Solaris News, Views, and Real-World Experiences from the Field

CommunityOne Recap

Scott Dickson
Enterprise Systems Architect
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend CommunityOne West in San Francisco,
along with a number of the other leaders of OpenSolaris User Groups.
(I head up the Atlanta OpenSolaris User Group.)
What a great meeting! Three days of OpenSolaris.

First off, I am sure that Teresa and the OpenSolaris team selected the Hotel Mosser because
they knew it was a Solaris focused venue. As Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up! Even the toilet paper was Solaris-based.
Bob Netherton and I were speculating that perhaps this was an example of
Solaris Roll-Based Dump Management, new in OpenSolaris 2009.06.

CommunityOne Day One

Day One was a full day of OpenSolaris and related talks. The OpenSolaris teams maintained tracks around deploying
OpenSolaris 2009.06 in the datacenter and around developing applications on OpenSolaris 2009.06. For the most part,
I stuck with the operations-focused sessions, though I did step out into a few others. Some of the highlights included:

  • Peter Dennis and Brian Leonard's fun survey of what's new and exciting in OpenSolaris 2009.06. ATLOSUG folks should look for a reprise of this
    at our meeting on Tuesday.
  • Jerry Jelinek's discussion of the various virtualization techniques built into and onto OpenSolaris.
    This is a sort of talk that I give a lot. It was really helpful to hear how the folks in engineering approach this topic.
  • Scott Tracy & Dan Maslowski's COMSTAR discussion and demo. COMSTAR has been significantly expanded in recent builds,
    with more coolness still to come. I had not paid a lot of attention to this lately and this was a really helpful talk, especially
    since Teresa Giacomini had asked me to present this demo for the user group leaders on Wednesday. In any case, I have reproduced
    the iSCSI demo that Scott did using just VirtualBox, rather than requiring a server.
    Of course, the VB version is not something I would run my main storage server on. But it certainly is a great tool to understand
    the technology. I hope to have Ryan Matteson (Ryan, you volunteered!) give a talk at the ATLOSUG sometime soon.
  • I branched out of main OpenSolaris path to see a few other things on Day One, as well.
    Ken Pepple, Scott Mattoon, and John Stanford gave a good talk on Practical Cloud Patterns. They talked about some of the typical ways
    that people do provisioning, application deployment, and monitoring within the cloud.
  • Karsten Wade, "Community Gardener" at Red Hat, gave a talk called Participate or Die. This was about the
    importance of participating in the Open Source projects that are important to your business. He talked about understanding
    the difference in participating (perhaps, using open source code) and influencing (helping to guide the project). By
    paying more attention to those who actively participate, active members of the community enhance their status and become
    influencers of the direction for a project. And it is important that this happen - in successful projects, the
    roadmap is driven by the participants rather than handed down on high with the hope that people will line up behind it.
    Really, I think, his key message was that it is important not to just passively stand by when you care about or depend upon
    something, leaving its future in the hands of others.
  • Kevin Nilson and Michael Van Riper gave a great talk about building and maintaining a successful user group. This was built on their experiences with
    the Silicon Valley Java User Group and with the Google Technology User Group. They took a great approach by collecting
    videos from the leaders, hosts, and participants in these and other groups around the country. It was really helpful
    to hear people's perspectives on why they attend a group, why companies host group meetings, and why and how people continue
    to lead user groups. While a lot of what they had to say, and the successes that they have had, are a product of being
    in a very "target-rich environment" in Silicon Valley, it was interesting to see that some things are universal: a good location
    makes a lot of difference; having food matters. I got a lot of ideas from this and from the OpenSolaris User Group Bootcamp that
    I hope to get going in ATLOSUG.
  • OpenSolaris 2009.06 Launch Party finished out the evening. Dodgeball and the Extra Action Marching Band.
    I thought these folks were the hit of the evening. You get the best of marching bands, big drums, loud brass, but add to that
    folks flaying around, throwing themselves at the dodgeball court nets. Much more exciting than your regular marching band,
    even some of the cool ones around Atlanta in the Battle of the Bands!

CommunityOne Day Two

Day Two was filled with OpenSolaris Deep Dives. These were very helpful, not just in content, but in helping me to hone my
own OpenSolaris presentations. For this day, I stuck close to the Deploying OpenSolaris track, having learned in graduate
school that I am not a developer. This track included:

  • Chris Armes kicked off the day with a talk on deploying OpenSolaris in your Data Centre (as he spells it).
  • Becoming a ZFS Ninja, presented by Ben Rockwood. Ben is an early adopter and a production user of ZFS. This was a two-hour,
    fairly in-depth talk about ZFS and its capabilities.
  • Nick Solter, co-author of the OpenSolaris Bible, talked about
    OpenHA Cluster, newly released and available for OpenSolaris. With OpenHA, enterprise-level
    availability is not just available, but also supported. He talked about how the cluster works and about extensions to
    the OpenHA cluster beyond the capabilities of Solaris Cluster, based on OpenSolaris technologies. Some of these include
    the use of Crossbow VNICs for private interconnects. I am still thinking about the availability
    implications of this and am not sure it's an answer for all configurations. But it's cool that it's there!
  • Jerry Jelinek rounded out the day talking about Resource Management with Containers, a topic near and dear to my heart and one
    I end up presenting a lot.
We finished out Day Two with a reunion dinner of some
of the old team at Bucca di Beppo. Around the table, we had Vasu Karunanithi, Dawit Bereket, Matt Ingenthron,
Scott Dickson (me), Bob Netherton, Isaac Rosenfeld, and Kimberly Chang. It was great to get at least part of the old
gang together and catch up.

Day Three was the OpenSolaris User Group Leaders Bootcamp. But that's for another post....

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