OpenStack Core Online Forum, Oct 16 13:30 UTC / Oct 22 0100 UTC

Go Online!OpenStack Community, you are invited on an online discussion about OpenStack Core on October 16th at UTC 13:30 (8:30 am US Central) and October 22nd at UTC 0100 (8:00 pm US Central)

At the next OpenStack Foundation Board meeting, we will be setting a timeline for implementing an OpenStack Core Definition process that promotes a clear and implementation driven metric for deciding which projects should be considered “required.”  This is your chance to review and influence the process!

We’ll review the OpenStack Core Definition process (20 minutes) and then open up the channel for discussion using the IRC (#openstack-meeting) & Google Hangout on Air (link posted in IRC).

The forum will be coordinated through the IRC channel for links and questions.

Can’t make it?  The session was recorded > here!

We need better Gold Member criteria to help building OpenStack culture

bunny slippersDuring last OpenStack board meeting, we started a dialog that will be continued over the rest of the year.  It concerns how/if we should apply our criteria to measure the contributions of companies that are applying to become Gold members.

I believe that we should see many contribution “footprints” for companies in Foundation leadership positions.  These footprints do not have to be code in github: there are many visible ways to contribute to OpenStack including internal installs, delivered product, community meetups, open source support around code, service to the community through speaking and sponsoring and, of course, code too.

At this point in the OpenStack evolution, there is so much going on that it is easy to leave footprints because there are so many ways to engage.  Footprints are tangible evidence of community leadership and the currency of collaboration.  OpenStack thrives because we are committed to working together, being transparent in our actions and providing service to the project beyond our own needs.

I believe OpenStack Foundation’s new gold members will are great additions to our growing community; however, we need to be increasingly deliberate in accepting new Gold members to make sure that they have a history of demonstrating a culture of open source leadership and contribution.  

These applications deserve careful consideration for several reasons:

  1. there are a limited number of gold level positions (16 of the 24 are now occupied)
  2. there is no practical way to remove a gold member (but only 8 are elected to the board)
  3. there is a perception (by the applicants) that they gain additional credibility through gold membership
  4. gold and platinum members are the leaders of our community so everyone will models their behavior

It is important to remember that there is no limit or barrier (beyond $) to joining at the corporate sponsors level. So, being a gold member means that companies are seeking a broader leadership role in the project.

Over the next months, Simon Anderson (committee chair, Dreamhost) will be leading me and several other board members in an effort to refine of our Gold member review criteria.  I’ll post own list shortly and I’m interested in hearing from you about what type of “footprints” we should be considered in this process.

Interview Transcript about OpenStack, Foundation, Dell & Crowbar

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 have the privilege of being the first interview posted (Japanese version!).   Here’s the whole series.

This is not puff interview – We spent an hour together and Rafael did not shy away from asking hard questions like “Why did Dell jump into OpenStack?” and “is VMware a threat to OpenStack?”  Rather than posting the whole transcript (it’s posted here), I’m including the questions (as a teaser) below.   There is some real meat in these answers about OpenStack, Dell, Crowbar and challenges facing the project.

WARNING: My job is engineering, not marketing.  You may find my answers (which are MY OWN ANSWERS) to be more direct that you are expecting.  If you find yourself needing additional circumlocution then simply close your browser and move on.

Some highlights…

Dell’s interest in OpenStack has been very pragmatic. OpenStack is something we really see a market need for.

Rackspace …  runs on OpenStack pretty much off trunk …  That’s exactly the type of vibrant community we want to see.  At the same time, there is a growing community that wants to use OpenStack distributions with support, certifications and they are fine with being 6 months behind OpenStack off trunk. That’s good, and we want that shadow, we want that combination of pure minded early adopters and less sophisticated OpenStack users both working together.

We are working with different partners to bring OpenStack to different customers in different ways. It is confusing. Your question about Dell Crowbar was right … it is targeted at a certain class of users, and I don’t want enterprise customers who expect a lot of shiny chrome and zero touch. That’s not the target by now for Dell Crowbar. We definitely need that sort of magic decoder page to help customers understand our commercial offering.

Questions from Interview:

  1. Dell is one of the very early contributors to OpenStack. Why is Dell engaging in this project?
  2. How does Dell contribute to OpenStack?
  3. Let’s talk a bit about Dell Crowbar, your team’s deployment mechanism for OpenStack.
  4. Let’s talk a bit about OpenStack raw vs. OpenStack distributions.
  5. What are the biggest barriers to OpenStack adoption as of now?
  6. What does a customer specifically need to do when moving from OpenStack Essex to Folsom for example?
  7. My next question is around proof of concept versus production, Rob. How are customers using OpenStack and can you give examples for both scenarios?
  8. I hear very often two different statements: “Open Stack is an alternative to Amazon.” The other is: “OpenStack is an alternative to VMware … maybe, hopefully in two or three years from now.”  Which of both statements is true?
  9. How do you view VMware joining OpenStack. Is it a threat to OpenStack or does VMware add value to the project?
  10. Let us speak about market adoption. Who are the early adopters of OpenStack? And when do you expect OpenStack to hit the tipping point for mass market adoption?
  11. Rob, for all those interested in Dell’s commercial offering around OpenStack … can you give a brief overview?
  12. Dell TechCenter that provides customers an overview over our OpenStack offering: Dell Crowbar as our DevOps tool in its various shapes and forms, OpenStack distros we support … cloud services we build around OpenStack … hardware capabilities optimized for OpenStack.
  13. What are the challenges for the OpenStack Board of Directors?

