The 2017 Open Source Summit Europe in Praque

This post is my recap of the Open Source Summit Europe conference which took place in Praque (Czech Republic) from October 23-26, 2017. I’ll go briefly through the sessions I attended and the notes I took.

Change history:
Date Change description
2017-11-10 The first release

Context

The Open Source Summit Europe describes itself as:

LinuxCon, ContainerCon, CloudOpen and the new Open Community Conference combine under one umbrella name in 2017 - the Open Source Summit. At the Open Source Summit, you will collaborate, share information and learn across a wide variety of topics, with 2,000 technologists and community members.

It is one of the many events of the Linux Foundation [1] and the main page for the conference itself can be found at [2]. The full schedule for the event I attended is at [3] and the videos to the keynotes can be found at [4].

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Sessions

At any given time I had two to four conflicting sessions in my bookmarks, so I had to decide which ones to go to. Here’s the chronological list of sessions I attended. The session, reachable via the sched links, often have their presentations attached.

If you’re short on time, only read:

These were my top 3 sessions of this conference.

Going Modular: Turning Legacy Docs into User-Story-Based Content

Robert Kratky (Red Hat): http://sched.co/ByIP

The usual measure of success for writing documentation is comprehensiveness. Everything needs to be documented. With shorter delivery cycles of the software to document, it got harder to achieve that level of comprehensiveness. It is also hard to read a monolithic document of dozens to hundreds of pages.

So they started to use a modular approach, based on the question, how to achieve a specific goal. He made a comparison to StackOverflow, which basically does exactly that. It’s not comprehensive, but focuses on specific content and user stories to document. They created a documentation assembly based on action oriented, modular templates, which allowed them to deliver the most important documentation in each delivery cycle.

Code Detective: How to Investigate Linux Performance Issues

Gabriel Krisman (Collabora): http://sched.co/BxIA

Gabriel mentioned Amdahl’s law [5] and that you should not do premature optimization without knowing what parts of your code base is hot code. He recommends knowing the perf profiling tool and metrics like cache-misses and branch-misses. It’s probably also a good idea to stick to common algorithms and avoid being fancy, as the compiler most likely optimizes better than you. At [6], they show more tips and tricks.

Collaboration in Kernel Mailing Lists

Dawn Foster (The Scale Factory): http://sched.co/BxIH

This was a presentation of Dawn’s research for her PhD. Key findings where, that task affiliation is far greater than company affiliation. Also, that the timezone pain gets mitigated by the asynchronous nature of mailing lists. Lastly, professional relationships get stronger with face to face meetings like conferences.

She chose a very interesting type of data visualization for (strength of) collaboration. I don’t know the name of that diagram type; it’s basically a dependency graph arranged in a cycle. Check out her slides at the link above.

Applying Goals-Question-Metrics to Software Development Management

Jose Manrique Lopez de la Fuente (Bitergia): http://sched.co/ByIM

I wasn’t aware of the term inner source [7], until Jose mentioned it in his talk. To move in that direction he discussed the use of goal, question, metric (GQM) [8] and the DevOps framework CALMS:

  • Culture
  • Automation
  • Lean
  • Measurement
  • Sharing

He mentioned that the Community Health Analytics Open Source Software (CHAOSS) can help you to navigate through the complex and very important non-code part of software development.

From Dockerfiles to Ansible Container

Tomas Tomecek (Red Hat): http://sched.co/BxIW

Tomas showed examples of non-trivial hard-to-read Dockerfiles and the problems he faced with parsing and linting them due to the missing spec of the file format. He worried about the varying degrees of quality, freshness and maintenance of the images at DockerHub.

His idea was to use ansible-container to make things more readable, flexible and reusable, until the Moby buildkit could lift some (or all) of the mentioned limitations of Dockerfiles.

EulerOS Isula: Born For Cloud, Drive Cloud Native

Wei Xiong (Huawei): http://sched.co/Cflp

Huawei promotes a cloud-pipe-device ecosystem [9]. All the different parts which play a role until a service can be consumed, run on Linux. But the OS package dependencies get harder to maintain, especially across those very different parts:

  • cloud (Huawei‘s public cloud Atlas),
  • pipe (IIUC, the networking elements),
  • devices (on the end-consumer side)

Instead of having one generic multi purpose Linux instance, they create multiple single purpose Linux instances, based on a common ancestor EulerOS [10]. It’s the divide and conquer strategy for problems, which means they build assembly lines with smaller parts with the goal to have better control.

