Like many events, Ansible’s community meetings have had to go virtual over the past year. While this was certainly a fit, this remote collaboration has proven to be useful for the Ansible community.
“For most of the last year, we actually saw a slight increase in the median number of attendees at these meetings because they are more accessible,” explained Carol Chen (Photo), Senior Ansible Community Architect at Red Hat Inc. “I think the need for people to connect socially is still there, whether online or in person, and the Ansible community is strong enough for that. “
Chen spoke with Jean Furrier, host of theCUBE, the live streaming studio of SiliconANGLE Media, during AnsibleFest 2021. They discussed Ansible’s shift to hybrid events and its impact on the community and the development of its open source tools. (* Disclosure below.)
The virtual presents challenges and opportunities
As an open source software solution, community interactions are crucial for Ansible. The lack of in-person events was initially difficult, but the company soon discovered that it also allowed for greater accessibility. But as virtual fatigue set in and the number of attendees began to drop, the team developed new hybrid events to keep the community engaged.
“We are introducing a hackathon at this contributor summit,” Chen said. “I think it’s a pretty popular thing for people to get hands-on experience or to work on something right away with people to support them on the spot so that you can get results in real time.”
Events like these fit naturally into a dispersed online community. As this community has grown, its contributions, both in number and complexity, according to Chen. Ansible created the Community Steering Committee in response to guide new automated technologies or other contributor projects.
“The steering committee defines these procedures and ensures that new inbound content complies with policies,” Chen explained. “This type of decision making… has happened in the community on an ad hoc basis to a large extent even before that, but having the steering committee will provide more structure.”
Quick adaptations like this ensure that the community can continue to function smoothly, further developing the open source tools that Ansible offers. Despite its challenges, hybrid and virtual collaboration has proven to be useful in this regard, Chen concluded.
Watch the full video interview below and be sure to find out more about SiliconANGLE and theCUBE coverage at AnsibleFest 2021. (* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for AnsibleFest. Neither Red Hat Inc., the coverage sponsor of theCUBE event, nor any other sponsor has editorial control over the content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)