OpenStack Board Elections: What I’ll do in 2014: DefCore, Ops, & Community

Rob HirschfeldOpenStack Community,

The time has come for you to choose who will fill the eight community seats on the Board (ballot links went out Sunday evening CST).  I’ve had the privilege to serve you in that capacity for 16 months and would like to continue.  I have leadership role in Core Definition and want to continue that work.

Here are some of the reasons that I am a strong board member:

  • Proven & Active Leadership on Board - I have been very active and vocal representing the community on the Board.  In addition to my committed leadership in Core Definition, I have played important roles shaping the Gold Member grooming process and trying to adjust our election process.  I am an outspoken yet pragmatic voice for the community in board meetings.
  • Technical Leader but not on the TC – The Board needs members who are technical yet detached from the individual projects enough to represent outside and contrasting views.
  • Strong User Voice – As the senior OpenStack technologist at Dell, I have broad reach in Dell and RedHat partnership with exposure to a truly broad and deep part of the community.  This makes me highly accessible to a lot of people both in and entering the community.
  • Operations Leadership – Dell was an early leader in OpenStack Operations (via OpenCrowbar) and continues to advocate strongly for key readiness activities like upgrade and high availability.  In addition, I’ve led the effort to converge advanced cookbooks from the OpenCrowbar project into the OpenStack StackForge upstreams.  This is not a trivial effort but the right investment to make for our community.
  • And there’s more… you can read about my previous Board history in my 2012 and 2013 “why vote for me” posts or my general OpenStack comments.

And now a plea to vote for other candidates too!

I had hoped that we could change the election process to limit blind corporate affinity voting; however, the board was not able to make this change without a more complex set of bylaws changes.  Based on the diversity and size of OpenStack community, I hope that this issue may no longer be a concern.  Even so, I strongly believe that the best outcome for the OpenStack Board is to have voters look beyond corporate affiliation and consider a range of factors including business vs. technical balance, open source experience, community exposure, and ability to dedicate time to OpenStack.

Looking to Leverage OpenStack Havana? Crowbar delivers 3xL!

openstack_havanaThe Crowbar community has a tradition of “day zero ops” community support for the latest OpenStack release at the summit using our pull-from-source capability.  This release we’ve really gone the extra mile by doing it one THREE Linux distros (Ubuntu, RHEL & SLES) in parallel with a significant number of projects and new capabilities included.

I’m especially excited about Crowbar implementation of Havana Docker support which required advanced configuration with Nova and Glance.  The community also added Heat and Celiometer in the last release cycle plus High Availability (“Titanium”) deployment work is in active development.  Did I mention that Crowbar is rocking OpenStack deployments?  No, because it’s redundant to mention that.  We’ll upload ISOs of this work for easy access later in the week.

While my team at Dell remains a significant contributor to this work, I’m proud to point out to SUSE Cloud leadership and contributions also (including the new Ceph barclamp & integration).  Crowbar has become a true multi-party framework!

 

Want to learn more?  If you’re in Hong Kong, we are hosting a Crowbar Developer Community Meetup on Monday, November 4, 2013, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM (HKT) in the SkyCity Marriott SkyZone Meeting Room.  Dell, dotCloud/Docker, SUSE and others will lead a lively technical session to review and discuss the latest updates, advantages and future plans for the Crowbar Operations Platform. You can expect to see some live code demos, and participate in a review of the results of a recent Crowbar 2 hackathon.  Confirm your seat here – space is limited!  (I expect that we’ll also stream this event using Google Hangout, watch Twitter #Crowbar for the feed)

My team at Dell has a significant presence at the OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong (details about activities including sponsored parties).  Be sure to seek out my fellow OpenStack Board Member Joseph George, Dell OpenStack Product Manager Kamesh Pemmaraju and Enstratius/Dell Multi-Cloud Manager Founder George Reese.

Note: The work referenced in this post is about Crowbar v1.  We’ve also reached critical milestones with Crowbar v2 and will begin implementing Havana on that platform shortly.

Crowbar lays it all out: RAID & BIOS configs officially open sourced

MediaToday, Dell (my employer) announced a plethora of updates to our open source derived solutions (OpenStack and Hadoop). These solutions include the latest bits (Grizzly and Cloudera) for each project. And there’s another important notice for people tracking the Crowbar project: we’ve opened the remainder of its provisioning capability.

