No more meeting on the sidelines for these strategic input sessions, says OpenStack Foundation community manager Tom Fifield.


In the beginning, OpenStack operators met in small venues to share their troubles and triumphs, giving valuable feedback about future releases in the process. As word spread, those meetups kept doubling in size.

So this time at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, the ops meetups are fully integrated with the Design Summit — with first-rate Wi-Fi and food to show for it.

Superuser talked to OpenStack Foundation community manager Tom Fifield about what this means and how you can get involved — even if you can’t attend the Summit.

Let’s take a step back. Why do ops meetups matter?

User feedback is a critical part of every stage of the OpenStack design
and development process.

So, in March 2014 we had the idea of basically
getting as many users as we could into a room and letting them rant
about the things that annoyed them for six hours, just to see how it went.

That was in San Jose, with 40 people, and it turned out to be amazingly
successful. It was also this meetup that was part of the impetus for
the new ‘specs’ process.

As a result, we carved off a chunk of valuable summit time in Atlanta and got more
great feedback – including identifying a pretty important database
configuration issue, amongst hundreds of other useful ideas.

In August 2014, the San Antonio mid-cycle introduced the idea of
‘working group’-style sessions (as opposed to full-room discussion
sessions), which has led to to the creation of quite a few User Committee Working Groups. That was about double the size of San Jose.

Paris was even larger again, and in March 2015 in Philadelphia we had
another doubling of attendance – both raising some pretty key issues in
the development process.

So these used to be small, one-on-one kind of events. What’s the upside to this rapid growth?

Throughout all of this evolution, we’d unwittingly trained hundreds of
OpenStack users to work in the same way our developers do – using
etherpads and interactive collaborations to further concepts, ideas and

So for this summit, the ops sessions are finally part of the Design
Summit proper – no more second-rate Wi-Fi, far away rooms and different

That idea of "us vs. them" often seen in software projects
contrasting those who write the code from those who run it has faded
away. Developers love the feedback, and operators love participating.

A lot of participants are first-timers. How can newcomers to get the most out of an Ops meetup?

Come to the Ops Summit 101! If you’re new to the design summit and not comfortable with participating in interactive discussions, this session will help you figure out how it all works…

If people can’t make the Summit, how would you recommend they get involved?

You can always check out the videos from conference tracks at the OpenStack Foundation YouTube Channel, take a look at the Etherpads or join the Operators mailing list.

Cover Photo by Eva Rinaldi Photography // CC BY NC