On September 26th I had the pleasure of going to the OpenZFS Developer Summit of 2016. You can find more information on the event (slides, videos, etc..) here. The event itself was great. Many great speakers shared their experience with ZFS and how they use it in their everyday job. Brian Behlendorf, for example, presented how ZFS is used together with Lustre in supercomputers in the Livermore National Lab, and the modifications that his team had to do to ZFS in order for it to serve their use-case. Other presentations showcased cool features and improvements to ZFS with the goal of receiving feedback or raising awareness on issues like making the ZFS test-suite uniform across the different operating systems.
What I personally found as the most important aspect of the summit was the fact that many people from the community were gathered together in one place. You would hear interesting discussions everywhere. From how individuals first got involved with ZFS to deeply technical discussions on why ZFS is the way it is. Jeff Bonwick also showed up at the end of that day but unfortunately I had to go at that time so I only met him briefly.
Another cool thing about the summit for a newcomer like me was that I got to meet people from Delphix and the ZFS community that I’ve been exchanging emails, in person. For example, Richard Elling was the first person to review my first code submission ever in ZFS two years ago, when I was still a student.
Finally, the hackathon in the second day of the summit was an amazing experience. Individuals from different companies formed teams to work on new features of ZFS or to refine existing ones. Dan Kimmel and I quickly hacked together zpool checkpointing with the help of George Wilson who was basically helping several different groups while also working on his own project. I had a lot of fun working in zpool checkpointing with Dan and George, and hopefully we’ll put some time in the future to do a proper rewrite of it and upstream it.
Overall, I had a great time in the summit and I’m already looking forward to the next one.