5 minute read Published: Author: Derek Laventure
Aegir , DrupalCon , Aegir5 , Automation , Celery , DevOps , Drupal Planet , Kubernetes , OpenStack

See our recent Aegir5 Roadmapping series for more background!

Recently, Dries announced an exciting event at the upcoming DrupalCon Pittsburgh: Shark Tank meets Drupal: pitch your best innovation ideas/):

Announcing “Pitch-burgh”, an innovation contest at DrupalCon Pittsburgh, where members of the Drupal community can pitch their ideas to receive funding. […] The entrepreneurs give short 2-3 minute presentations in the hopes of securing funding for their idea.

Since we’re actively pursuing partners and funding for Aegir5 development, this seemed like it could be a good opportunity. If nothing else, it’d give us a chance to develop a succinct message to describe this initiative.

We’re pretty happy with the results. We hope you like it too (and read on below for more about the making of, and intention behind our pitch):

Bridging to the Future: A plan to bring Aegir 5 to the Drupal community from Consensus Enterprises on Vimeo.

Description: Consensus Enterprises is seeking funds to match its own investment in building Aegir 5: an application-agnostic, modern, and open-source community-owned hosting tool that works with Drupal 10. This will offer a migration path for Aegir 3 users, and will also enable management of non-Drupal sites and applications with entire software stacks. This funding will help us reach an alpha MVP more quickly, opening the door for other contributors in the community to also start developing the application.

With a little help from our friends

We had recently started working with an absolutely fantastic marketing consultant, Zack (storypanda.ca). When we asked him about it, he was quick to recommend Rob, with whom he’d collaborated successfully on previous projects. Rob (robspence.tv) is an amazing filmmaker and, interestingly, also a real-life cyborg.

They both quickly agreed to help, so we started figuring out what we wanted to say. Zack led some initial brainstorming, and gave us some homework in the form of a questionnaire to help the Consensus-Aegir team to articulate our vision for the project.

In the meantime, Rob had us scout locations within our respective homes. He also prompted us to start gathering some visual elements to incorporate into the video, so that we wouldn’t just be talking heads.

Zack came up with a draft script that touched on all the important topics we’d come up with. After a round of revisions, we were ready to shoot.

None of us felt particularly comfortable in front of the cameras, even if they were just the ones in our phones. Rob came through again, putting us at ease with witty banter, and confidence earned over decades of shooting and editing videos.

With the shooting done, Rob put together a rough-cut. This was eye-opening, as we could finally get a sense of what the final product would look like. Several edits later, based on feedback from the team and Zack, we had our final product.

The pitch

To be frank, we’ve found it challenging to distill a succinct message in terms of our vision of Aegir, what it can be for the community, and what we want to do with it.

“Here’s what we’re proposing…” Christopher begins, about 30 seconds into the video. He goes on to describe the urgent need to sunset Aegir3 and replace it with Aegir5. We’ve been cultivating this for several years, but we recognize the need to re-open the Aegir project to community participation and contribution.

In the video, we identify a few deliverables, which focus on releasing Aegir5 back into the Drupal community at large. The core of this milestone is to wire up the functional components we’ve built into a coherent minimal viable product (MVP). This will address the immediate use-case we’re seeing in our own work, while allowing the flexibility to expand functionality to other cases.

Fundamentally, the MVP will provide a functional Drupal app hosting platform which can replace Aegir3, ideally before Drupal 7 goes EOL. In the Alpha MVP stage, the goal is to release a stable “core” of Aegir5, a developer-ready foundation on which to build further. Improving the developer experience (DX) in Aegir5 is a key design goal, since we want the system to support a wide array of features we can’t build all on our own.

To that end, we plan to review, update, and improve our documentation, continue building out example modules which demonstrate how to leverage the underlying tools, as well as a comprehensive test suite. We view testing as both a quality control, guarding against regressions and other breakage, but also a means to illustrate how the system behaves. We’re working in the open on this, so feel free to check out the milestone details and engage with us on the GitLab project anytime :)

What’s next?

Once we complete the Alpha MVP milestone, we will start incorporating feedback from the existing Aegir developer community (shout-outs to Omega8.cc, DevShop, and InitFour.nl!) and beyond. We’ve already had some great conversations with existing Aegir3 users, and we plan to evolve the Beta MVP (and subsequent) milestone(s) based on the interest and feedback we gather in this process.

Since the original Hostmaster evolved into Aegir over a decade ago, many commercial Drupal hosting providers (Acquia, Pantheon, Platform.sh, etc) have come to the fore and serve a valuable role in the ongoing growth of Drupal on the web. As strong open source advocates, we believe it’s important to have an open, free alternative to commercial providers where we can address the additional use-cases in this space (eg. self-hosters, SaaS owners, etc.) and to help keep the Drupal devOps community open and growing.

Watch this space for an upcoming series to talk in more detail about these use-cases and how we imagine the ongoing evolution of Aegir5 :)

Consensus plans to continue being a community steward for Aegir, as we feel passionate about it’s value both to ourselves and as a community. We look forward to wider participation in this effort. Please get in touch if you’re interested in supporting Aegir5!

Wish us luck at DrupalCon Pitch-burg!

The article Aegir5 + Pitch-burgh first appeared on the Consensus Enterprises blog.

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