Excited for the CloudStack Collab Conference EU

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!



The hidden value in CumuLogic DBaaS – Reducing Operational Risk by Making Availability Configuration Automatic

Fair warning - this is a commercial post origionally published on the CumuLogic corporate blog. That being said, I think that CumuLogic's DBaaS is valuable enough to share here on my personal blog as well.

As I spend the time to get to know the CumuLogic platform better in my new role, I’ve realized something that I think is worth sharing:

Not only are the modular / composable services useful as a developer or system administrator to make their application deployments easy, but deploying through CumuLogic platform is actually a great way to reduce your operational risk.

Think about it this way: If you’re a developer, how many times have you put off setting up a backup job for your new MySQL DB until it’s too late? For me, this is one of those tasks that I frequently forget to deal with. If you’re a sysadmin, what level of availability do you usually setup for your new databases? Do you settle for two nodes? Do you even get around to dual nodes if the requestor doesn’t ask for it? How about software updates? Do you always get to them on schedule?

The fact is, many, many databases are deployed without all of the appropriate configuration that makes them “production ready”. Backups, replicas and software updates all become trivially easy using CumuLogic’s DBaaS product. Seriously… it’s very easy.

Want your MySQL database to be in a three node cluster? Just pick that option. Want it to be 5 nodes? Click + on the node count field twice and, boom, done. Backups? No problem either… just a few clicks away, and you’ve picked a backup window, set a retention policy, and can feel confident that you’re data is safe.

An argument could be made that you could just use Puppet or Chef recipes to deploy your MySQL DB, and manage the configuration through that. Well, consider CumuLogic DBaaS as another tool in your toolbox that makes things even easier than before. How about combining your existing Puppet or Chef code with a call to the CumuLogic API to provision the database? Easily done.

Want to learn more? Head over to