Linux Days 2014 are over and here comes a short personal résumé. The conference was great and I met a lot of nice people. I have some non-german friends, so I switched the article to my bad school english – sorry about that. The first talk for me was “Amazon Linux – The operating system for the cloud”. It was quite interesting to have somebody who starts provide a slim virtual environment optimized, RPM RHEL binary compatible, distribution with more up-to-date packages. The main issue, it is only and really only available for EC2. I asked if they plan to free their distribution for other Cloud platforms like Open Stack or Cloud Stack – result – not on the road map and even not planned :/ If you start investing time and energy building or moving to a cloud infrastructure, you don’t want to be locked-in. In my opinion the main real killer feature of all the cloud hype is the beginning of standardizing API’s for a software defined vendor independent infrastructure. It allows me to move or scale whenever I want (or external dependencies like electricity cost, availability, compute/network/storage prices are good for me) my services and data seamless to the provider nevertheless if it’s Amazon, Microsoft, Rackspace or my privately owned infrastructure.
The next talk was really was about NeDI with the topic Network Discovery that Really Works from Dr. Michael Schwartzkopff. I know the speaker is familiar with OpenNMS and it would be nice how he presents the NeDI key-features. With our new geographical map, linkd and the new topology map in OpenNMS-SNAPSHOT, we cover some similar use-cases. What kind a cool feature in NeDI is, the possibility making a trace route through a really complex topology in real time and filtering the big topology on different criteria, e.g. vendors, locations or branch offices. They even start to monitor services and collect massively data for network interfaces. The approach is similar to OpenNMS using SNMP using CDP and LLDP for discovering the network topology. In OpenNMS the approach for working with the topology is a little bit different and covers more monitoring related workflows which you can compare by your self here:
Beside my work with computer network and monitoring stuff, I’m also interested in social, political topics around free software and also network neutrality. My friend Sven showed me an interesting project called Freifunk which is a non-profit foundation about building a citizen self driven meshed wireless network. I’ve talked with a few guys at FrosCON and on the Chaos Communication Congress 30C3 in Hamburg. What I really like about it, they start to become really creative, developed new protocols as free software and they solve really big special network problems. So it was cool see a talk from Freifunk in Chemnitz about the special developed Wife-Meshing protocol B.A.T.M.A.N.. They run a really large free community network with 180 Wifi spots and 7000 active sessions. What’s even better, they where able to get support from the city administration which gives them the possibility to place Wifi antennas on public buildings. It would be interesting to know if this is just a east-german phenomenon. Maybe I like monitoring for the reason, I love the network domain, distributed systems, free software and working with smart good looking people which brought me to the OpenNMS project.
The second day had very special topic on my agenda – PostgreSQL: Killing NoSQL. It was a talk from a 15 year experienced PostgreSQL pro and it was a really refreshing talk. He explained some nice stories about customers starting a phone call with something like: “We want to scale like Facebook” and he explained all the NoSQL hype on the level I prefer – ACID vs. BASE and Brewers CAP theorem. He talked about what happen if you try to use the wrong concepts for the wrong use-case and how to prevent you to end up in a real mess also regarding structured vs. unstructured data. He gave also an overview about interesting technologies added to latest PostgreSQL like asynchronous processing facility called PGQ and Postgres-XC which adds read/write scalability to Postgres. This talk had a lot of cool content and he showed – in my point of view a little bit scary example – how flexible Postgres can be with e.g. mongres.
The last talk I’ve seen was how to migrate 500 servers in 3 days with 150 people and what they have learned but to me not interesting enough. They moved 500 server from XEN to VMware and described the planning and what problems they had. It was not that interesting to me as it sounds, so I left the talk after 15 minutes.
They had a big book shop and it was really cool to see a book you wrote on the table. I can’t deny during my 4h travel back home thinking about writing an improved second edition for OpenNMS 1.14. I know there is so much stuff missing in the current book, but why not just go the next step and improve … It was a really cool conference and I’m thinking about giving a talk or a workshop about OpenNMS next year. I like the atmosphere and the University in Chemnitz is a really fancy modern location – if you think about an entrance fee of 8,-€ for two days, it is amazing. Thank you for the cool conference to the CLT-Team and hope see you again next year.