Cloud Foundry Summit—Some Selections

July 1, 2015 Simon Elisha

sfeatured-podcastThe Cloud Foundry Summit took place in Santa Clara back in May and brought together a large group of passionate people to discuss all things Cloud Foundry.

If you could not make it to the event, all of the sessions are available on video for your viewing enjoyment!

In this episode I thought I would highlight some of the interesting sessions that were my “pick of the bunch”—there were many fantastic sessions, but these were the ones that particularly caught my eye that you might like to watch.

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Speaker 1:
Welcome to the Pivotal Perspectives podcast; the podcast at the intersection of Agile, Cloud, and Big Data. Stay tuned for regular updates, technical deep dives, architecture discussions, and interviews. Let’s join Pivotal’s Australia and New Zealand’s CTO, Simon Elisha for the Pivotal Perspectives podcast.

Simon Elisha:
Hello everyone and welcome back to the podcast. Great to have you back. Simon Elisha here, as always on my lonesome this time; although I am accompanied by a drill somewhere in the building. If there’s drilling in the background, I do apologize. I don’t always get to choose the optimum recording location, but I do the best that I can. I’ll have to make up to it for you in content.

Today I wanted to discuss with you the happenings of the Cloud Foundry Summit. This took place in Santa Clara in California back in May 11 and 12th of this year, 2015, the one we’re talking about. There were a bunch of talks. In fact, over 80 different sessions including keynotes, technical breakouts, other kinds of detailed sessions, birds of a feather getting together, a whole bunch of stuff that happens at conferences.

I was not there. You might say, “Well, Simon, what are you talking to me about the conference if you weren’t there?” I’d say, “Well, the wonders of technology means that even though we don’t get to necessarily attend conferences, the videos are captured and placed on that wonderful thing called YouTube and you can watch them. In fact, there is some 86 videos from Cloud Foundry Summit 2015.”

I can tell you that I have watched each and every one of them. You may say, “Simon, where are you getting such time to watch all these videos?” I’ll say, “Well, I don’t actually have that much time, but what I do from time to time is fly to the U.S.” The flight time from Australia to the U.S. West Coast runs to about 15 hours. If your carrier has Internet on board, well that’s a good 30 hours round trip of watching videos that you can do.

Also, a little tip for people who may be new to this is most videos you can actually watch on at least 1.25x speed. Some people speak really slow and you can even do double speed. Depends on what you like. Yeah, you can get through them pretty quick. There is gold in them there hills.

What I wanted to do firstly is give you my personal pick of the bunch. I don’t mean to exclude anyone. As I said, there are 86 different videos. Everyone has different things they bring to the table and things that are really interesting depending on where you’re at. I just want to call out some of the ones that really stuck in my mind. Also, what I want to share with you in the second part is to talk about some of the interesting quotes that came out of some of the other talks that I think were really notable as well.

Without any further ado, of course all these will be linked in the show notes so you’ll be able to tell which is which. I thought I’d give you a quick tour just so you know what’s going on. The first one I want to call out was a talk called A Glimpse at Run Time by Zachary Auerbach and Daniel Lavine.

This is a really good introduction into the process of how run time is created, how the team works, how you can contribute to the team, their development process, how they do collaboration, continuous integration. It was really a fascinating talk to see what happens under the covers.

I know many listeners are often wondering, “Well, so this new software development process, etc., how does it work? How do you do it?” This is a really interesting talk giving an overview of that.

Another really interesting talk, let’s face it, no conference would be complete without the illustrious Andrew Clay Shafer, who always brings interesting context and opinion to the table and can make a damn good argument. He had a talk around DevOps, Microservices, and Platforms, Oh My! it was called. Definitely worth your time. Definitely worth a watch to get some perspective on how that all fits together.

Another really interesting talk was one called, You Build It, You Run It. This was from the Hybris who do work for SAP. This is Rene Welches who did this one. This is around that self-managed code, self-managed infrastructure approach they were taking in their environment. It was fascinating to see how they enabled their own development teams to move more quickly.

