Attendance this year in Vancouver was way down, about 3,500, from Boston last year. The energy level of the keynotes, sessions and hallway were muted. The expo hall was also much smaller than I have ever seen in my past 3 years attending the NA Summits.
The general focus of the OpenStack Foundation is on inclusion and moving up the stack. They are seeing what developers and cloud native customers are talking about to show how it runs on OpenStack. It feels genuine they are trying to help, but with the attention being so much on Kubernetes, OpenStack capabilities kept getting upstaged.
I’ve been in the OpenStack orbit for about 6 years now, starting with Essex. I started as a consultant building OpenStack clouds for development. I’ve helped organizations move smaller private clouds to production. Most recently I was helping customers adopt OpenStack. I want to see OpenStack succeed. I would love to see more/any hybrid cloud solutions and integrations points with other environments. How great would it be for Horizon to connect into your AWS or Azure console? What if Horizon integrated with Kubernetes dashboard? Instead, OpenStack Foundation says, let’s talk about multiple container solutions…
The general shrinking of attendance I don’t see necessarily as a sign of the end. I think there are many factors that caused this to nose dive:
- Convention fatigue
- May 2 – 4. Kubecon. Copenhagen, Denmark. Mass popularity in public and private cloud. International travel.
- May 8 – 10. Red Hat Summit. San Francisco, CA. Broader Open Source and Hybrid Cloud Focus.
- May 7 – 9. Microsoft Build. Seattle, WA. Broad industry topics and leading cloud provider.
- May 9 – 17. Pycon. Cleveland, OH. Python being the primary language OpenStack is written in, and the largest Python event in North America.
- May 8 – 10. Google I/O. Mountain View, CA.
- May 21 – 24. OpenStack Summit. Vancouver, BC. The potential attendees and sponsors of this event in the month of May alone probably wanted to attend multiple of the above events. The overlap is huge. Which would you rather attend, have a booth or present?
- Twice a year. There comes a time when your project isn’t the most innovative and changing beast in the enterprise, this is a good thing. Does OpenStack still need to release two versions a year? Does it need to have two conventions in a year? I’m not one to say but I’d love to hear what you think…
- International Travel. I live in the United States and traveling to Canada is not much of a problem, but it can be for some. If your company is not world wide or have a presence in Canada I have found there is a LOT of hesitation about sending your employees to any other country. Each company is going to put a different weight to this, but it is part of the equation. Also, Canada requires US Citizens to have a Passport, and that’s surprisingly uncommon for people to have in IT. You can’t just go to Canada on a whim and the Passport process can take 6 – 8 weeks or more.
- Vancouver, again. This is another minor point but something they should consider. Should we go somewhere new or go to a classic spot? It seems like in NA they are hitting the old haunts. Maybe, you should go to places where it’s not “Just another convention” like Chicago or Detroit. With it being centrally located it allows people coming from all over to fly for 2 – 3 hours instead of 5 – 8 hours. I got to San Francisco and Las Vegas to many times a year for conventions. Let’s try somewhere different.
I want to see OpenStack continue to succeed. They’ve made some missteps in the past trying to do new things. Kubernetes is cashing the immutable application check OpenStack wrote 6 years ago. The product is maturing and the hype is drying. However, I hope I’ve made clear that I think it’s not at all dead. It’s in an important phase of it’s life. Middle aged. Accept it. A fancy new convertible and black hair dye won’t change the fact you’ve grown up. That’s a good thing.
Videos to watch