Cloud Foundry Summit 2016 at Santa Clara – an experience report

CF Summit Header graphic

Introduction

It’s that time again – May – the Cloud Foundry (CF) community meets in Santa Clara, California for the annual Cloud Foundry Summit USA. Some members of our anynines team started the long journey from Europe to California to take part in this great event. Five exciting days were waiting for us, starting with the

  • CF Summit Unconference

and after that

  • 3 days of CF Summit with Keynotes, talks and trainings

ending with the

  • Technical BOSH Day

There is no better place for concentrated Cloud Foundry knowledge, a reunion of industry friends and the encounter of new CF members.
In the following blog post we will give you a personal insight into our experiences during the Cloud Foundry Summit.

Cloud Foundry Summit 2016 logo

The Cloud Foundry Summit Unconference

With a bit of jet lag and the weariness of a 9h time shift we started on Sunday, May 22 into the 5-day event series – beginning with the Unconference of the CF Summit, organized by Dave Nielson (@davenielsen) of Redis Labs.

On our way to the Unconference room we already met many familiar faces, we had become acquainted with in 2015 at the CF Summit Berlin and the CF Summit Asia in Shanghai. Like Dave Nielson.
He invited anynines personally to the event and allowed Julian Fischer (@fischerjulian), our CEO, to hold a Lightning Talk.

The Unconference is like a small ‘in advance family reunion’ in a casual, offbeat atmosphere with drinks and snacks. New CF Members are incorporated herein warmly.
We got into conversation with the other participants quickly, some of them came explicitly to us because we knew each other from recent Cloud Foundry events. It’s always fun to talk with people who have the same passion and interests.

The very good mood and atmosphere of the Unconference made us all curious and attuned us for the upcoming evening with Lightning Talks and the subsequent days of the Summit.
After a short small talk with the event visitors Dave Nielsen called the approximately 200 participants for the start of Lightning Talks along the Unconference. The Lightning Talks on that day gave only glimpses into various topics around Cloud Foundry. 5 minutes are not enough time to go deeper into detail. However, they are characterized by their unconventional style.

Dr. Nic (@drnic) opened the series of lectures with the content of BOSH Releases ‘PostgreSQL cluster with backup and recovery’. This was followed by Daniel Young (@dan0young) from Engineer Better with the talk ‘People, not Platform’, followed by Animesh Singh who spoke about ‘Cloud Native’ and in the end Julian Fischer concluded the talk series with his talk about ‘Redis Cluster’.

Then we took a short break to catch our breaths and to ease down after many informative speeches.

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After the talks several topics were presented within a minute, at which the participants had the opportunity to discuss in groups and exchange ideas. The time frame was also specified by the participants. The organizer suggested several time frames and we all were optimistic and voted for only 15 minutes for the subjects.
Five groups were defined quickly and easily and accommodated in 2 discussion rounds. Among others the topics included:

  • CF Operations
  • CF Ambassadors
  • Mendix – Saving resources in test environments

Personally, I attended the presentation of the Cloud Foundry Ambassadors. Here a Cloud Foundry Foundation official explained to us how an Ambassador is defined and which way you could become one, concerning training culture etc. . We are proud of our CEO Julian Fischer to be appointed CF Ambassador.

After so many topics and impressions we let the evening fade away with a drink and further discussions with our fellow participants. Tired but excited we went to our hotel room afterwards and looked forward to the start of the CF Summit the next day.

Monday – Day 1

Cloud Foundry Summit 2016 Santa ClaraMonday Morning – 6am. The jet lag still had a hold on us but the sun made us getting up more easily. We were highly motivated and at 9 am we already stood at the registry with all our giveaways. Unfortunately we were two hours too early and were put off to 11am by our event organization contact Deborah Giles. But that did not cut down our enthusiasm. At 11am sharp we stood in the exhibition hall and we started building up our anynines booth.

We brought anynines shirts in two different designs, bags with a Cheat Sheet for Cloud Foundry shortcuts and stickers for the conference visitors. Soon we were ready and everything was prepared to welcome the people.

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The hall was officially opened in the afternoon. We had the opportunity to observe the setup of the other booths and the hall interior in general.
What struck me: the Americans set up everything quietly and easily without much stress and it did not look as if they’d make it on time, but they did. And the hall was superbly furnished. Particularly the middle of the hall was cozy. There you could find chairs, couches, small and large seating areas a billiard table, Janga and table tennis.