Speaking of real world experience, another great talk was one called Running Cloud Foundry at Comcast, obviously from the team at Comcast, Neville, Sam, Tim, and Sergey were all presenting on this, they’re tag teaming it. They gave some really interesting insight into how they run Cloud Foundry in their particular environment, some of their considerations, some of their extensions, some of the integrations that they’ve done. Certainly, if you’re looking at it from an SP perspective, a service provider perspective, really interesting place to start.

Another interesting one I really enjoyed was from the team at Garmin. Alex Brandon and Jonathan were presenting Leaving your comfort zone—Garmin and Cloud Foundry. Again, this is a play in the marketplace who has connected devices and who’s all about action and activity, and those types of things, and obviously creating huge amounts of data and new applications, a really fascinating case study into doing things differently.

There’s that old saying, “If nothing changes, nothing changes.” You will have to change something in your organization, in your culture, in your environment to change the way you’re operating unless you think everything is 100% fine and perfect as it is today, in which case don’t change. Just be aware someone else will change your world for you. This is a really interesting talk about the changes they’ve gone through and some of the challenges that they’ve faced, etc. It was really cool.

More technical, I’m a big fan of the CF CLI. We have plugins. Oh yes, we have plug-ins. Jonathan, Simon and Greg did a great job talking about forget about scripting, CLI plugins are here. There are some awesome CLI plugins already available. More should be built. These are plugins that will automate common tasks that you do. As I often say, “Good programmers are lazy programmers.” Not that they don’t want to do work, they just hate doing the same over and over. They create scripts to do that. You can create plugins to automate a lot of the work you do on a regular basis and make your life so much easier.

Another really interesting talk came from GE. This is Atul. Atul talked about Cloud Foundry and IoT protocol support. He gave a really good overview of the challenges of different IoT devices, different protocols, the fact that obviously native Cloud Foundry, or current Cloud Foundry is very much HTTP, HTTPS optimized oriented, whereas really we’re looking more for ttp type traffic and different levels of support for different protocols and different concepts of the way we’re going to be connecting in the future.

They have done a power of work which they’re contributing back into the Cloud Foundry community. This is the power of the foundation, back into the core. It will be available for everyone. Great talk if you’re interested in this space, definitely worth taking some time.

Speaking about core, no discussion would be complete on Cloud Foundry without talking about Diego and the illustrious Onsi Fakhouri talking about Diego, where it’s at, what’s happening. This will be all kinds of awesome when it comes out in GA, very, very exciting changes to the runtime and the way things work, definitely worth spending some time on that just to be aware of what’s coming down the track.

There’s a really interesting talk from John Price at Intel. His talk was psycho security using encryption. It was awesome. I really enjoyed this talk. It gave a really good insight into what you can do again with an open source platform to add capability that might not be there, but may be specifically required for your environment.

They wanted to have complete data encryption all the way along. They came up with a really powerful technique using VPN technology to make these happen. He exposes quite a lot of what takes place. If you’re into the guts of Cloud Foundry, this was definitely a talk that you’d want to listen to.

There was a really interesting one from Alex from VMware called, CI That Scales With Your Project. He was talking about a new project, source project called Concourse, which is a really interesting continuous integration technology that I actually really like. In fact, it’s on my list of things to have a detailed play with and probably convert a number of my mini projects onto. It looked like it ticked a lot of boxes. This is a really interesting open source scalable CI platform that is being used within many of the teams that create Cloud Foundry itself; definitely something to look at.

That was probably the highlights again. I probably missed a few. It was a long journey. I was very jet lagged. Those were some of the ones that really jumped out at me. Let me pause for a moment. I’m going to come back and talk to you about some of the ones that had some really interesting quotes. I’ll tell you what those quotes were.

I’m back. You may be wondering what happened during that little break. I have so many windows open on my Mac it’s not funny. I’m trying to assemble a list of quotes and the videos and other things that are going on. Anyway, you don’t need to know the details. You just want the action. Let me give you some interesting quotes that came out and some other talks that I think are worth your time.

I mentioned that Garmin talk, the comfort zone one. One of the interesting things the team talked about was in terms of monitoring and security. I’m at the point that it takes too long to do this on a box-by-box basis. I thought that was really relevant because when you think about this new world of infrastructure and difference, if I can call it that, that you just don’t care how it’s deployed as long as it runs properly. You need tooling and automation and a platform that takes that out of the equation. Managing boxes is very 1990’s. Been there, done that, got the tee shirt; not very exciting.

