I’m very excited that I’m attending my first OSCON this year, compliments of The Cloudcast. On the April 25, 2016 episode, it was announced that they were giving away two Bronze Level passes to the conference. To win a pass, they asked to send in a personal story about community and why you wanted to attend OSCON. I wanted to share my story with a wider audience:
I’ve had an interest in Linux and coding since 6th grade and did some intermediate level coding in high school, college, and in my career. Finding help online to complete a coding project or successfully getting something like XWindows running in the late 90s was quite difficult. Similarly today, learning new, uncharted, and complex systems such as Kubernetes and Mesos is challenging but the community around it is fanatical and extremely helpful. I find that the community surrounding a technology is a key to it’s success and the success of the business. I’ve found myself gravitating to upcoming technologies that have deeply rooted and committed communities because those are the ones that usually become a mainstay in the industry.
One of my first experiences with such a community was the VMware community via Twitter in 2010. I started down the path of virtualization at my employer and my head was spinning. I happened to find that there was a vast community of virtualization evangelists that shared best practices and experiences and it was awesome to connect with hundreds of people who were there to help others. From there, I learned about local VMware user groups and wanted to participate in one to hear what others were doing and try to learn more. Living in Louisiana, which isn’t a major city/tech hub, there wasn’t a local group. I found tremendous value in the virtual community and I wanted the same experience of learning and sharing in person as well. I reached out to VMware and told them I wanted to start a local chapter of the VMUG. I started the first VMUG in Louisiana in Baton Rouge and a year later, due to it’s success, VMware asked me to form and run a second user group in New Orleans. I’ve been running the New Orleans group for the last 4 years and continue to enjoy learning about how organization’s environments are maturing with the maturation of the ecosystem.
As virtualization has solidified itself as a basic function of the datacenter, I’ve found myself following the maturation of the datacenter and it’s all pointing towards open source software. This has been very refreshing for me personally because it feels that there has been a reset in the datacenter as it begins to reinvent itself. Once virtualization became an anchor of the datacenter, VMware and other ecosystem partners moved up the stack to build upon that foundation. This has brought more end-user related products to the market but has left the infrastructure architect without many new tools with which to innovate. Containers will be a pillar of the next generation datacenter and it’s all fueled by open source software. I’m excited to see how the shift away from enterprise software vendors, which have been to have rigid and archaic ways of designing software, changes over the next few years. The flexibility of OSS will give organizations a way to consume software through the community which is free and empowered to define how the software or application is best built. The community around these technologies will have a strong influence to guide it in the best direction but the biggest impact of the community is to be engaging with each other to guide newcomers and strengthen the established members.
I look forward to becoming part of this community and meeting new people next week.