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User Stories, Dialogs Are Central Theme of oVirt Workshop

The latest iteration of the oVirt Workshop rolled into Düsseldorf on October 16th, with loads of new content to share with participants and the start of new dialogs about the future of the open source virtual datacenter management platform.

The day started with a well-received presentation from Michal Skrivanek on what's new in oVirt 3.5, which unbeknownst to the attendees, would be released the very next day.

Next up, Antoni Segura Puimedon walked everyone through the details of how oVirt and OpenStack are integrating, which generated some good discussion, primarily because of all of the technologies out in enterprise IT, people are very interested in OpenStack and how they can use it. This is a topic worth exploring in detail in the near future.

Barak Azulay then talked about ways oVirt works with Foreman. Foreman integration has been a big part of the oVirt story over the past year, as admins and users make the jump to better life-cycle management. Combining that kind of management with a superior virtual machine manager makes a lot of sense.

After the break, Federico Simoncelli rolled out a look at how oVirt is progressing in the world of a hot topic in IT right now: Docker. There are two ways oVirt will work with Docker: using oVirt to manage Docker containers directly (with a little help from Kubernetes for orchestration), and by containerizing oVirt Engine to run inside Docker and create the fastest and simplest oVirt install ever.

Things got ahead of schedule by this point in the day, so Fabian Deutsch graciously stepped in to pinch-present an overview of oVirt Node: what it is and what's ahead for this just-enough OS tool. There's a lot of work being done on Node, and the audience was keenly interested in hearing more about it.

Following lunch, the afternoon sessions became much more free-form and interactive.

Leading this afternoon off were presentations from three oVirt users who shared their own stories on how and why they use oVirt within their organizations. Jorick Astrego, René Koch, and Markus Stockhausen talked about the whats and the whys, and garnered a lot of questions from other users and oVirt developers alike to see what use cases they had for oVirt.

Using the brand-new oVirt USB sticks created just for the oVirt Workshop and LinuxCon EU, Sandro Bonazzola demoed the key new features in oVirt 3.5 and also showed audience members some tricks and techniques they might not have known about otherwise. Martin Sivak jumped in with an impromptu follow-up on how to set up pre-defined and custom scheduling policies within oVirt.

The final presentation of the day had Barak returning to the podium, joined by me, to lay out what is going to be coming with future versions of oVirt, which as hot unplugging of CPUs, Ceph integration, load balancing based on memory, more integration of the PatternFly interface, and CentOS/RHEL 7 support for oVirt Engine, to name a few. Attendees also talked about what they'd like to see in upcoming versions of oVirt, which included "stability;" "serial consoles;" saving snapshots to disk as a poor-man's backup but through the API; and enhanced integration with KSM. There were more suggestions, which will be detailed in another report.

Overall, the oVirt Workshop was a very positive experience for all who attended, and it wasn't the only oVirt presence in Germany last week. Dozens of people stopped by the Red Hat booth to talk about oVirt, and several engineers and community members spoke about oVirt in the co-located LinuxCon, CloudOpen, and KVM Forum events. oVirt is gaining quite the reputation within the IT community, and much of it is very, very good.

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oVirt 3.5 Rolls Out

oVirt logo To say that October was a big month for oVirt would be a little bit of an understatement.

This past week was the KVM Forum, a three-day event in Düsseldorf that brought together the entire KVM community, which included oVirt users and developers. The October 16th oVirt Workshop, a free-of-charge event co-located with the KVM Forum, focused on the oVirt datacenter platform and its use in business and academic worlds.

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GNOME Boxes 3.14, Unboxed

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Boxes of Boxes, a bi-monthly virtualization, containerization, and turduckenization column. Given the title and subject matter of this column, and the fact that version 3.14 of GNOME desktop environment has recently shipped, I decided to take a look at the project's built-in application for running virtual machines: GNOME Boxes. I took GNOME Boxes for a spin on Fedora 21 alpha, which also shipped recently, sporting GNOME 3.14 as its default desktop environment.

The GNOME 3.14 release notes point to support for Debian as a newly added "express installation" target for GNOME Boxes, so I started off by pointing the app at a Debian Wheezy installation ISO I'd downloaded. The express installation feature suggests a set of sane defaults for virtual disk size and for VM memory, asks for a password, and promptly chefs up a fresh VM instance, and the feature worked as expected with the installation I'd kicked off.

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CentOS Community Update -- All About SIGs

Welcome to a new column that is publishing at least twice monthly on Tuesdays on to talk about what is happening in the expanding CentOS Project.

