First rule of navigating this huge conference? Don’t panic! Gal Sagie, software developer at Huawei, offers these tips for survival and fun.

The OpenStack Summit Tokyo is getting closer and I am starting to get excited.

“Excited?!!!” you ask, YES, Excited. I love meeting with all the people I have been spending hours with on IRC, I love seeing all the new features and talks by some of the more interesting companies and people.

OpenStack has a great community and the Summit is the peak of it all.

Tokyo will be my second OpenStack Summit, and even though I wouldn’t call myself experienced, I’ve learned a lot from Vancouver and would like to share with you my insights, in addition to the areas that I will focus on in Tokyo.

If it’s your first Summit, a word of warning: you will probably be overwhelmed. The Summit is huge with very big crowds of people, so make your plans and schedule before arriving.

Choose your schedule wisely

The Summit schedule application is very useful, make sure you also have it in your mobile device if possible.

It’s important to read through the schedule talks and make yourself a favorite schedule, there are a lot of talks happening in parallel. Pick a theme or an area of focus because context switching between talks with different subjects can be too much sometimes.

Plan for redundancy 🙂 Don’t just pick one talk for each time slot but pick another 1-2 talks — rooms get crowded and you might want to switch talks after the first five minutes (either because there is no free space or because the talker/subject isn’t what you expected.)

Choosing which talk to attend depends on your area of interest, take the time to Google the speaker, search the subject of the talk (if it’s about a specific feature/project get familiarized with the project launchpad or reviews) and, of course, check for alternatives in the Design Summit.

An important thing to remember is that the Design Summit starts on the same day as the main Summit and runs simultaneously with the main conference.

Don’t expect the main conference talks to get too technical, they are usually trying to target the lower common denominator of the crowd.

So if there is a project/topic you are already familiar with, consider not attending talks about it. The Summit is good for getting familiar with other areas/topics in OpenStack you know nothing about since the talks are great introduction to new areas.
You never know what you might find useful…

My area of focus

This summit is going to be very busy for me, there are many projects and areas of interest that I am involved with in parallel.

I am mainly focusing on Networking and Neutron and will be giving a talk about Project Kuryr with Antoni Segura Puimedon.

Kuryr is an infrastructure project as part of Neutron big stadium that makes Neutron networking available to Docker containers. (Basically leveraging Neutron abstraction to provide networking solutions to containers mixed environments).

Kuryr has many integration points with other OpenStack projects like Magnum and Kolla and should be an interesting talk to attend.

We have long-term plans for Kuryr to also leverage Neutron services to be used by containers orchestration engines like Kubernetes, Mesos and Docker Swarm.

I’ll also be speaking about about Dragonflow, Dragonflow, a full distributed embedded SDN implementation of Neutron, at the #vBrownBag TechTalks.

Fully open source and part of Neutron big stadium, Dragonflow is very lightweight and offers an agentless distributed solution to network virtualization. Dragonflow already supports its own L2, distributed L3 and a distributed Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) implementations. Dragonflow can work in a proactive/reactive or hybrid flow installation modes and has a pluggable database architecture which the deployer can switch between various key-values stores (Cassandra, etc., OVSDB, Zookeeper, RAMcloud, RethinkDB) to be used.

What else is on my Summit radar? OVN, multi-site OpenStack and general specs and features in Neutron.

The people

The point of that last paragraph, aside from sharing projects that I am involved in, is to show you that you should plan and arrange meetings with people during the summit.

Feel free to skip some talks to have meetings with companies and people that interest you and with whom you might share mutual goals.

There are plenty of places that you could meet, for example, during lunch time or in the sitting areas around the convention center.

This is what the Summit is for, don’t waste the fact that you have a few days where many people from many different companies who are all interested in OpenStack are located in the same place.

This is what open source is all about: the community…

Design Summit

The Design Summit has different tracks for each project, in the previous Summit I spent all of my time in the Neutron tracks, but from hearing other’s feedback, things are different for each project.

Each community does things its own way.

The Neutron sessions were very crowded, usually every Design session has an etherpad with action items and with a session agenda. It’s probably best to come prepared by reading it and be familiar with the status of code development on these areas, since that will be the main focus of the talks.

Follow up

When you meet a person, take their business card, make sure you have his/her contact information and write things down 🙂

There are many action items, issues, ideas that are tossed around either by you or by the people you meet. It’s hard to keep track of everything after you are back (or even during the Summit) if you don’t have it logged somewhere.

Enjoy

I have many other points, but this is already too long 🙂

One of the more important tips I can share with you: please remember to enjoy the Summit.

Almost every night of the Summit, there are parties sponsored by big companies, they are a good way spend the time with people in the community.

At the last Summit, we had an OVN team dinner one night and it was super fun. The Neutron community has some great people in it and I’m sure the other communities do, too.

Feel free to contact me (gal.sagieATgmail.com) if you have any questions or need any help. Also, if you would like to discuss or meet in the Summit regarding any of the above items, drop me a line!

Sagie will be speaking on project Kuryr at the Tokyo Summit. You also can follow him on Twitter or his blog. Superuser is always looking for contributions or how-tos, email [email protected] to find out more.

Cover Photo // CC BY NC