Red Hat Summit 2018 Labs: A Recap

Posted: May 21st, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | No Comments »

Red Hat Summit week is one of those weeks that I regularly circle on the calendar. Not only does it afford the opportunity to connect with my fellow Red Hat colleagues, but in addition, I am able to reconnect with some of my former customers. In reality, the entire three days that comprises Summit (plus OpenShift Commons Gathering which is held the day prior) is one big blur that consists of non-stop activity, but most importantly, a whole lot of fun. Part of the fun is the ability to showcase some of the latest and greatest technology thorough the use of hands-on labs that attendees are able to take advantage of. A full overview of these lab sessions were discussed in a prior post.

There are several challenges when it comes to hands-on labs at Red Hat Summit:

  • Lab sessions are longer than breakout sessions. The time commitment required may result in missing other sessions of interest.
  • Some prior knowledge may be required in order to fully appreciate the content

Regardless of the reason, one of the key goals of being an open source advocate is for materials to be made available publicly. Not only do I preach this sentiment, but this is also expressed by Red Hat as a whole. Fortunately, this year, all of the lab content from Summit is available on GitHub at the following location:

Included in the repository are the lab guides that the actual attendees at Summit leveraged. Several of the guides also include steps for creating the supporting environment.

As for the lab sessions themselves, they were a mix of angst, frustration, excitement and finally relief. As anyone who has previously presented at a conference can attest to, if anything can happen, it will happen. Each of my lab sessions were in the 4pm-6pm timeslot. The timing of the lab can be dangerous as exhaustion from the day starts to take hold as well as being the one impediment holding attendees back from happy hours and evening events. Nevertheless, each of the sessions were packed to the brim.

Develop IoT solutions with containers and serverless patterns

The first day of Summit featured my first lab combining the Internet of Things (IoT), Containers (OpenShift) and Serverless (Functions as a Service [FaaS] using OpenWhisk). While things kicked off great, things were about to go downhill quickly. One of the first steps in the lab was for attendees to clone the Git repository containing the lab material. Unfortunately, the speed of the cloning action hovered around 5kb/s. For anyone who has worked previously in the container space, this meant trouble especially when larger container images needed to be retrieved later on. Fears came to reality as attendees struggled through the next set of tasks and we quickly realized that a successful completion of the lab may not be attainable. The entire lab environment was hosted in a cloud environment which removed the majority of the constraints on the infrastructure at Summit. However, it was communicated to the various team who were running labs during this session time that the cloud provider was having technical faults communicating with their external Internet Service Provider which resulted in the slow, but almost unusable connection to the public internet. After 45 minutes of waiting and hoping the issue would be resolved, attention turned to giving attendees the best experience possible given the constraints.

Fortunately, the associated lab guide provides a high level overview of Functions as a Services and the key OpenWhisk concepts that were to be introduced. While attendees were a little disappointed they would not be able to have hands on experience during this session, they left with the understanding of where to find the lab material, but most importantly how to create an environment representative of the lab themselves.

You too can learn how to set up and complete the lab in your own environment by utilizing the following set of assets:

Managing Your OpenShift Cluster From Installation and Beyond

The second day of Red Hat Summit featured the next evolution in the “Managing OpenShift from Installation and Beyond” series. Even with the technical challenges faced the prior day, there were several factors that provided some form of assurance that this lab would go smoother:

  • This was actually the second opportunity at Red Hat Summit to execute this lab. The team completed a lab session the day prior to Summit kicking off to a few select individuals. Any outstanding issues or enhancements were made after this session so that attendees of Red Hat Summit proper could have the best experience possible.
  • The lab was hosted in Amazon Web Services (AWS). If a similar issue in the environment occurred, this lab session would be the least of Amazon’s concern 🙂

As anticipated, the lab went off without any issues and attendees were able to fully immerse themselves into the ways that automation using Ansible and Ansible Tower can install and manage the OpenShift Container Platform. This lab was advantageous as it covered a variety of topics ranging from Ansible Tower, the Prometheus ecosystem with visualization support from Grafana along with building and deploying Ansible Playbook Bundles.

Those interested in reviewing the guide or standing up the environment itself can refer to the lab assets:

While Red Hat Summit 2018 has come to a close, eyes are already on to next year’s event back on the east coast of the US in Boston May 7-9 2019. Hope to see you there as well!

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