While all the sponsor booths were set up the CF Summit offered, as it did in Berlin and Shanghai last year, several 6-hour Cloud Foundry trainings.
During these trainings the developers had the opportunity to become acquainted with various topics, such as:

  • Microservices on CF – going cloud native
  • CF for Beginners – from zero to hero
  • operation a platform – BOSH and everything else

Before the sponsor hall was opened, all CF Summit participants met at the opening keynote of Sam Ramji (@sramji), CEO Cloud Foundry Foundation. Host of the keynotes, that took place daily, was Dr. Nic from Stark & Wayne.

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The atmosphere at the opening was unique. Everyone was curious, excited, motivated and enthusiastic. As Dr. Nic took the stage and announced Sam there was thunderous applause.
Everyone listened intently to Sam and at the same time took out their smartphones to tweet about the event.

The first keynote gave us an insight into the history of Cloud Foundry and the Foundation.
Established in 2014, the Foundation counted 26 members, now there are 63 members and anynines is one of them. This first Keynote was followed by another two.

Now it was about time to go to the booth and inform the visitors about our products and services. For sure also to spread our giveaways among the participants.
In the next few hours we had many interesting conversations, exchanged business cards and showed our Service Framework for MongoDB, Redis, RabbitMQ and PostgreSQL, as well as our training courses around Cloud Foundry to the conference visitors.

Amazingly, we learned that there are few training programs in the US and the interest in our in-house or online courses was therefore very high.
All were super nice, interested and the atmosphere was very positive.

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After long 12 hours we finished the day with a drink chatting with fellow participants.

Tuesday – Day 2

Tuesday morning we met at the official Summit Breakfast and braced us for the day. Despite the early start of the event everybody was merry, cheerful and ready for the day. My personal highlight was a sweet little coffee booth and my day was saved.

Cloud Foundry Summit 2016 Santa Clara

This second Summit day also began with Keynotes and all participants listened with rapt attention to the presentations. Springer Nature from Berlin amused the listenership once again with their special slide presentation, featuring Lego figures and other toys.

Unlike Monday, on the second day there were up to five speeches simultaneously. Our team members could hardly decide which of the interesting talks they should visit. The Keynotes made it easier for us because it was the only talk at that time.
There were topics available about everything concerning Cloud Foundry. There were talks about User Stories, Backups, BOSH and Cloud Foundry Services (our CEO Julian Fischer held a talk about ‘Building a production grade PostgreSQL Cloud Foundry service’) to Open Source Experience reports. But to list all these subject in this blog post would break the mold. Just have a look at the Cloud Foundry Summit schedule by yourself.

During the many presentations, the Exhibition Hall of the sponsors was open all day. It was so much fun to speak with the participants from around the world and to listen how they work with Cloud Foundry also the successes and stumbling blocks they have. Cloud Foundry Summit 2016 Santa Clara We met people from New Zealand, China, Switzerland, Belarus, Sweden, India and of course from the United States.

During the day we could hardly catch our breath, our booth was so well attended that we barely had any business cards left on Tuesday and we had already run out of giveaways by then.

On Tuesday the job wall and the community wall fell into the focus of the participants. I did not miss the chance to draw our logo on the wall and pin our job ad there. Some creativity and painting was a super alternation on this day.

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For anynines the highlight of the day was Julian’s talk in the early afternoon with the topic ‘Building a production grade PostgreSQL Cloud Foundry service’.
The talk was very well attended and the visitors were excited to learn about the architecture of PostgreSQL.
Obviously 30 minutes are not enough time to illuminate such a complex topic. After the talk many listeners came to the speaker with their questions on the subject, which Julian gladly answered.
The demand was very high and so Julian decided short handedly to publish the slides and also a video about the topic to CF community on the same day.

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Another event on that day was the two hour long ‘Diversity Luncheon & Program conducted by Cornelia Davis (@cdavisafc). Lucas (@medk_) had the chance to participate in the meal and very excited he told us afterwards  about his impressions.
This part of the program dealt with the initiative for women in the IT world and the pooling of different cultures and countries. Lucas was sitting in a small group of 10 persons in which 7 countries were represented and they all exchanged views on their experience and career in the cloud area.

After the highlights and interviews of the 2nd day of the CF Summit the sun went down slowly. The hall voided gradually and we packed our things in the late evening – almost closing time. At the end of the day, however, there were still two keynotes.
We indulged ourselves in a few rays of sunshine before we were very tired and went to bed.

