There's a moment, when you're 9,412 miles away from home, standing in front of an audience of 300 or so people, when you have to wonder just how it is you ended up here.
Clearly there was a plane ride involved… a darn long one that involved three planes, including one with a broken engine that threw off the timing for the rest of the trip. Then there was the surreal experience of being escorted by two security guards through Narita airport because they thought my roll-up banner sign would not fit in the overhead compartment. And the massive thunderstorm that hit as I was walking through the national botanical gardens, getting me stuck in a very small shelter with lots of other people.
"Here," I should explain, was the FOSSAsia conference, this year located at multiple venues in Singapore. A mid-sized regional free and open source event, this was FOSSAsia's first time in the small island nation about 87 miles north of the Equator, having been located in other nations in prior years such as Vietnam and Cambodia. The three-day conference was split into two different formats. First, a single-track traditional day of speakers that included Lennart Poettering of systemd fame; Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore's Minister for the Environment and Water Resources; and Gen Kanai, Mozilla's Director of Community Engagement for Asia. Next, were two days of smaller workshop sessions and tracks.
I was joined by another colleague from Red Hat: Maor Lipchuk, an engineer from the oVirt/RHEV Storage team who'd flown in a goodly distance from Tel Aviv. Together, Maor and I would each deliver individual talks, as well as co-host an oVirt Workshop. The workshop, held on March 14, was a half-day of demos and talks around the oVirt virtual datacenter management platform. Joining us as a guest speaker for the workshop was James Jiang, from Cloud-Times in Beijing. Cloud-Times is a hardware and software vendor that specializes in the deployment of virtual desktop infrastructures.
James' discussion of best practices in VDI garnered much interest within the Workshop, particularly since he and his company had the chops–one of the example deployments was for a regional school system in China that needed over 10,000 virtual desktops in its implementation. Using oVirt as its upstream base, Cloud-Times' commercial software enables its customers to manage such deployments with ease, even (with the add-ons that Cloud-Times provides) using a wide variety of mixed media and hardware platforms.
Maor's talk on best practices in storage also brought a lot of discussion and questions from the 30+ attendees of the Saturday morning workshop. Not surprising, since Maor is an expert on a topic that anyone interested in virtual machine management and cloud computing has to master. Storage is a big part of any cloud and virtual solution, and getting their questions answered seemed a big help for the attendees.
oVirt's participation in this year's FOSSAsia conference was a success for us an an open source project… any opportunity to share our work in the broader community is a good thing, and the level of expertise in this conference made the efforts of this trip well worth it.