Greetings from San Francisco! I’m here because there are two conferences currently occurring that we think you’ll find interesting.
The first conference is one you may have heard of – the 10th annual LinuxWorld Conference and Expo. Each year, around 10,000 software developers, system administrators and IT professionals attend LinuxWorld, making it the largest conference focusing exclusively on Linux and other open-source technologies.
The second conference actually spun out of LinuxWorld two years ago – the Next Generation Data Center conference. The two conferences share a lot in common – both shows are produced by the same company, they take place in the same location, and they actually share an exhibit hall. If you didn’t know better, you’d think that it is just one big conference – that is, until event security tackled you for trying to get in to one conference when you only paid for the other.
Luckily for you, I’m going to give you the run down on both conferences – thus eliminating “dodging event security” from the list of things you need to worry about today. You can thank me later.
If you were at either conference, chances are that you ran in to someone from Rackspace at some point. Rackspace CTO John Engates presented at both conferences, and Mosso co-founder Jonathan Bryce is presenting at LinuxWorld on Thursday. We also have an awesome booth where we are running a server break-fix competition, as well as a booth in the career fair pavilion where we are looking for the next generation of Rackers. Everywhere that you turn, Rackspace is there. We’re subtle like that.
There are a few main trends that seem to be the “buzz” of the conference. The first, and most prevalent, is Linux in mission critical applications. In the early years of LinuxWorld, many of the discussions were about grabbing a foothold in the periphery of the IT shop – where forward think technologists could deploy them as “science fair projects” without anyone in a suit asking too many questions. It’s exciting to see that we are now having discussions about Linux running mission critical systems – both in web applications as well as more traditional IT deployments where mid-range servers used to rule.
Another trend that seems to be hot at this conference is clusters, grid computing, and “the cloud”. Everyone is watching this area with much interest. Application Developers are hoping to solve scalability problems. System Administrators are developing new techniques for handling the massively scalable commodity infrastructure on which the cloud is being built. And business-people are trying to fully understand the business and financial implications of this trend.
Two topics that always seem to pop up at conference like this are virtualization and security. Both topics were discussed extensively in conference sessions and out on the expo floor. As it stands, the discussion on both topics tends to have the same refrain: “It’s harder than it looks.”
There is also a Desktop Linux track to the conference. Interestingly, these discussions seem to mirror the conversations that were occurring around Linux on the server back in the earlier days of the conference. We had presentations like “Why isn’t Linux in your Datacenter” a few years back. Fast-forward to 2008, and were now have a presentation titled “Open Source on the Desktop: Why Not?” It will be interesting to see if desktop Linux follows an evolution similar to what we saw on the server side.
And of course, no conference in 2008 would be complete without conversations about “going green.” Half of the vendors in the exhibit hall are pushing the green angle. And, interestingly enough, there are many hushed allegations from various hardware vendors about how their competitors are greenwashing their products. I think that the work that The Green Grid is doing should help end-users and IT professionals understand who is really green, and who is just pretending.
I will be posting the slides from John Engates’ presentation entitled “The Seven Stages of Scaling Applications” to the Rackspace blog very soon. I found John’s presentation particularly interesting – not just because he is a cool guy, but also because the material that he covered is relevant to everyone who is building web applications today.
If you are attending LinuxWorld, please be sure to drop by the Rackspace booth (#600). You’ll meet some nice people, and you will be able to try your hand at the Rackspace break-fix competition.