SCALE 12x Recap

Posted in Blog, Tradeshow Events on February 25, 2014

SCALE was an awesome conference with 11 speaker tracks, over 2,200 attendees, and many open source projects represented. The entire iX team gave it rave reviews across the board. On Saturday, the expo floor was non-stop from 10-6 with everyone at the booth kept busy by answering questions. As usual, the red blinky horns were very popular and those who knew to drop by the booth early in the day were able to sport theirs during the rest of the conference.

There was a lot of interest in FreeNAS and PC-BSD.  We easily gave over 1,000 demos of both, while distributing FreeNAS and PC-BSD discs to attendees. People were absolutely blown-away by PC-BSD's Boot Environments, which is the ability to take a snapshot and boot to it. This makes for a great environment, especially for developers, since they can tweak the base system or try things they normally would not and always boot to a known-good state.

People also had nothing but good things to say about FreeNAS. The best story John heard over the weekend was from a guy whose brother paid thousands of dollars every week for a very expensive storage solution for his movie studio. The man recommended FreeNAS to his brother and his brother took that and migrated everything to FreeNAS. In the end, his brother was completely thrilled; he was very impressed by the software and was happy to be saving so much money since he no longer had to pay the expensive vendor and their high costs of maintenance.

MattO spoke to the Jenkins developers at the conference and thanked them for their work. We use Jenkins for the FreeNAS builds and Craig R. implemented it on behalf of the FreeBSD Project. Craig’s presentation on Jenkins can be found here. After meeting a guy from Tox.im, an open source Skype-replacement, we are now working on a FreeBSD port of their killer software! We also talked to the Python devs quite a bit about FreeNAS and Python.

There were lots of raffles for neat prizes. The conference went out of its way to do things for kids and family. There was ping pong, pool, air hockey, golf, video games, pinball machines, prize giveaways, raffles, food, drinks, just about everything you could think of at the Game Night on Saturday evening.

The BSDA certification exam was held on Sunday morning. On Sunday afternoon, Dru Lavigne presented ZFS 101 to a packed room. About half of the audience was already familiar with ZFS on the command line and there was interest in the graphical ZFS management utilities built into FreeNAS and PC-BSD. Several questions revolved around feature flags and interoperability between ZoL (ZFS on Linux) and FreeNAS. Open-ZFS was new to some people and there was general relief in knowing that open source ZFS development is moving forward and going strong. After Dru's well-attended ZFS talk, many people came by the booth to learn more.

The next presentation was John Hixson's Introduction to FreeNAS Development. Everyone enjoyed John’s expert introduction into the world of FreeNAS programming and the demonstration of the Ponies version of FreeNAS. Duke University, one of our clients, was also at SCALE. They met Cymike from the iXsystems team, whom they‘ve worked with, and attended John's FreeNAS plugins talk. It looks like they will be creating an Amanda backup plugin for FreeNAS and we're glad to help!

As usual, the SCALE committee did an excellent job in making such a large show stress-free. The wireless was good and all of the presentations were both taped and live-streamed. They also went out of their way to make sure that each exhibitor and speaker had everything they needed and wore colorful t-shirts to make sure that a volunteer was easy to find if needed. We also raised $150 for the FreeBSD Foundation at the show. All in all, a good time was had by all. We are already looking forward to SCALE 13x!

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