Yes, you can now build the open version of Crowbar and it has the code to configure a bare metal server.

Let me be very specific about this… my team at Dell tests Crowbar on a limited set of hardware configurations. Specifically, Dell server versions R720 + R720XD (using WSMAN and iIDRAC) and C6220 + C8000 (using open tools). Even on those servers, we have a limited RAID and NIC matrix; consequently, we are not positioned to duplicate other field configurations in our lab. So, while we’re excited to work with the community, caveat emptor open source.

Another thing about RAID and BIOS is that it’s REALLY HARD to get right. I know this because our team spends a lot of time testing and tweaking these, now open, parts of Crowbar. I’ve learned that doing hard things creates value; however, it’s also means that contributors to these barclamps need to be prepared to get some silicon under their fingernails.

I’m proud that we’ve reached this critical milestone and I hope that it encourages you to play along.

PS: It’s worth noting is that community activity on Crowbar has really increased. I’m excited to see all the excitement.

Connecting the dots: Dell stays course on OpenStack private

rob pdx drivingWhen it comes to OpenStack, I don’t just work for Dell: I’m the technical lead for our OpenStack-powered private Cloud Solution and an elected director to the OpenStack Foundation board.

Frankly, the announcement of our change in public cloud strategy overshadowed our increasing level of investment in OpenStack-powered private cloud solutions (we are hiring!).  Sam Greenblatt, Dell Product Group VP and Chief Architect, is very specific that the recent announcements are about increasing investment where Dell is already successful plus accelerating with new features (such as leadership in HyperV enablement).

The fact that we focused on our decision to pivot away from Dell hosted public cloud distracted from the strategic choices that we’ve been making.  In the lean process that we use, pivots are a positive sign of listening and self-honesty.  Sadly, that distraction led to confusion, misleading comments, and implications that Dell was dropping OpenStack or questioning OpenStack sustainability and market success.

For the record, Dell was one of the first companies to support OpenStack with supporting quotes from Forrest Norrod (Dell GM for Servers and my direct boss) way back  in July 2010.  Our private OpenStack based cloud, built on open source Crowbar, was the first to market 2 years ago (deploying Cactus!).  We’ve been investing steadily in both fundamental improvements to OpenStack deployment and being early supporting the Grizzly release.

I am not implying that OpenStack’s future is certain (we have a lot of work to do) or that Dell OpenStack strategy will not change again; however, I know first-hand that both are on much firmer footing than some reports have implied.

Installing SSD + Windows8 = Blank Primary Monitor (fixable!)

2012-10-28_12-44-51_691I could not find the solution to this easily, so I’m leaving a breadcrumb trail here… I did not keep the links so I cannot give proper attribution but will try to pay it forward.

Short version: Try HDMI/VGA output if your Win8 primary monitor is blank.  Then update the BIOS.

Long version:

I decided to update my wife’s Dell Inspiron N5110 laptop to an SSD and Windows 8.  Sadly, the machine’s factory config had a very slow HDD and that was impacting the system’s total performance.  Replacing the HDD with an SSD required major surgery to the laptop – it is not for the faint of heart.

After installing the SSD and installing Windows 8 (painless!) the system booted though the splash screen and turned off the display.  Yes, it simply went completely blank.

I stumbled upon a tip that suggested that the system was working but using the HDMI output.  That proved correct.  I was able to complete the configuration using HDMI and/or VGA monitors.

Even after completing and updating the monitor (still blank) was clearly working because the BIOS screens and splash screen worked on the monitor.  Deleting the Video Card from Devices did NOT work.

Ultimately, I found a site that recommended updating the BIOS (was A09, now A11 from 11/2012).  The BIOS update corrected the problem.

I should have known to update the BIOS and firmware before starting the upgrade.  I hope you learn from my experience.

Oh…. the SSD+Win8 made an AMAZING performance difference.  It’s like a brand new 10x faster laptop and an excellent investment.  I’ve become a bit of a Linux appologist; however, I was pleasantly surprised to find Windows 8 to be very usable once I learned the latest hot-key assignments (Search on Win key -> Win+F).

