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Opscamp Austin Roundup

By John | February 1, 2010

The inaugural Opscamp meeting went really well. About two years ago Mark Hinkle and I tried to run a barcamp called BarcampESM. There were only around 20 people at the event. We had a great time. The bottom line was that there really wasn’t as much interest in the topic of “Operations/Systems Administration” in 2007 via a barcamp. Two years later. . . BOOM, it is a “Cloudy” world and 130 people register for a Saturday meetup on the same subject. The idea of changing our small barcamp style idea into a larger more impactful event was due in part to the help of the “CloudCamp”, Dave Nielsen. Dave was instrumental in helping us get this first CloudCamp (opscamp) vertical off the ground.

All told, we wound up with around 95 attendees. Zenoss was our platinum sponsor providing the venue, breakfast, lunch and non-alcoholic drinks. Rackspace and Reductive Labs were the Gold sponsors and Spiceworks, Opscode, and Bitnami were all Silver sponsors. Opscamp Austin seemed to have a really good mix of vendors and non-vendors enabling the sessions to have a good mix. Some other vendors that were in attendance were DTO Solutions, Groundworks Open Source and Cloudswitch. We were also fortunate to have some of the big guns like IBM and Dell, and let’s not forget our favorite analyst, Michael Cote from Redmonk (also a media Sponsor). Here is a link to the Redmonk “IT Management Guys” podcast we did at the after hours free drinks party.

The conference really started to kick into gear once the un-panel started. Monitoring seemed, as it usually does, to dominate the discussion. However, it set the stage nicely for the rest of the conference. In classic “CloudCamp” style we setup the open session agenda for the rest of the day based out of two themes that evolved from the un-panel, Configuration Management and Monitoring. To make it sound cooler, we called the themes Service Delivery and Service Assurance.

On the service delivery side we talked about how to identify services and workloads. Some of the participants described their process of trying to take workloads and define them into ensembles. We even started a little bit of an “Agile Operations” discussion. Later in the afternoon we had an operations tool chain session that seemed to get a little heated; however, no harm, no foul. This reminds me of a great quote “Strong opinions loosely held.”

Over on the service assurance side, we had some great discussions about monitoring with plenty of experts from Zenoss, Groundwork, and IBM. One of the early sessions focused on a discussion about “agents” for monitoring. This lead into the age old agentless vs. agent based discussion. There was also a fair amount of non-open source enterprise people to contribute from the IBM Tivoli, IBM Micromuse, and BMC Patrol perspectives.

I saw a lot of video cameras and flips floating around, so I am sure there will be a lot of Youtube and videos showing up in the next few weeks. Opscamp will try to coordinate a summary links page for all the blogs, podcasts, and videos that surface up.

Opscamp Austin was sort of like a “Beta” for future Opscamps. We had a few bugs in the beginning transitioning from the lighting talks to unpanel to open sessions. However, we collected some positive feedback on how to make this a little smother for the next time. I think Opscamp Austin proved that this new CloudCamp vertical called Opscamp is ready for GA. We look forward to seeing you in a city near you.

Topics: opscamp | 9 Comments »

9 Responses to “Opscamp Austin Roundup”

  1. Matt Ray Says:
    February 1st, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Good stuff! At the very least we’ll have to have another in Austin next year, with additional events around the country.

  2. Cote Says:
    February 1st, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    The podcast recording Johh mentioned above is online now:

  3. Tara Spalding Says:
    February 1st, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    GWOS really enjoyed participating at the camp and took away many important lessons from monitoring within the cloud.

    We’d be more than happy to help sponsor the next one and hopefully it can be in the San Francisco area.

  4. John Arundel Says:
    February 2nd, 2010 at 7:30 am


    Great summary! OpsCamp sounds as though it was really excellent – a shame I couldn’t make it. Any plans to hold an OpsCamp London?

    I look forward to seeing the videos!

  5. Sudhi Says:
    February 2nd, 2010 at 8:55 am

    All in all a good start – But then – it would make sense to have a pseudo agenda so folks know what to expect. I did make it to the camp – but then kind of got lost with too many talking points and eventually lost the steam to stay put till the end.
    Also some considerations for small companies to network too.
    Any takers for Houston?


  6. Ernest Mueller Says:
    February 5th, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Opscamp was a great time! Thanks so much for organizing it. I finally finished my own writeup of the day – it’s here if you’re interested!

  7. Greg Says:
    February 5th, 2010 at 11:46 am

    From my relatively new standpoint, it’s rare to find events that specifically focus on the needs of IT operations. It’s exciting. I hear there may be one in Santa Clara, and if so, I’d really like to attend.

  8. OpsCamp Through an Internet-scale Lens « The Agile Executive Says:
    February 8th, 2010 at 7:32 am

    [...] conference has been amply covered by Michael Cote, John Willis, Mark Hinkle, and Damon Edwards (to name a few). This post restricts itself to commenting on one [...]

  9. OpsCamp San Francisco – Free unconference for devops | Help a Startup Out Says:
    April 30th, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    [...] like to get an idea of the content covered at OpsCamp Austin, there are great write-ups here and here (podcast with transcript). OpsCamps are unconferences and sessions are [...]