rvokal (rvokal) wrote,

Red Hat Summit - Chicago

This year for the first time I had the opportunity to attend the Red Hat Summit held in Chicago. I was really excited to see the other side of the barricade and have a talk with Red Hat customers and partners. We've arrived on Sunday evening, totally trashed after 12hrs on the plane. The Hilton hotel where the conference took place is right in the middle of downtown Chicago, so the first thing we did on Monday morning was a short walk around the city center. We both had some work to do on Monday, but we've decided to spend Tuesday sightseeing. It's a nice and clean city and the river boat architecture tour is a great chance to learn more about the history of the whole city and some urban legends. Also the Sears tower with the glass ledge is a must when visiting Chicago – it’s scary but awesome.

The summit registration opened on Tuesday afternoon and we have already met several Red Hatters in the main lobby. The registration was followed by reception and the partner pavilion opening. The summit was just about to begin.

The summit has started and Jim Whitehurst - CEO and President of Red Hat - started with the opening keynote. His main focus was on Red Hat value and contribution of the company in comparison with overall growth of opensource. Also the topic which connected most of the presentations this year was cloud and the cloud computing. Paul Cormier followed with short history lesson and pointed out the most significant innovations Red Hat started or helped to develop (RHEL+JBoss, SELinux, AMQP, JBoss Seam, etc). Next keynote was presented by Derek Chen - Head of Digital Operations at Dreamworks. As much as he tried, his presentation looked more like an Intel advertisement. Interesting part was the history of cloud computing at Dreamworks and their recent movie making experience done with internal and external cloud (IIRC they used 20.000 cores and 4 different sites connected with Dual Gigabit lines).

Slightly before lunch Tim Burke and Subhendu Ghosh held a presentation about Red Hat Enterprise Linux roadmap. They pointed out most important milestones in the release cycle as well as key features in RHEL 5.3 and the newly announced and still fresh 5.4. They touched little bit of RHEL6 as well and this topic was again opened later that day on an open session led by Sidhard and Subhendu. Tim also briefly talked about RHEV and the showed few pictures of the beta.

After refreshing lunch I’ve attended presentation by Michael Stahnke - Managing Infrastructure as a Development Project. Very funny presentation indeed, Michael presented his way of leading an IT team. I personally liked his notes on hiring skilled and right people for the team. Unfortunately I don’t think this talk was recorded. Several other presentations followed, MRG was one of the more interesting ones. The day has ended again with Sidharth and Subhendu and an open discussion about RHEL6 features. Few crazy ideas were proposed, few ideas which are for sure low hanging fruit for Red Hat and Fedora and few things where we’ve been thinking about them for some time and which doesn’t have the right priority – one of them was the idea of minimal installation path and install templates for various setups (web server, print server, file server etc) which was mentioned several times.

The day ended with a great party in Al Capone style with live jazz music, casino, poker and roulette and JBoss party with “spiky-hair” DJ.

Second day of the conference was opened by Brian Stevens and his nice explanation of the cloud and ways how Red Hat contributes to the cloud by creating several related products and projects. He was followed by a NYSE guy talking about the value opensource brought to their business. An interesting thing he mentioned was that they don’t ever plan a single vendor locking and they will always rely on various systems and various providers.

One of the best sessions I’ve attended was a two hour presentation called Performance Analysis and Tuning of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Larry Woodman and John „Shak“ Shakshober showed several ways how to modify system variables to tweak your system for best performance and various appliances. They also did a brief overview on all tools used for monitoring system performance.

The afternoon sessions I’ve picked were slightly more boring than previous presentations. The MRG talk for developers sounded promising but I’ve soon realized that the AMQP API is not simple at all and it will probably need way more time and reading to fully understand the way it was designed. I have also attended a presentation by Andrew Hecox about Creating a Low Cost Red Hat Enterprise Linux Deployment – mostly he talked about the way how Red Hat support is structured and various tools GSS/Support is using for debugging. He even slightly mentioned ABRT :-). After that presentation I took a little break and got myself ready for next party!

The last party was at Museum of Science and Industry. I must admit that this was a great choice and the combination of the tech-exhibitions, good food, awesome ice-cream, again great music and of course great people was just perfect. We came back to the hotel exhausted and instead of JBoss pub-crawl I’ve chosen to do a “bed-crawl”.

On Friday, the last day of the conference, everyone looked quite tired. No wonder why, the last two days were just pumped up with great stuff. I’ve attended two talks, the Collaborative Innovation was more an open discussion about different examples where collaboration helps and how collaboration should be improved. The other one was a presentation about Spike, which turned out to be quite boring. The day closed by lunch and Innovations awards, where several companies were picked to receive an award from Paul Cormier. It’s a pity that it was not explained why that particular company received an award and what was their “innovation” about. We took and nice and comfy limo back to O’Hara airport and headed home.

Few more pictures are available here .. http://picasaweb.google.com/radekvokal/ChicagoUSA#
Tags: conference, red hat summit
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