I attended my first OpenStack Summit in Vancouver 4/2015. While I have used various cloud computing technologies for eight years and presented cloud content at events such as Cloud Expo, this was my first involvement with OpenStack.
It was the essential experience to become more familiar with the technology, the ecosystem, the contributors and the process of how OpenStack software evolves.
If you are new to OpenStack I would strongly advise you to read about and play with OpenStack so that you have a basic knowledge of some of the core projects. The conference can then provide the accelerated learning to help guide you where to find a possible home in the ecosystem. OpenStack is a large and complex product with many different projects. Having being involved in the mailing list and IRC for a few weeks prior to the conference I was able to interact with core OpenStack developers and PTL’s. This made it much easier to introduce myself at the conference to meet people face to face.
If you missed it, there are many of the Vancouver Summit Videos online.
During the summit which included conference sessions for attendees was the Design Summit. This is where the individual projects discuss the “design” of the next release of OpenStack. This includes talks on the features projects are hoping to include. These sessions are very informative to see just how the OpenStack ecosystem improves and develops the product. I found these to be highly valuable. Not being a seasoned developer in OpenStack this also enabled me to evaluate a range of different projects. I would encourage you to be open-minded and attend design sessions in multiple projects to see how individual teams work, and to find areas of interest. My design summit experience including attending sessions on Keystone, Magnum, OpenStackClient, Infra, Tempest and Rally for example.