November 16, 2015
September 01, 2015
One thing that is hard to measure in open source projects is just how aware people are of your community or its software. It's even harder to find out where in the world people have heard about you so far. You might have a rough feeling, probably based on some facts like the country-specific TLDs of email addresses on your mailing lists. But that's very vague and only includes people actively participating (and there's more and less vocal people, too).
One approach is to check the hits your repository or website is getting. What most people hearing about something for the first time are doing nowadays is quickly check out that something's website. So it's a perfect way to measure where people have at least heard of you!
There's a couple of ways to do this. One way is tracking the IPs that hit your webserver and turn them into a geographical location. Another way is leveraging tools like Google Analytics that you can build into your website. Today, we'll have a brief look at the results for those analytics for www.midonet.org, from November 1 until August 31. The data used below is showing numbers of sessions, where a session is defined as starting with the first page impression by a user and ends 30 minute after the user's last page impression. The total duration doesn't matter as much as the fact that any page impressions in between the first and last in a single session are still counting to the same, single session.
Sessions per Country
If you would have given me a map of the world and asked me to color all the countries where I think people have heard of MidoNet, I would have colored the USA and Canada, Europe (minus some South-Eastern parts), East Asia (minus North Korea and Mongolia), Russia and Australia. Again, that's mostly based on where I see activity coming from, plus where I know MidoNet has been presented at some conference or meetup.
However, to my surprise, we've actually seen visitors from many more countries! People are aware of MidoNet almost globally! As you can see on the image below, the map is mostly blue. You can also see, that my expectations weren't totally off the mark as most of the countries I would have colored have a darker hue, indicating more sessions.
- United States
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
Sessions by City
Well, some countries are just huge while others are smaller than some cities so the above doesn't tell us much about the actual awareness of MidoNet in e.g. the United States, Russia or China. Let's briefly look at cities, but be prepared to see more white than blue on the global map this time. Again, given a map and asked to color it accordingly...well, this one is seriously tough. Obvious high on the list must be Barcelona, Tokyo and San Francisco just because MidoNet's principal sponsor, Midokura, has major offices in those cities. Other than that, I would probably color the economic or technical capital of the countries I would have colored above. Afterwards, I'd just make lots of random dots all over Europe, the US East and West Coats (plus Texas) and that's it. I'd make the bubbles at the Midokura offices as well as those over Seoul, Beijing, Paris and Vancouver fairly bigger and the rest about equally small, again based on where I see activity from, plus we've been promoting MidoNet quite much at the OpenStack Summits in Paris and Vancouver.
Looking at the actual data, I'm not too far off this time. The habitable parts of Europe are covered with dots, and so are the US East and West Coasts. Furthermore, the economical or technical capitals also got dots...and then some.
- San Francisco
- New York
- San Jose
- Santa Clara
- Kansas City
Two smaller surprises came in the form of Samara and Kansas City. Now, when I said I see interested in MidoNet from Russia, I didn't know where in Russia it's coming from. It seems Samara is a major tech city, so seeing Samara and Moscow listed seems plausible but I still wouldn't have expected it on rank #2. Kansas City surprised me a bit more - I know that a local company there is one of our major users, but it's hard to believe that a single company propelled the city into the top 20...
In just 10 months, we have raised awareness for MidoNet all over the globe! Alright, the more detailed analysis by cities draws a bit of a different image, but still a very successful one. All strategically important (i.e. major IT) cities are highlighted, and more. The map also shows that our efforts to promote MidoNet in key areas is very successful and often spreads well outside of the city we were actually visiting.
If I had to predict the coming 10 months, I would first and foremost expect even more interest from the same cities. I don't think we're going to target the regions that are virtually blank on the map as those are mostly regions where cloud technologies have yet to gain traction and SDN/NFV is usually not the first thing people look at. We're trying to put a bit more of a focus on China and India than previously, and continue promoting MidoNet at OpenStack Summits (Tokyo and Austin TX) and Dockercon (Barcelona and ???) but we already see interest from all these places so it's mostly about growth.
Of course, growing interest is only the first step. We also need to convert that interest into users - and the number of users is really the hardest to measure - and finally into contributors, something we're only just at the very beginning of. So continuing to focus on those key areas does make sense, and is still important.