I'm wrapping up my final travel preparations before jumping on an airplane this evening, headed to Amsterdam for the CloudStack Collaboration Conference EU 2013. I'm really excited about this conference for a number of reasons:
- The planning was largely executed by the local community in Europe (tip of the hat to the amazing team at Schuberg Philis)
- Sponsorship of the conference is coming from an extreemly diverse group of companies, including many that are sponsoring a CloudStack conference for the first time (and many stalwarts of the community)
- An amazing schedule of talks, including some fantastic keynotes from industry leaders like John Willis (@botchagalupe), Mark Hinkle (@mrhinkle) and Mark Burgess (@markburgess_osl).
- The hundreds of attendees, including users, developers and many vendors that support the users and community.
While Apache CloudStack may not get as much press as other similar open source projects, one thing really stands out to me about this community: we have an very active user-base that gives back to the project in big ways time and time again. This isn't always the case with open source software. Frequently, developers are users of their own code in some respects, but the user community tends to just take the results of that work. While the Apache philosophy is that the projects are producing software for the public good (and consider themselves "givers" with no strings attached), it's a really strong statement about the value of the software when you see so many users step up and help drive documentation, testing and user to user support for the software. In the CloudStack community, we're constantly seeing organizations and individuals start using the software and step up with support for the community in one way or another.
I consider the CloudStack Collaboration Conferences to be the embodiment of this collaborative spirit. You won't find a huge "vendor expo hall", or even thousands of attendees. What you will find at one of these conferences is a tight nit community (OK, well, tight nit with hundreds of individuals) coming together to share their experience with others, explore ideas for making the software better and find new ways to extend the overall CloudStack ecosystem.
I've shared my views on what should make an infrastructure orchestration project's community tick in the past, and to me the key is one thing: projects like Apache CloudStack should aim to be easy to deploy and operate. IT doesn't deploy IaaS for fun. IT deploys it to be more flexible for the application owners. And the application owners don't build and deploy apps for fun either (well OK, some do). Applications are for end users, which is something that we should never forget in all the hype that surrounds "cloud".
What I've found, is that this basic understanding of why CloudStack exists is well understood by the CloudStack community. That's why our conferences are so great to attend... they're about collaborating, sharing, learning... all in the service of making infrastructure get out of the way for the end users.
If you're coming to the conference, find me and say hi. I always love to meet new people (or meet virtual friends in person). If you can't join us, but want a flavor for the community, watch the #CCCEU13 hashtag on twitter. We're also planning on providing live video streams of the talks (more on that will be posted as soon as we get the final details).
See you in Amsterdam!