Wednesday – Day 3

Very soon it was already Wednesday morning, the dawn of the last day of the Summit CF. Like the day before, we met in the lobby for breakfast. This morning Lucas and Steffen (@SteffenZuber) were super excited, as they were heading for their first talk in Silicon Valley. Only Ralf and I could enjoy the food and afterwards we made for the keynotes.

Cloud Foundry Summit 2016 Santa Clara

Similar to the day before, up to 5 Talks took place at the same time, in addition the Exhibition Hall was open during the day. The sponsor booths were  less busy on Wednesday as the days before.
Most participants had a combined ticket and not necessarily single day ticket. But the interest in our products also did not break off on Wednesday. There were still steadily Visitors were still with us and still wanted information.
The atmosphere was cheerful and easy until the last hour, which made it easy for us to get through the long days on the booth.

The presentation of Lucas and Steffen started after a short program break.
Both were very excited and a little tense. Steffen started the lecture and any excitement seemed to be gone. Although they had not chosen themselves to lecture but were standing in for a colleague who unfortunately could not travel, they did very well. The lecture, entitled ‘Experience report – Cloud Foundry Open Source Operations’, was well attended and subsequent questions they could answer easily. We take our hats off to them and compliment on their first lecture at the origin of the Cloud Foundry Summit.

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The response to both lectures, the one by Julian as well as to the one by Steffen and Lucas, was very large, which was also detectable at our booth. The lectures also attracted much attention on our brand.

Cloud Foundry Summit 2016 Santa Clara

On Wednesday afternoon, shortly before the end of the three days at the Conference, we dismantled our booth.
We did not have to pack much, but left with empty suitcases, as our giveaways had been spread among our visitors so quickly, we will have to take a lot more of them to CF Summit in Frankfurt in September. We left the Exhibition Hall with a very good feeling, many positive impressions and great conversations. It was just fun and has enriched all of us with a great and wonderful experience.

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The official end of the conference made Sam Ramji himself in a fire chat with Paul Maritz (@Paul_Maritz) of Pivotal.

Cloud Foundry Summit 2016 Santa Clara

Thursday – Technical BOSH Day

Technical BOSH day Cloud Foundry Summit 2016 Santa ClaraThursday – May 26, the official CF Summit is over. Nevertheless we were back at the Convention Center in Santa Clara. The community wanted a day just for BOSH, which was gladly granted.
Paula Kennedy (@PaulaLKennedy) of Pivotal organized a special Technical BOSH Day.
The demand for the day was immensely high, the event was more than sold out.
Officially there were 200 seats, but 209 seats were booked. Luckily, the capacity of the room took 210 seats.

Sam Ramji himself took the opening and nine more speeches lay ahead of us comprising one panel discussion and eight Lightning talks.
All topics dealt with – as the name suggests – BOSH.
The talks mainly aimed at technical aspects and gave the developers a detailed insight into the matter. Julian also held a speech that day, this time on ‘Delivering a production CF environment with BOSH‘. With the large participation and the vast interest in this topic such an event will more than likely be repeated.

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Conclusion

At the conference we have heard about miscellaneous topics around Cloud Foundry, and we are glad that we were present all five days.
It might have been a little tiring sometimes, but the atmosphere lightened our days and what is more, the organizers of the Foundation were always open for our questions and we owe them a debt of gratitude.

Everybody is together and enjoying each other

The five days in Santa Clara were a personal gain for all of us. It was a great experience to get to know the American market and the people there. Julian had been able to experience this for several years already and we can now well understand his rapture and why it has always been so special to him.

Ranging from the Unconference, through the three CF Summit days up to the Technical BOSH day – to experience the origins of the CF community and the flair with everyone being so excited and interested in sharing their knowledge linked by one thing: Cloud Foundry.

We are grateful to be part of this awesome event and we are looking forward to the next conference in Frankfurt.
Because: After the conference, is before the conference.

We will see each other at the CF Summit in Frankfurt in September, we will definitely be there.

After those laborious days we deserved a few days off and enjoyed the Californian sun in San Francisco.

Slides & Videos of our talks at the Cloud Foundry Summit in Santa Clara 2016:

  • Building a Production Grade PostgreSQL Cloud Foundry Service on YouTubeSlideShare
  • Experience report – Cloud Foundry Open Source Operations on YouTubeSlideShare

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