I'm writing this blog post from Canberra Australia, while attending the Linux.conf.au (LCA) open source conference. Among the people who do these sorts of things, LCA has a well deserved reputation as one of the very best open source conferences in the world.
Geeks from across Australia and New Zealand, and from across the rest of the world, come together for a week in January (summer in this part of the world) to talk about everything from the intricate technical details of Linux kernel design to pushing the state of the art in file systems and issues deploying practical wireless cryptography. Softer but equally important topics such as Open Government, gender balance in technology, and international legal issues are also discussed.
HP is glad to have been a significant sponsor of LCA for over ten years now.
Before two years ago, at this conference, open source cloud computing was touched on, but not with any direct focus. Last year there were several presentations on the topic (including one presented by myself, about open source PaaS). But now this year, OpenStack® is a runaway breakout topic. OpenStack has an entire track devoted to it, and played a major role in the Storage, Continuous Integration and Cross-Distribution Linux tracks.
The two OpenStack presentations I personally found to be the most exciting were "NeCTAR Research Cloud: OpenStack in Production", and "Bare metal provisioning with OpenStack", presented by HP's own Devananda van der Veen.
The NeCTAR presentation was exciting because it was about a real, running OpenStack-based, public cloud. It is available to academic researchers across Australia. Our own HP Cloud was one of the very first running public OpenStack clouds.
We are excited to see the growing number of public OpenStack systems coming online so that more devops people can get OpenStack operator experience and the OpenStack community can get feedback from the "real world" about needed features, bug fixes and performance improvements. The more clouds that run for each niche of users, the more successful the OpenStack project becomes, and the more successful each of the well-run, well-positioned cloud providers (such as HP Cloud Services) become.
Read more about NeCTAR in the collection of OpenStack user stories at http://www.openstack.org/user-stories/nectar/
I found the "Bare metal provisioning with OpenStack" session exciting for many reasons. It's a technological trick with huge implications. Cloud-based compute infrastructure, such as OpenStack Nova Compute, is often thought to be just a way to provide virtual machines running under the control of hypervisors. The insight of "OpenStack-On-OpenStack Bare Metal Provisioning" is that by writing Nova drivers to control real machines via PXE and IPMI, OpenStack can provide compute resources for workloads that should not be VMed.
That's neat. But the real insight is that one such workload is the Nova Compute host node! Thus, using this technique, OpenStack can actually be used to scalably automate the installation of itself onto new machines.
Look for more about TripleO and about Bare Metal on the #tripleo channel on Freenode, and expect more talks and presentations about it at the upcoming OpenStack Summit in Portland.