At Schuberg Philis we aim high. We aim at mission critical application infrastructures that businesses and societies rely on 24×7 a day. Not only from an uptime and performance perspective, but also from a flexibility perspective. Customer needs are changing faster and faster (faster is the new faster) and everything will be software driven. This ever changing landscape makes us adapt and evolve always. Guaranteeing 100% uptime is still uncommon, but it is not enough to satisfy our and our customers needs.
Two years ago, after a hackaton on optimising our toolset we drank a few pints and we decided that optimising our current way of working with the tools we used back then, simply was not good enough. Open Source is a real mature option nowadays for the enterprise and the communities make brilliant tools faster and more feature rich than we are able to do so ourselves. Next to that we figured we were not innovative enough.
Back then we gave ourselves the following bold goal. Build a new customer environment that is ready for the years to come, that is feature rich, that is as robust as our current environments and do not use any technology we ever used before.
That last part has given us an amazing journey. And one of those journeys was do a PoC with different cloud platforms (not VCloud which was the most obvious choice back then because we use VMWare already). I have written about this PoC before but the outcome was CloudStack. Pretty soon we had out first ‘test’ cloud running on old hardware. And after that we went for some serious test drives. A big finding two years ago was that Nicira SDN was not part of CloudStack.
So joining the CloudStack community as a company and building a big part of Nicira (VMWare NSX) into CloudStack (together with Nicira and Citrix) was our (Hugo actually) first adventure as a member of this community. Since then a lot of things happened between Schuberg Philis and CloudStack. Hugo became committer and Funs and Roeland have given numerous talks on different cloud related topics. We got acquainted with a number of people that are all very dedicated to the success of a great product, with a great vision.
After the CLoudStack Collaboration Conferences of San Diego (2012) and Las Vegas (2013) Hugo was called bluff to organise the Europe version. Especially when the turnout on the CloudStack SDN Talk at Apachecon in Germany turned out great.
A first conference call between the organisers of the Vegas conf and SBP was set up and the virtual handshake was done. CloudStack Collab will come to Europe and the dates were agreed upon. 20-22 November in Amsterdam.
As very experienced organisers of conferences we probably did not know where we said yes to. But Patrick Debois and Kris Buytaert taught us a lot of things when we helped organizing Devops Days Amsterdam. And how hard can it be. Some sponsors, a venue, some speakers and some attendees. Thats it. Of course practice proved we were too enthusiastic, pragmatic and simplifying things but this is how we started.
Since then I believe we created a great team, with a great mix of knowledge, personal networks, geolocation. But all with a great drive. And the best thing was we have had very good support of Citrix, but the entire conference was organised by the community. No commercial bureau has done anything for us. And the entire conference has been paid for by sponsors and attendees (with a low ticket fee).
Last Wednesday the conference started with workshops and hackatons. 180 developers and engineers gathered and worked like crazy to either fix bugs, or to gain knowledge. Knowledge on CloudStack itself, but also on the very important tools that you have to use once your IAAS layer is fixed. Chef (Michael ‘goatherder’ Ducy), Splunk (Damien), Jenkins (Cloudbees), Nexenta, ElasticSearch (Leslie) are all great examples how well these products blend together. The evening was great as well. 100 people on a boat going for dinner and drinks. Shoot some pool afterwards and having loads of discussions about Cloud, CloudStack. Good fun.
After this first hands on day, over 60 talks were given. Not only core CloudStack talks, but also very nice Devops Talks (John Willis, Mark Burgess, Paddy Power, Kris Buytaert, Pierre Yves Ritschard, Sebastien Goasgues (with Nguyen and Damien). The city of Amsterdam chipped in as well by highlighting that is is exactly 25 years ago that the Netherlands and the US were connected and mail was sent via the internet. Again the evening was filled with dinner and drinks. This time at the venue. ShapeBlue gave the jazzy tunes a rock flavour by singing the CloudStack song (check it out on youtube. Its great). CloudBeers afterwards and Thursday proved to be a killer. Friday we stayed in the good flow and even the last sessions of the day were well visited.
The closing speech by Hugo was great. We do not have a wealthy foundation. We have a community of gifted and driven individuals and companies. Dear sponsors, thanks for your efforts, but please “insert coins to continue”. Next spring we will be back in the US. And before that CloudStack Day Japan in March.
One thing is obvious. We have chosen CloudStack and this product and community are both amazing. Sometimes different products like Openstack get more fame, which is good for them. They are doing great things in multiple areas. For CloudStack there is a big momentum. Analysts, Enterprises are looking into it as a serious candidate to run even more production workloads. The community is growing and commercial companies are even delivering 24×7 support nowadays.
We will be back as (co)organisers or Dod Ams and a lot of Meetups on Devops and CloudStack. Happy that we changed course two years ago. I would not have liked to miss this for one bit.
You say “Next spring we will be back in the US.”, will there be a similar conference in Europe later that year, or will that be the only ACS conference that year?
After this success we most likely plan a similar conference around the same time yes. We have had a lot of requests already about this. But first we want to make the meetup groups and the BACD (Build a Cloud Day) slightly more frequent and bigger.