Recap of the January 2013 oVirt Workshop

The first oVirt Workshop of 2013 was held this past week at NetApp headquarters in Sunnyvale, CA. It was a great event and couldn’t have been more pleased with the turnout as these workshops are critical to growing the oVirt community of developers and users. Before I get into why it was a success and some of my favorite highlights, I’d like to provide a little background as to what oVirt is as well as why it is important to NetApp.

oVirt, or Open Virtualization, is both the governing body and open source project dedicated to developing the software ecosystem around the KVM hypervisor.  This ecosystem provides management tools, API’s, frameworks, and everything else one would expect from a vibrant open source project. oVirt is also the “upstream” to Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) in that the features that are extended in and added to oVirt will make their way into the commercial platform, RHEV.

oVirt was launched by Red Hat at LinuxCon 2011 in Vancouver to include as part of Red Hat’s effort to not only open source their Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) platform, but to encourage a larger open source community around it. IBM, Intel, Cisco, SuSE, and NetApp were all asked to join oVirt at the board level. And make no mistake about it, NetApp is proud to be the only storage vendor on the board.

It’s important to note why NetApp is involved in both oVirt and RHEV, as this is clearly different from our other partnerships. In short, being involved in oVirt allows NetApp to influence the roadmap as well as have a direct avenue for developing integration. This also reinforces NetApp’s thought leadership in virtualization as well as NetApp’s tradition and commitment to promoting open source. Our involvement in RHEV provides a more traditional partnership that drives joint solutions and a high level of interoperability between Red Hat and NetApp.

Now onto the workshop that was held last week at NetApp headquarters. NetApp’s director of standards, David Dale, and VP of Data Center Platforms, Patrick Rogers kicked off Day 1 with their respective keynotes. David provided great detail on the trade organizations and standards groups that NetApp is involved in, while Patrick brought the focus much closer to his organization’s commitment to contributing to open source. This was followed by the more traditional presentations and discussions.

The first presentation that I’d like to highlight was NetApp’s own Chris Morrissey, lead developer for Red Hat integration, who presented progress made on the “Virtual Storage Console” (VSC) for RHEV. This is a plugin that will allow a RHEV administrator to discover and provision storage directly from the RHEV management interface. Additionally, VSC for RHEV 1.0 will also include a rapid cloning utility for NFS-based virtual machines. The audience was very impressed with the progress made by NetApp and several folks mentioned that no one else had created plug-ins that were anywhere near the scope of the VSC for RHEV.

Red Hat’s director of RHEV engineering, Itamar Heim, gave the next presentation that I’d like to highlight. His presentation was centered on the integration of oVirt and Quantum, which is a network-as-a-service that was originally developed as part of the OpenStack cloud platform. Quantum provides a common API that supports many software-based networks. Integrating oVirt, and therefore RHEV, with Quantum greatly adds to the virtual networking tools available such as Open vSwitch, Cisco UCS/Nexus plugins, and others.

Aside from the highlights that I just presented, I’d also like to explain the 2 and half day flow of the workshop. We seem to have found a balance that servers everyone equally. Here is the breakdown:

  • Day 1 – User day.  User day includes the opening keynotes as well as presentations centered on roadmaps, community feedback, and architecture reviews.
  • Day 2 – Developer day. Developer day covers both developers and integrators as the discussion dives quickly into “the weeds”. Presentations often include code examples, demonstrations, and deeply technical dives into API’s and SDK’s.
  • Day 3 (pt 1) – Hackfest day. This half-day has the least structure for a reason. Some basic guidelines are provides around “birds of a feather” sessions – sessions that group folks together that have similar interests such as user interface, storage subsystem, virtual networking, etc. This allows for intense discussions as well as the opportunity to code together.
  • Day 3 (pt 2) – Board meeting. At the same time that the hackfest was going on, there was an open oVirt board meeting. Obviously board members were in attendance, but others could join in to observe. Some of the topics of the board meeting included defining our core users & how to reach them, defining oVirt adoption use cases, and the need for more regionalized oVirt “meetups” that place less demand for attendees.

So what about the “success” that I mentioned in the beginning? I tend to measure success based on 4 criteria:

  • Attendance – Did the number of attendees warrant the effort of pulling together such an event? Was there a good cross-section of users, developers, and customers?
  • Content – Did the presentations provide everyone a deeper understanding and/or encourage them to get involved or more involved?
  • Was it worth my/others’ time? – Was it worth flying cross-country, losing work productivity, and time away from home?

I have to say that based on the factors above, the first oVirt Workshop of 2013 was a great success. Nearly 100 open source enthusiasts registered for the event, which was attended by top customers such as Yahoo, key engineers across a range of leading technology partners such as Symantec, board members, key oVirt contributors, and lots of enthusiastic users. From the content standpoint, I tend to judge a presentation based on the questions asked and conversations sparked. Here too was a great success in that each presentation generated great inquiries as wall as multiple “hallway” discussions.

Finally, in judging the time spent away from work and home, I look at it from the perspectives of the content, as mentioned above, as well as the human networking. These events can be invaluable in terms of meeting key folks for the first time, putting faces to names, and enabling deeper collaboration. This too was a great success. One example of this was that I witnessed developers that live on opposite sides of the globe clear up a misunderstanding that would have otherwise taken weeks to clear up.

In wrapping up, I’d like to invite you to join us for any future events. We keep things updated fairly well on the oVirt website – And keep an eye out for the “meetups” that I briefly mentioned above… I’m thinking RTP would be a great location as IBM, Red Hat, NetApp, and Cisco are well-represented – not to mention the potential for new users and developers….

Captain KVM


2 thoughts on “Recap of the January 2013 oVirt Workshop”

    1. Hi Adam,

      Thanks for taking the time to post. All of the VSC work is be developed upstream in oVirt first, so it will be available in both.

      Captain KVM

Agree? Disagree? Something to add to the conversation?