OpenNMS UCE 2011

This Thursday and Friday I attended the Users Conference Europe 2011 of the OpenNMS-project. While the last two years the program consisted of talks that were handed in before the actual conference and then, as an attendee, you only had to choose which talks you wanted to listen to, this year, they had decided to hold a course covering the basics of the software on day one (they usually do this course in 4 days) and a barcamp style thing on day two.

To be honest, I didn’t expect much from day one since I’ve been using OpenNMS for over 4 years now … Once again, Tarus did a great job talking about OpenNMS and keeping everyone interested and awake by putting in an anecdote or a joke every now and then. And actually, I did learn quite a few things. So now I understand that an “RRA” is a round robin array and what the numbers of such configuration actually mean.

RRA:AVERAGE:0.5:1:2016
RRA:AVERAGE:0.5:12:148

So the first RRA would store 2016 entries, each holding the average value of 1 sample. The second one would store 148 entries, each holding the average value of 12 samples. The 0.5 represents that it needs at 6 of the 12 (0.5 or 50%) values in order to actually store a value.

Aaand … I finally understood what a – drumrolls – alarm is. I had never had a use for this since I apparently could do anything I wanted OpenNMS to with just using events and so I never really tried to understand the alarms-conecpt. Turns out, afaiu, alarms are just something a user sees in the WebUI and so I’m not too interested in that. Although … there was one thing that sounded interesting … namely being able to only keep the most recent event of a certain type around instead of storing all of them. I’ll need to dig into that I guess.

From day 2 I really did not know what to expect. I had never attended a barcamp before and what I read about it on the internet didn’t really give me a good idea of what was going to happen. Maybe I didn’t read carefully enough. So anyway, they had everybody get up and come to the front, introduce themselves and then briefly tell about what you’re interested in regarding OpenNMS and what you might offer to talk about.

So I figured since I did the HA talk last year and the slides were still on my laptop, I could offer to give that presentation if anyone’d be interested in that. After everybody talked about what they’d like to hear or wanted to talk about, everyone got to vote on the available topics and the top 9 voted talks would then be held in the 3 rooms available for the conference. Turns out, my topic was among the top 5 of the offered talks. So like 10 minutes later, I started giving that talk from last year.

I hadn’t looked at the presentation since then and it was like about 80 slides and I only had 90 minutes to give the talk so as soon as the projector was working I started rambling about Opensource HA clusters and went through the setup I had created about a year ago. Actually, I think it went rather smoothly considering I had not thought about this talk for about a year and so I’m quite satisfied with how this one turned out. Some guy (sorry I’m _really_ bad with names) even gave me some positive feedback on the talk which always feels good.

After lunch, there was a talk on provisioning for which I also volunteered to share my use case of provisioning from the source of a DNS servers. While David did most of the talk, I was able to slide this in and I think there was some interest in that.

This barcamp approach was a completely new concept of a conference to me but I can’t say I didn’t like it. While you could see that some people were not that comfortable talking in front of the entire group of 60 (!!!) people, I think I kind of got used to it over the last couple of years and I’m quite happy with that.

So let’s get some sleep and go bike riding tomorrow :)

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