It was also interesting to hear that they target to have ~90% of the workload happening in containers within the next 2 years. Securing containers happens with KVM.

Developer Tools for Kubernetes

Michelle Noorali & Matt Butcher (Microsoft): http://sched.co/CexK

Michelle and Matt started with a rough categorization of applications, based on their lifespan (short vs. long) and state (stateless vs. stateful). Stateless, short living (mostly event driven) applications are a good match for serverless technology, whereas web applications are your typical long running, stateful applications.

To package your application ready for kubernetes, you can use helm. With draft you can automate the helm packaging and reduce the cognitive load, as it hides some of the complexity. Your event driven pipeline can be simplified with brigade. They also mentioned a tool called pack, but I didn’t find more information with a short google search, so maybe I misheard.

Pipeline as Code For Your Infrastructure as Code

Kris Buytaert (Inuits.eu): http://sched.co/BxIo

Kris also mentioned CLAMS, like Jose did in Applying Goals-Question-Metrics to Software Development Management. He pointed out that it is very important to version your automation code and that you should not click around in the UI to set something up. An interesting measure of success was:

Deploy your Infrastructure as Code (IaC) on a Friday afternoon at 5pm and go home confidently.

He suggested to use the monitoring you set up as the acceptance tests for your IaC efforts. For all that, a Continuous Integration (CI) system is the basis, as it is the prerequisite for Continuous Delivery, which is the prerequisite for Continuous Deployment. Apparently, pipelineDSL and Jenkins Job DSL are popular ways to implement your pipelines. At the end, he warned from a “pipeline sprawl”, a state where you have so many pipelines that it becomes unmanageable.

Serverless - Is It For Your Organization?

Michael Bright (HPE): http://sched.co/BxIz

As already mentioned in Developer Tools for Kubernetes, serverless is useful for short lived applications, like periodic tasks or event driven logic. It’s also useful for glue logic between different systems. The main philosophy behind serverless seems to be, that you don’t care about servers anymore and use Backend as a Service (BaaS), which is mostly based on re-used (recycled) containers nowadays. Another advantage might be the billing as you go on a very granular level. It’s still a young technology (~3 years old), I’m curious how this technology will evolve in the next years.

360 Degree Observability

Ilan Rabinovitch (Datadog): http://sched.co/ByIc

Ilan’s talk was my personal highlight of this conference. Like in Pipeline as Code For Your Infrastructure as Code, he suggested a monitoring driven development. As the things to monitor he listed:

  • Application Performance Monitoring (APM)
  • Real User Monitoring (RUM)
  • Synthetics (simulate user interactions)

In his experience RUM and synthetics work best together. The monitoring can be extended with an algorithmic approach of anomaly detection and forecasting.

He reminded the audience, that the problem is not the right tool it’s the unknown unknowns [11] you don’t know you should measure.

As a side note, check out the Twitter honest status page [12], it’s hilarious (because it’s true).

Using Containers and Continuous Packaging to Build Native Fossology Packages

Bruno Cornec (HPE) and Michael Jaeger (Siemens): http://sched.co/BxJC

Bruno and Michael work on the Fossology project, a tool and database to scan software for all the licensing details you need to specify when building and offering a package. Their advice was to package early, package always. You should also be able to create a package without committing the code first. The way they do it, is to have one templated spec file with macros, where the configuration is done on the outside of this file. They do the build continuously inside of containers with different operating system versions, as there are differences between minor versions of distributions which have a significant impact on the package build process. Something I wasn’t aware of.

IBM LinuxONE: The Largest Scalable Linux Server

Jens Voelker & John Smith (IBM): http://sched.co/Cgor

Disclaimer: I work in this area at IBM.

Jens and John presented the LinuxOne, an IBM Z Mainframe especially for Linux server hosting. Mainly used by governments and banks because of the security aspects, it’s use case also includes license consolidation. Its design fits perfectly for huge databases as it can avoid sharding, which otherwise would result in performance penalties.

The traditional use cases got extended in the past by making it ready for the (private) cloud [13] and container based applications. For example, Docker Enterprise integrated LinuxONE into its CI pipeline and is fully supported on IBM Z since this month. Your microservice meshes also benefit from the high bandwidth inside the machine, which results in low latency. For even more data protection, use the Secure Service Containers (SSC).