One of the most exciting aspects of the expanding CentOS Project is the work being done by Special Interest Groups, or SIGs, to bring emerging technologies to the CentOS community.

The work of these SIGs happens on top of the CentOS Linux core release, providing new software alongside the core in the form of repositories or images. In some cases SIGs may replace core packages as part of making a variant targeted at a specific audience. SIGs can do this because members must come from the involved upstream project, and thus are authoritative about what that software and its community needs

There has been significant interest all year long to get new SIGs up and running, which has taken its fair share of time in each case. This is mainly because we are building the scaffolding in real time for an open and participatory community that can help set the direction of the CentOS Project.

Because the entirety of the CentOS developers are now contributing more broadly across the Project, we're all adjusting to the way some things are moving faster and others more slowly. In order to maintain velocity, in some cases we're creating policy and process in real time, and still learning how best to share all that.

Here is a quick overview of the various SIGs that are active or becoming active soon. In future columns, we’ll go more in to one or two SIGs at a time to show what is happening in detail.

Fresh and Getting Started:

  • Cloud - The Cloud SIG focuses on what is needed for running a Cloud Infrastructure / Hypervisor for on-premise clouds. The SIG also supports other SIGs and projects looking to consume some of the shared resources around on-premise cloud infrastructure.
  • Cloud Instance - The Cloud Instance SIG has a goal of maintaining all the base cloud images that are used for all the various private and public cloud setups.
  • For private, IaaS cloud controllers, we are currently targeting OpenStack, CloudStack, OpenNebula, Eucalyptus, oVirt, Docker, and Vagrant.
  • Examples of vendor ecosystems (i.e., public clouds) are Amazon Web Services, HP Cloud, and Google Compute.
  • Virtualization - This SIG is focused around virtualization in and of CentOS Linux. The SIG has been focused primarily on producing a Xen4 hypervisor kernel variant.
  • Storage - The Storage SIG focuses on deploying CentOS as a storage node. Software groups involved include OpenAFS, Ceph, and GlusterFS.
  • Atomic - The Atomic SIG aims to build, deliver, and maintain an Atomic Host based on CentOS Linux, and stand up tooling that would allow additional CentOS spins to be built with rpm-ostree. An Atomic host is a minimal host, optimized to run and manage Docker containers, and using rpm-ostree to deliver "atomic" updates.

Underway but New

  • Artwork - The Artwork SIG provides the look/feel and art/design standards for the project as well as the CentOS Linux distro.
  • Promo - The Promo SIG works on bringing people together to discuss and learn about CentOS Linux and doing interesting things with it, everywhere from small groups to conferences to specialized CentOS Dojos.

Stable SIGs

  • Xen4CentOS - The Xen4CentOS SIG maintains the Xen4 kernel for CentOS Linux.

Mature, Self-supporting

This is the stage in which a SIG has full-authority, powers, and tooling within its purview to get its work done.

  • Core - The Core SIG produces the CentOS Linux Distribution. There is minimal Board oversight, and the SIG essentially has seats on the CentOS Board due to the highest importance put on this aspect of the Project, the production of CentOS Linux core.
  • Infrastructure - The Infrastructure SIG runs all the essential participation platforms for contributors to get work done.
  • QA - The QA SIG includes aspects of release engineering, focused on several QA aspects. One aspect is the re-branding of source code to make the distro CentOS Linux, another is testing and working through package build issues.

For more information about CentOS SIGs, visit the Special Interest Groups page in the wiki.

Find CentOS online at: * Twitter - @centos and @centosevents * G+ CentOS * CentOS Facebook Group

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GHC '14: Advancing the Work from Home Option

The Thursday afternoon Advancing the Work from Home Option Birds of a Feather (BoF) session, led by IBM engineer Lauren J. Schaefer, offered a chance for attendees to share tips for working from home, to network, and to brainstorm on how to encourage other organizations to offer opportunities for working remotely. Although Lauren led the BoF, attendees actively contributed to the discussion in smaller groups and then summarized what they discussed for the room of approximately 80 women.

When the BoF started, Lauren encouraged the attendees, who were scattered across the tables throughout the room, to gather together and fill the seats at fewer tables to help foster the smaller group conversations. I sat at a table full of women from Thomson Reuters, Apple, Microsoft, and GitHub, for example. Lauren took a poll of attendees and we learned that the majority rarely work at home, several occasionally work at home, and a few women (myself included) work from home full-time. The women at my table reflected the mix of attendees gathered in the room.