Another thing that was interesting was a talk talking about launching the next generation satellite ground system on Cloud Foundry and microservices. This is a really interesting talk from Mark Carlson and team who were talking about some work they were doing on their particular project using Cloud Foundry. They walked in wanting to use platform, but they didn’t choose one on the outset. They actually created a set of knockout criteria. In their world, only Cloud Foundry measured up.

Once they did that, then they pressure tested both Open Source Cloud Foundry, and Pivotal Cloud Foundry. What was really interesting is when they talked about the fact that we made everything self-provisioning. This made everyone happier. I think this is pretty common for most people. The more you give access to people to be able to do the things they need to do quickly, the happier they will be.

Also what they did is they made their scrum team’s maximally autonomous. They allowed them to as much as possible in and of themselves without having to rely on anyone else. People love that when that takes place.

Another talk that had a bunch of quotes and really, to me, was the standout business talk of the conference, in my humble opinion. Certainly if you have a business stakeholder that you’re interested to talk to about the change that you can have with platform and what it can mean to your environment, then Andy Zitney from Allstate did an amazing talk where he talked about the freedom to disrupt that he was creating within his organization. Let me pull out a few absolute classic quotes that he dropped in there.

He talked about the fact that many companies suffer from a lack of a platform to drive change. From his perspective, then along came Pivotal Cloud Foundry and that changed that. In his world now you’ve got to conceive a product on Monday and deliver it on a Friday. That used to take nine months at best. It took a long time. He’s now all about from zero to everything in 15 minutes.

He made the really interesting point though that Cloud Foundry does what it says it will do. You have to ensure that you have the people around it who can also work in that way. Again, this speaks to this cultural change about agile, devops, continuous integration, continuous delivery. All these things feed into the same concept.

He also talked about the fact that All State is an 85 year old company. He said that, “Platform lets me eliminate all the inefficiencies of an 85 year old company.” It really lets him reinvent what’s going on. The other thing for him was that it got rid of delivery risk. You can deliver what you need the first time as quickly as possible and innovate from there. It was a short talk. It was 20 minutes, fantastic, definitely worth watching.

Another really interesting talk was the communications and service talk from Dr. Ying Jong who’s the chief architect for Platform services at Huawei Technologies. He was talking a lot about their platform when something that jumped out at me was that they are hosting over 4,500 applications on the Cloud Foundry at Huawei. That’s a significant platform right there. That’s pretty impressive.

Another really interesting talk was that of Lockheed Martin. They were talking about the changes that took place in their environment and really managing the cultural transformation. Some of the things they spoke about was things aren’t an eight month wait anymore. You can have something quickly. You can have a viable product in a week if you want. They’re able to complete in 10 weeks what would have taken nine months before. These are really interesting, interesting things that came out.

Again, lots and lots of different talks; it’s very hard for me to summarize all of them. I wanted to give you a little guide of some of the ones you might want to take the time out to listen to; again, a brilliant playlist online. I’ll link to it in the show notes.

If you have a long plane trip and you have Wi-Fi enabled, you could do worse than spending a little time getting a bit of insight from some very smart people who shared their insights and their knowledge at the Cloud Foundry Summit. Hopefully, I’ll get there next year. Maybe you will too. Until then, keep on building.

Speaker 1:
Thanks for listening to the Pivotal Perspectives podcast with Simon Elisha. We trust you’ve enjoyed it and ask that you share it with other people who may also be interested. We’d love to hear your feedback. Please send any comments or suggestions to podcast@pivotal.io. We look forward to having you join us next time on the Pivotal Perspectives podcast.

About the Author

Simon Elisha is CTO & Senior Manager of Field Engineering for Australia & New Zealand at Pivotal. With over 24 years industry experience in everything from Mainframes to the latest Cloud architectures - Simon brings a refreshing and insightful view of the business value of IT. Passionate about technology, he is a pragmatist who looks for the best solution to the task at hand. He has held roles at EDS, PricewaterhouseCoopers, VERITAS Software, Hitachi Data Systems, Cisco Systems and Amazon Web Services.

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