Three days, three hundred photos, and twenty-one cups of coffee later, iXsystems is finished with yet another conference. It’s been an amazing weekend at SCALE 11x and we enjoyed every moment of it. As our employees head back home, I’d like to recap our experience at SCALE this year.
On Friday, the iXsystems team arrived and got to work. After setting up our booth, we headed over to the meeting rooms where Ben led an informal “Birds of a Feather” session called “FreeBSD derivatives - PC-BSD, FreeNAS and more”. Participants in this meeting got first dibs on the popular daemon horns that we bring and always run out of each year. After a general overview, the conversation branched into thoughtful discussion about the different issues each derivative faces, implementation, and future plans.
Immediately afterwards, a series of rapid-fire talks were given at UpSCALE. Some got creative with their talks, others kept it traditional, but all of the talks were informative and well done. The speakers covered a wide range of topics. We heard from Carol Bigenho and Tony Anderson who spoke about MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses) and their impact on education. Zachary Peterson took the opportunity with his talk to both break the 20-slide, five minute format and introduce the board game d0x3d! which he hopes will spread awareness of cybersecurity. Josh Berkus closed UpSCALE with his tongue-in-cheek talk, “The Seven Deadly Sins of Software Deployment”, a poem he wrote with heavy allusions to Dante’s Inferno right down to the rhyming meter.
The next day, we all got up early to make final arrangements before the show. The iX team made sure to represent FreeBSD proudly at a Linux-dominated conference. This year, James DJed for the morning keynote speakers while Dru, Kris, Ben, and Denise were on hand to pass out schwag, answer questions, and demonstrate the software to attendees. In the afternoon, Alfred came by and talked with attendees to share his experiences. Nearby, the OpenStack booth hosted happy hour complete with free beer and snacks in the afternoon, and Ticketmaster provided donuts and pizza throughout the day. Later, community manager and author, Jono Bacon, signed free copies of his book, “The Art of Community”, courtesy of the O’Reilly booth.
As predicted, the daemon horns were incredibly popular and we completely ran out a few hours into the show! The rest of the promotional items steadily depleted over the two days as the record-setting 2,304 attendees flowed in and out of the exhibition halls.
In another unprecedented first, iXsystems had two speakers at SCALE! Both Dru Lavigne and Kris Moore had their talks accepted this year. Near the end of the day on Saturday, Dru gave her talk called “Extending NAS Functionality with the FreeNAS Plugins System” where she explained the architecture of the plugins feature and the benefits they provided. Kris spoke on Sunday about “Network Booting and Deployment of FreeBSD & PC-BSD”, engaging the audience by encouraging questions and demonstrating how easy installation and deployment of PC-BSD and FreeBSD can be.
After the exhibition hall closed for the day, the attendees piled out and took over the Hilton LAX lobby, talking and networking . Who said geeks aren’t good with people?
In the evening, SCALE held the Weakest Geek contest. Participants were asked a series of questions relating to geek culture and at the end of each round, one player was voted off. In between rounds, James provided music. Generally, the contestants responded impressively with answers that were spot-on and knowledgeable-- and when they didn’t, the answers they came up with were hilarious. In the end, Ruth Suehle beat Kyle Rankin in head-to-head competition to win the game and nab herself the coveted prize of bragging rights.
In the ballroom, Game Night was under way. Laser tag and video games took place in the main room. In the two smaller rooms, people played pool, ping pong, air hockey, and board games. Two long lines stretched across the rooms, one for drinks and the other for food. The ballroom was packed full as nerds piled in and enthusiastically partied until midnight.
Sunday was a bit slower, but a steady stream of visitors still visited our booth. In the morning, James DJed for the keynote speaker again. Kyle Rankin gave a great talk about the history of 3D printing and how it relates to the Open Source community.
Overall, SCALE struck a perfect balance between professional and fun. It was great meeting everyone and we had a lot of fun. We’ll see you at SCALE 12x!
Annie Zhang Marketing Assistant