Sun Tech Days (November 14-16, 2006) in Prague, Czech Republic

Overview
--------

Sun Tech Days is a series of events targeted mostly to developers. It is being held in several cities around the world, during FY2007.

Information on the Tech Days Conference series is available at http://developers.sun.com/events/techdays/

and the agenda for the Prague sessions is at http://cz.sun.com/techdays/prague/agenda.html

The Prague event was held at the Prague Congress Centre, which looked to be a Soviet-era facility. The venue was large, and had several rooms adequate for the presentations. On Tuesday, the first day of the Tech Days event, there was also a local exhibit of photography equipment, on a different floor of the Centre.

The Tech Days sessions have multiple tracks, as may be seen in the agenda. My presentation was part of the "Solaris Development" track. It was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, right after lunch, at 14:00. I presented the same session that Asutosh Tripathi had presented at the Buenos Aires, Argentina, session (see Ashu's blog titled "Developing Highly-Available Applications Using Sun Cluster."

In addition to Tech Days, the first of what is expected to be an ongoing series of Solaris Product User Group (PUG) meetings was held on Thursday, at the same site. Unlike Tech Days, the PUG was a very small event, held to provide a forum for interaction with existing customers, by invitation.

Tech Days
---------

On Tuesday, the first day of the event, there were introductions to the individual tracks. On Wednesday, there was a larger plenary session to start the day, with general introductions by the organizers, an introduction by Pavel Suk, the Site Director for Prague, and a keynote by Jeff Jackson.

I arrived in Prague on Monday evening. I used Tuesday to check in with the conference and learn what my schedule would be for Wednesday and Thursday, and recover from jet lag.

Wednesday morning, I attended the plenary session, then met with the translators who would be simultaneously repeating what I said in Czech. In this instance, the translators were only interested in hearing about unusual technical terms that I would be using. As such, it was easy to get them ready. But I have no idea how the translation was received. All of the attendees who either asked questions during the presentation or spoke with me afterwards had excellent English skills.

The presentation itself went very well. There was too much material in the slides, but I was able to cover the important points as well as do the planned demo. The demo in particular was very well received. The audience appreciated being able to see in action the ideas I had described in the talk. Having a laptop running Solaris and Sun Cluster was an invaluable tool. The demo, developed by Ashu, showed how to create a Resource Group, configure it with various Resources, including Apache, and used two zones to represent cluster nodes. A CGI script that displayed the hostname of the "node" where the Apache server was running provided the data to demonstrate fail-over operation. Except for being somewhat squeezed for time, the demo went smoothly.

Solaris PUG
-----------

On Thursday morning, the first-ever Solaris PUG was convened. The speakers were Jeff Jackson, who presented the Solaris roadmap; Chris Armes, who presented Sun's virtualization roadmap; and me, with a presentation of Sun Cluster technologies. My talk was definitely the most technical of the three, but it seemed to be of interest to the audience.

The presentations were somewhat informal, with all of the speakers encouraging questions during their talks. The two roadmap discussions generated quite a bit of dialog; my presentation had fewer questions, but it was clear that two of the attendees were engineers, and they did ask good questions. I had been told that both managers and engineers were likely to be in the audience, so the talk was not overly technical, but focussed more on features of Clustering.

Miscelania
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Prague is a beautiful city. It was mostly left undisturbed by the World Wars of the 20th century, so there are many old buildings, bridges and public art works around the city. There is excellent public transit, both within the city and to other towns in the region. I would definitely recommend a visit.

Ed Gould
Sr. Staff Engineer
Solaris Cluster

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