy to deploy open hardware, it’s not there yet.

Adrian Cockcroft (Battery Ventures Technology Fellow), Boris Renski (Mirantis Co-Founder and CMO) - Infrastructure Software is Dead… Or is it?

Next up Boris Renski from Mirantis and Adrian Cockcroft, a Battery Ventures Technology Fellow, conversed about Boris' premise that Infrastructure software is dead.

As the two discussed the cloud revolution, Boris argued that the cloud revolution isn’t just about software, but also the delivery model, and that the delivery model for enterprise on-premises software has changed radically. Adrian agreed, adding that traditional hardware and software procurement cycles have collapsed with the cloud.

The two finished their talk by discussing the future of OpenStack. They said its future will not be in making the most “enterprise ready” software, but in building models for delivering customer outcomes that move the needle. Adrian said that he believed that unless you had very specialized or very large scale workloads, there is no competitive advantage to having your own data center.

Michael Miller (President of Strategy, Alliances and Marketing, SUSE) - OpenStack Past, Present and Future

To wrap-up the conference, Michael Miller from SUSE discussed OpenStack’s journey from inception to the present and shared some thoughts on what to expect next, discussing just how quickly enterprise IT is now adopting OpenStack, despite initial apprehensions.

The Last Word

From hallway conversations, to expert commentary, to the swarms of people who were visiting sponsor booths, the OpenStack Days Silicon Valley conference was a great success in getting people talking not about whether OpenStack was a success—that part's a given—but why. Users were talking about where OpenStack fits in, how it's still important for enterprise workloads, and how to most efficiently leverage new technologies such as containers.
So here's our question to you: what do you think we'll be talking about next year?

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