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OpenStack Summit Vancouver - Rule The Stack - Results

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May 27, 2015


The Rule the Stack competition at the recent OpenStack Summit in Vancouver was a great success. There was a considerable amount of excitement and enthusiasm from the nearly 30 participants and many observers commented on the competition being a great event. The competition delivered strong results, culminating with Dirk Mueller of SUSE regaining his title as "Ruler of the Stack."

Some notable results from Vancouver include...

On Monday Roman Sokolkov and Sergey Lystopad of Mirantis were the only competitors to take the challenge and successfully deploy OpenStack on Summit Day1 with a scored time of 1 hour 16 minutes, which held for 3 days. They were recognized with the "Setting the Bar" award and took home a Basis Peak watch for their efforts. Roman and Sergey used Fuel to deploy OpenStack in 1 hour and 29 minutes, incurred a 10 minute penalty for deploying Juno instead of Kilo, but had time subtracted for achieving the AVX2 (a 3 minute deduction), Heat (a 5 minute deduction), and Live Migration (a 15 minute deduction) bonuses.

On Tuesday we had some trouble with the networking environment as both the primary and backup routers that connected our switch to the Internet failed. This made it impossible for some competitors to complete their deployments because access to online repos was not available. But we had several competitors helping us debug the issues and keeping spirits up, including Walter Bentley @ Rackspace who had been in the middle of attempting to use MAAS and Ansible playbooks to deploy OpenStack. For his efforts and great community spirit, Walter was given the "Most Determined Competitor" award (and a pair of SMS Audio BioMetric earphones).

Wednesday brought some more great competition with the test environment again functional with a new router. Chris Arges led a team from Canonical who became the first team to deploy Kilo. They set up the environment using MAAS as the machine provider and then JUJU to provision OpenStack on the MAAS-provided nodes, completing the deployment in 2 hours and 13 minutes. They incurred no penalties with their deployment and achieved both the AVX2 and Live Migration bonuses for a scored time of 1 hour 55 minutes.

Later on Wednesday, Benjamin and Julien from took the challenge, booting Ubuntu from Live USB and then using Ansible and Foreman to deploy OpenStack. In true risk-taking spirit, their attempt included YAML scripts they had never used before, OS images they had never used before, and a networking environment they were unfamiliar with. Unfortunately they were unable to complete their attempt before the venue closed us down for the evening.

The competition really heated up on Thursday, with the first really accelerated deployment attempt by Thomas Bechtold from SUSE, bootstrapping all 6 nodes from USB sticks. Unfortunately an error in his deployment script resulted in an overwrite of what was intended to be the system drive on some of the nodes so they didn't boot after removing the USB sticks. Even though the result was disqualified, the method gave hints of what could be accomplished as the time for deployment was clocked at a mere 9 minutes 36 seconds.

Later on Thursday, the Mirantis team would be dethroned by Fedor Tarasenko of IT Key who also used Fuel, but was able to complete the deployment in 1 hour and 6 minutes elapsed time. He was penalized 10 minutes for his Juno stack, but achieved the AVX2 and Live Migration bonuses to result in a scored time of 58 minutes, taking over the top spot. 

Some other notable attempts on Thursday included:
 - a team from Piston Cloud led by Chris Riviere, using their own toolset for OpenStack deployment. Unfortunately this proved to be  incompatibile with the way the provided servers and networking switches could be managed. 
 - Stan from Ericpol ran out of time during another Fuel deployment

 - Simon Leinen ran out of time before he could complete his deployment using Puppet and Foreman
 - Julen Larrucea booted an image from USB with some deployment scripts of his own making “for fun, it’ll be cool if it works though!" Unfortunately, the attempt was not successful, but the risk taking spirit was great to observe

Thursday's competition concluded with Dirk Mueller of SUSE, whose time would stand after the competition wrapped up on Friday, once again taking home the title of Ruler Of The Stack (Dirk was the very first "Ruler of the Stack" winning the inaugural competition in Atlanta) and the grand prize, a Dell XPS 13 Touch w/ 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 Processor and Infinity Display (QHD+ touch screen). Dirk created some special-purpose Kilo OpenStack appliances for the competition, deployed them from USB and even utilized the technique of using kexec to avoid the time it would have taken to reboot the servers after deploying the appliance images onto local disk. Dirk's method gave him an elapsed time of 9 minutes, 6 seconds. His deployment suffered no penalties and after subtracting the time for achieving both Live Migration and Heat orchestration, Dirk's scored time was an amazing NEGATIVE 10 minutes, 54 seconds.

As the competition wrapped up early on Friday, three more competitors made attempts. 

Starting the day off was Ella Lackey of Redhat. Ella is the first female competitor in the Rule The Stack competition! In her role as a technical writing team lead she has limited hands-on experience with deploying OpenStack, but entered the competition "for respect" and she earned it! Ella's attempt was old-school, deploying Fedora from LiveUSB and then using PackStack. She ran out of time before being able to deploy all of the nodes, but earned the "Mighty Girl / Newbie" Award for her fearless attitude and great spirit. Respect (and a Dell Venue 8 tablet) earned!

Patrick Butler and his team from EMC also made a good attempt using Fuel before running into some difficulties.

The competition concluded with another previous winner and reigning Ruler of the Stack, Adam Spiers of SUSE (the Ruler of the Stack in Paris), deploying with a scored time of 10 minutes 17 seconds, which was good enough for 2nd place overall and was achieved through a clock time of 23 minutes, 17 seconds with 10 minutes added for Juno and 23 minutes total subtracted for achieving AVX2, Heat, and Live Migration bonuses. Adam's 2nd place finish also earned him an Intel NUC system. Unfortunately, I didn't take good notes on his deployment method, other than it was less purpose-built than Dirk's, but hopefully Adam, and all of our competitors, can provide more details on their methods.

t-shirt logo

For the first time, everyone who competed in the Rule The Stack competition at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver obtained an awesome "competitors only" Vancouver themed Rule The Stack T-shirt. 

I want to thank ALL of our competitors, and the awesome community of people who approached our team during (and even after!) the competition with ideas, positive energy, and great feedback. 

Looking forward to the next summit, we have plans in place to raise the awareness of the Rule The Stack competition BEFORE the summit so more people can prepare to compete earlier in the Summit, before all the time slots are taken. We are also planning to increase community participation in defining the objectives and writing the rules (and providing test tools!) for the next Rule The Stack competition. The Rule The Stack competition is a way for us, as the OpenStack community, to measure ourselves. With increased community participation in shaping the event, we look forward to the competition being even better in Tokyo. Stay tuned!

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