OpenStack Board Voting Starts! Three thoughts about the board and election

1/18 Note: I was re-elected! Thanks everyone for your support.

OpenStack Foundation members, I have three requests for you:

  1. vote (ballots went out by email already and expire on Friday)
  2. vote for me (details below)
  3. pick the board you want, not just the candidates.

And, of course, vote according to our code of conduct: “Members should not attempt to manipulate election results. Open debate is welcome, but vote trading, ballot stuffing and other forms of abuse are not acceptable.”

To vote, you must have been a member for 6 months. Going Mad Panda? Join right now so you can vote next time!

Even if you’re not a voter, you may find my comments useful in understanding OpenStack. Remember, these positions are my own: they do not reflect those of my employer (Dell).

Vote because it’s the strongest voice the community has about OpenStack governance

I’d strongly encourage you to commit code, come to the summit and participate in the lists and chats; however, voting is more. It shows measurable impact. It shows the vitality of the community.

OpenStack is exciting to me because it’s community driven.

I have been a strong and early leader in the community:

Vote for me because of my OpenStack Operations focus

My team at Dell has been laser focused on making OpenStack operable for over 2 years. My team acts like a lean start-up inside of Dell to get products out to market early.

We’ve worked with early operators and ground-breaking ecosystem partners (plus). We’ve helped many people get OpenStack running for real workloads. Consequently, I am highly accessible and accountable to a large number of users, operators and ecosystem vendors. Few other people in the OpenStack community have my breadth of exposure to real OpenStack deployments. My team and I have been dedicated, active participants in OpenStack long before Dell’s grand OpenStack strategy coalesced.

More importantly, I am committed to open source and open operations. The Apache 2 open source Crowbar project established the baseline (and served as the foundation) for other OpenStack deployment efforts. We don’t just talk about open source, we do open source: our team works in the open (my git account).

Vote for a board because diversity of views is important

OpenStack voting allows you to throw up to 8 votes to a single candidate. While you can put all your eggs into a single basket, I recommend considering a broader slate in voting.

We have an impressive and dedicated list of candidates who will do work for the community. I ask that you consider the board as a team. If you want operators, users, diversity, change, less corporate influence or any flavor of the above then think not just about the individual.

Why should I be part of your slate? I am not a blind cheerleader. I have voiced and driven community-focused positions about the board (dev cycle, grizzly >;; folsom, consensus).

One of my core activities has been to work on addressing community concerns about affinity voting. Gold and Platinum members have little incentive to address this issue. While I’d like to see faster action, it requires changing the by-laws. Any by-law changes need to be made carefully and they also require a vote of the electorate. If you want positive change, you need board members, like me, who are persistent and knowledgeable in board dynamics.

What have I done on the Board? Quite a bit…

It would be easy to get lost in a board of 24 members, but I have not. Armed with my previous board experience, I have been a vocal advocate for the community in board meetings without creating disruption or pulling us off topic.

Why re-elect me? For community & continuity

I am a strong and active board member and I work hard to represent all OpenStack constituents: developers, operators, users and ecosystem vendors.

Working on a board is a long-term exercise. Positions and actions I’ve taken today may take months to come to fruition. I would like the opportunity continue that work and see it through.

OpenStack Board Interview Series by Rafael Knuth

Rafael Knuth, Dell Rafael Knuth (@RafaelKnuth with Dell as EMEA Social Media Community Manager) has set an ambitious objective to interview all 24 of the OpenStack Foundation Board members. I had the privilege of being the first interview posted (Japanese version!).

Here’s the series so far:

  1. Rob Hirschfeld (me!) of Dell (my summary)
  2. Boris Renski of Mirantis
  3. Randy Bias of CloudScaling
  4. Jim Curry of Rackspace
  5. Yujie Due of 99cloud
  6. Tim Bell of CERN
  7. Joshua McKenty of Piston
  8. Lew Tucker of Cisco
  9. Alan Clark (Chair) of SUSE  
  10. Joseph George of Dell (added 5/22)

These are excellent interviews and worth reviewing. They give balanced (often critical) views of OpenStack, its progress and challenges.

I update the list as he adds them.