Lauren said that her goals in the BoF were to build a work from home community, share tips and techniques for being successful remote employees, and, most ambitiously, to develop a plan for making the work from home option available for new employees of other organizations.

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GHC '14 - OpenHatch Open Source Workshop & Getting Into GitHub

The first day of the 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration started off with a session welcoming newcomers to GHC '14. Last year, ~4,000 people attended the event, and the number doubled for 2014, which means a lot of newcomers to welcome. Next, the auditorium filled up as attendees filed in for the opening welcome, awards presentation, and a cryptography-focused keynote by Shafi Goldwasser (2012 recipient of the Turing Award). Sessions started after the lunch break, including an open source track, which included a code-a-thon where attendees could work with representatives from various projects.

Back in 2010, I read an article, Ready to be an open source contributor but don't know where to start?, which explained OpenHatch. The OpenHatch project was only about a year old back then. I decided to sit in the GHC '14 OpenHatch session today to see what the project is up to now.

I was surprised that Shauna Gordon-McKeon, Program Director at OpenHatch, didn't actually discuss the project much. Instead, she gave a quick, practical introduction to open source, which makes sense because the vast majority of GHC '14 attendees aren't active in open source communities. Yet.

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GHC '14 Opens Up with Open Source

The 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is this week, October 8-10, in Phoenix, Arizona, with 8,000 attendees expected to converge on the annual event. Open source skills can give you a big advantage in the tech industry, so it's fitting that GHC '14 kicks off with a bunch of open source action.

According to Priyanka Sarkar in a recent article on, FOSS Skills That Will Get You Hired This Year, candidates with OpenStack, web and mobile app development, and programming experience, for example, are in demand. These are a few of the areas that will be covered in Wednesday's Grace Hopper Open Source Day, which includes a Code-a-thon for Humanity as attendees pick up new (or improve current) open source skills. Registered code-a-thon attendees can choose to work with participating organizations, such as OpenStack. In the OpenStack workshop, for example, attendees with basic familiarity with SSH clients get a crash course in cloud computing, OpenStack, and how OpenStack is used in humanitarian apps.

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ManageIQ Design Summit Preview - Come Fleece with Us

Next week is the first ever ManageIQ Design Summit, and the agenda looks great - a real opportunity to learn more about cloud management in general, and how we're shapping the roadmap of ManageIQ in particular. Here are some of the highlights of what you'll see:

Event Kick-off - October 7, 9am

Oleg Barenboim will discuss where we are, engineering-wise, and then Xavier Lecauchois, CloudForms product czar, and Jarid Cottrell, Booz Allen Hamilton architect, will talk about the state of cloud management and where ManageIQ fits.

Extend Track

There are two tracks in the design summit, extend and design. The extend track is all about how you can utilize ManageIQ, color outside the lines, and push it beyond the scope of what it does "out of the box".

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Ceph's Sage Weil Challenges Open Source Storage Community to Donate to the Ada Initiative

The Ada Initiative is an organization dedicated to addressing gender diversity head-on, with a specific focus on open source and open data communities. Their mission is critical, and their work is much-needed by our community.

In a blog post this week, Sage Weil, principal architect of the Ceph project at Red Hat, has agreed to match $8,192 of Ada Initiative contributions dollar-for-dollar during their fundraiser. In his post, Sage writes, "As Inktank and as DreamHost we were proud to be early supporters of the Ada Initiative. Today, I am proud to continue that support with a personal challenge to the open source storage community."

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OpenDaylight Helium Gets Out of the Gate

Whether you are deploying applications in containers, VMs, or on bare metal, being able to group related services together into private networks and control the traffic flowing into and out of your infrastructure is important. The SDN controller fulfills that role by allowing you to define network policy centrally and have that policy applied at the edges of your network, in the physical and virtual network switches.

OpenDaylight is an open source SDN controller. In its short lifetime, OpenDaylight has gained support from a diverse set of companies and individuals who are eager to see an open source controller serve the networking needs of traditional IT, cloud infrastructure platforms, traditional virtualization management, and fleets of containers. Cisco released the initial code in 2013 and the project now includes 41 paying members. Red Hat is a founding member of the project at Platinum level.

This week the OpenDaylight project had its second major code release, code-named Helium, which is a big advancement for the project. The release includes more than 4,700 contributions from 183 engineers, representing 20 companies. More than 300 commits came from the affiliation "independent", which also shows the breadth of the project's appeal.

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