We held the inaugural Heat mid-cycle meetup in Raleigh, North Carolina this week. There were a dozen folks in attendance, and I think everyone agreed that it was a very successful event. Notes from the meetup are on the Etherpad here:

https://etherpad.openstack.org/p/heat-juno-midcycle-meetup

Here are a few of the conclusions:

* Everyone wishes the Design Summit worked like this.
The meetup seemed a lot more productive than the design summit ever is. It's really nice to be in a room small enough that you can talk normally and hear everyone, instead of in a room designed for 150 people. It's really nice to be able to discuss stuff that isn't related to a particular feature - we had a long discussion about how to get through the review backlog, for example. It's really nice to not have fixed time slots for discussions - because everyone was in the room the whole time, we could dip in and out of different topics at will. Often we came back to one that we'd previously discussed because we had discovered new information. Finally, it's critical to be in a room covered in full-sized whiteboards that everyone can see. A single tiny flip chart doesn't cut it.

* 3 days seems to be about the right length.
Not a lot got done on day 3, and people started to drift out at various times to catch flights, but the fact that everyone was there for _all_ of day 1 and 2 was essential (the critical Convergence plan was finalised around 7.30pm on Tuesday).

* There was a lot more discussion than hacking.
The main value of the meet-up was more in the discussions you'd hope to be able to have at the design summit than in working collaboratively on code.

* Marconi is now called Zaqar.
Who knew?

* Marc^W Zaqar is critical to pretty much every major non-Convergence feature on the roadmap. We knew that we wanted to use it for notifications, but we also want to make those a replacement for events, and a conduit for warnings and debugging information to the user. This is becoming so important that we're going to push ahead with an implementation now without waiting to see when Zaqar will graduate. Zaqar would also be a good candidate for pushing metadata changes to servers, to resolve the performance issues currently caused by polling.

* We are on track to meet the immediate requirements of TripleO.
Obviously it would be nice to have Convergence now, but failing that the most critical bugs are under control. In the immediate future, we need to work on finding a consensus on running with multiple worker by default, split trees of nested stacks so that each nested stack runs in a separate engine, and find a way to push metadata out from Heat instead of having servers poll us for it.

* We have a plan for what Convergence will look like.
Here's some horrific photos of a whiteboard: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/tamoc8dhhckb81w/AAA6xp2be9xv20P7SWx-xnZba?dl=0 Clint is, I believe, working on turning that into something more consumable. This was definitely the biggest success of the meet-up. Before this I had no idea what convergence would look like; now I have a fair idea how it will work and where the tricky bits might be. I doubt this could have happened at a design summit.

* We probably don't need TaskFlow.
After coming up with the Convergence plan we realised that, while TaskFlow would be useful/essential if we were planning a more modest refactoring of Heat, the architecture of Convergence should actually eliminate the need for it. All we think we need is a bunch of work queues that can be provided by oslo.messaging. TaskFlow seems great for the problem it solves, but we have the opportunity to not create that problem for ourselves in the first place.

* Convergence probably won't buy us much in the short term.
I think we all hoped that our incremental work on Convergence would render incremental benefits for Heat. After figuring out the rough outline of how Convergence could work, we realised that the incremental steps along the way (like implementing the observer process) will actually not have a big impact. So while, of course, we'll continue to work incrementally, we don't expect to see major benefits until nearer the end of the process.


Thanks to everyone who made the trip, and of course also to everyone who contributed input via IRC and generally held down the fort while we were meeting. If I misstated or just plain missed anything above, please feel free to weigh in.

cheers,
Zane.

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