Academics and researcher can do their first steps with the Open Mainframe Project [14].

No One Puts the JVM in a Container

Joerg Schad & Johannes Unterstein (Mesosphere): http://sched.co/BxIl

The gist of this talk was, be very aware of what you pack into a container and what actually happens inside the container and on the host. An example was given with a Java application. Apparently, before Java8, the JRE is not aware of cgroups and uses host resources. And the hard limit on memory controlled by cgroups means, that the docker process gets killed when it reaches a state of over-consumption. With Java8 and later, you can use the flags UseCGroupMemoryLimitForHeap and UnlockExperimentalVMOptions. With this, all the namespace and cgroup mapping on the real resources get considered.

Docker, Moby is Killing Your #devops Efforts

Kris Buytaert (Inuits.eu): http://sched.co/BxJd

It was an opinionated talk (which is good, that’s why I go to conferences) and Kris is obviously very passionate about DevOps. His main points were, that Enterprises are afraid of (public) clouds and are in favor of “caged” private clouds, where you emulate non-caged private clouds with huge VMs (previously requested with an internal ticketing system) and run Docker in it.

The actual problem, that developers and operators don’t talk to each other didn’t get tackled, as a Docker container is treated now like a fancy tarball, which gets thrown over the wall with “works on my machine, I’m done”. To be precise, he didn’t complain about Docker as a technology, he was more worried about how we use this technology.

Workshop: Continuous Integration with the Open Build Service

Eduardo Navarro & Björn Geuken (SUSE Linux GmbH): http://sched.co/ByRq

The open build service (OBS) [15] can build OS packages for different package managers and CPU architectures and distributions. It is based on kiwi [16], an OS image builder. A github webhook integration is available, so it should be possible to create a continuous integration with continuous delivery approach with it. A private installation of OBS is also possible.

To be honest, I didn’t fully attend this workshop, as it conflicted with another session I wanted to see, so I missed probably some information. It sounded very promising though.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Object Storage

Erit Wasserman (Red Hat): http://sched.co/CnWI

The fun fact first, Erit let us know that Ceph got its name from Cephalopods [17] (squids, octopuses and suchlike). The high-level differences between the common ways to store data are:

  • block storage has no metadata but is fast
  • file system has hierarchy and metadata and in-place writes
  • object storage has flat namespace; objects are immutable

As the objects are immutable, each version of an object is a new object, which means you need a retention policy to deal with the needed disk space.

Apparently, Ceph offers block, file and object storage and uses rados as the underlying distributed object storage, while radosgw lifts some limits of rados (I didn’t get the details which limits). As the single objects can be big, you need a way to be resilient against network issues, so it divides single large objects into smaller ones and does a multipart upload.

Open Source is Just About the Source, Isn’t It?

Isabel Drost-Fromm (Europace AG): http://sched.co/ByIo

Isabel talked about everything development related but the code, which is great, as “the messy problems are people problems” and I have to agree. The source code is only a small part of the project and the community is at least as important as the code. She made excellent points about the different ways of communication, trademarking, licensing, change management, FAQs, work delegation and much more. Finding ways for newbies to replicate correct behavior is important too. A lot to think about when you start your next open source project.

Transactional Updates with btrfs and RPMs

Thorsten Kukuk (SUSE): http://sched.co/BxK2

Thorsten did a proof of concept with btrfs, a copy on write general purpose filesystem to enable transactional operating system updates without reboots. He uses the btrfs subvolumes (not to be confused with LVM volumes) and their snapshot capability to achieve this. Unfortunately I didn’t get all the details, but having to never reboot again after an update sounds like operators would love it.

Tutorial: Container Orchestration with Kubernetes

Michael Steinfurth (B1 Systems GmbH): http://sched.co/ByRs

This session showed how kubernetes uses etcd for saving data. You can run etcd on kubernetes itself or as dedicated servers and you need at least 3 etcd nodes to have a quorum. The etcd clients have to advertise themselves to the peers. Michael used flanneld for networking overlay and stored the network configuration in etcd and the whole etcd cluster is then aware of this new value. For all that, you can use kubectl, a configuration tool and cluster CLI.

Event Recap

It was a very good event; the quality of the sessions ans speakers was excellent. Everything was well organized. The evening event on Wednesday took place in the Municipal House, a gorgeous building (see image below). I’m looking forward to the next event, October 22 - 24, 2018 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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