Seeking OpenStack Foundation Board Seat for 2013 (please nominate me)

I am seeking another term on the OpenStack Foundation Board.  Please consider nominating me for this position.
The following is the profile information I provided as part of the nomination process.  If you are looking for insights into where OpenStack is going then these question (especially the later ones) will be interesting.

Provide Brief Biography of Yourself

I have been involved in Cloud for over 12 years and launch some of the earliest Cloud companies.  My educational background (Duke and LSU) is in computer science and systems engineering (Mechanical/Industrial) with a focus on distributed systems.  I have always found deployment to be vitally important in development – that lead me to found a SaaS start-up in 1999 and had made me a DevOps advocate.  In addition to core cloud technologies, I am an Agile/Lean process evangelist who strongly believes that how you build and deliver is just as important as what you deliver.
Currently, I am a principal engineer at Dell leading our OpenStack Cloud project  and also a founder of the Crowbar project.  In that role, I am in constant contact with OpenStack users, ecosystem developers and vendors world-wide; consequently, I have a very broad perspective on use and technical needs for OpenStack and related Cloud technologies.

What is your relationship to OpenStack, and why is its success important to you? What would you say is your biggest contribution to OpenStack’s success to date?

I have been involved in OpenStack at the earliest stages and was a key influencer in Dell’s decision to be an initial sponsor.  Further, I formulated Dell’s operations/deployment focused Lean strategy that helped create an early focus on OpenStack operations.   This support was a critical catalyst to building market momentum and we continue help drive operations and user focused requirements for OpenStack.  Providing a very open and community driven DevOps focus has been my biggest contribution (see Crowbar).
I also serve the community in many ways.  In addition to being elected to the 2012 Board, I founded the Austin OpenStack User Group (next meeting 12/6!), have been spoken at every Summit, co-Chaired the Operations Track at the Grizzly Summit and create community awareness of OpenStack through my blog, corporate work, and social media activity.
I have invested considerable time in OpenStack and made professional commitments to its success.  It’s not just about software and an awesome community – I am personally invested in OpenStack winning.

Describe your experience with other non profits or serving as a board member. How does your experience prepare you for the role of a board member?

I am currently serving on the OpenStack Foundation Board and have been an active advocate for a collaborative process and open communication (http://wp.me/pF6d2-vc, http://wp.me/pF6d2-w9).  I hope continue on the board so that we can stay focused on the critical issues at hand.

I have over four years of serving as Secretary for my city’s public Texas 4-B Commercial Development Corporation which governed by state open meetings standards.  This work has proven directly relevant to the OpenStack foundation because the open governance requirements map very well to our communities transparency expectations.

What do you see as the Board’s role in OpenStack’s success?

The board’s job is to ensure that community and collaboration remain OpenStack’s core strength as an open source project.  As adoption and footprint increases there is enormous pressure on the community to try and serve both general and very specialized interests.  Most critically, we must find ways to balance competing financial interests within the community.
The board must ensure that OpenStack provides commercial opportunity because I believe that incent continued investment; however, we cannot let profit drive the community away from our open source values.
I believe the Board must monitor the community’s progress to ensure we maintain this balance.  It is our responsibility to make adjustments, influence changes and take responsibility for driving an innovative and collaborative culture.

What do you think the top priority of the Board should be in 2013?

There are two inter-related top priorities for the Board: we must help deliver guidelines for which projects are truly “core” OpenStack and help move towards a certifiable API specification for OpenStack (instead of implementation).   While distinct, I believe both items must be solved together.  These changes are essential to foster innovation and adoption of OpenStack.
While these issues will occupy the Board (and Technical/User committees) for 2013, my personal priority for OpenStack in general remains focused on operators and users.  I believe we have to make substantial progress on upgrades, migration and operational readiness.  These issues continue to create a serious barrier to adoption.

Impressions from OpenStack Foundation board meeting 10/15

20121018-115319.jpgI spent the first day of the OpenStack summit doing my service as a Foundation board member. While you need to wait for a summary by Jonathan Bryce, the Foundation Executive Director, and/or the official minutes to get the details of our actions, I think that it’s reasonable to share my impressions.

In some ways, the chemistry of the board is as important as our actions at this point. We are still working thorough start up issues and, more importantly, learning how to work together. The board is not only big, 24 members, it is also has many companies that often compete (power of we).

Here are my top 5 impressions:

    1. Transparency. The bylaws are crafted to ensure a openness and our meetings are broadcast to the maximum extent possible. Even with that background, there is a consistent self-check and discussion about increasing transparency so that the community is included.
    2. Humor. It’s a great sign of progress that we are laughing together because it shows that we trust and respect each other.
    3. Frustration. Recognition that we have important decisions to make and a degree of impatience to make them. Boards are subtle: we spend a lot of time setting up the right structures that allow us to make hard decisions quickly. Also, grumbling that we’d overlapped the board meeting and the summit.
    4. Consensus. This something I committed to help build. I feel that our actions reflect both healthy discussion as individuals and desire to work together as a board.
    5. Leadership. Looking back from our first meeting, it is clear that Jonathan and Alan have fully assumed their roles. I’m also seeing how the Foundation team (Mark, Lauren, Stephano) are smoothly supporting operations even though we’re really just weeks from the Foundation launch.

I hope that gives you some insights into the board meeting and that more of you can join the broadcast for the next ones (2012 schedule TBD) including a joint tech and foundation meeting

Wednesday morning at the summit was “breakfast with the board.” Look for some notes from that too soon.

OSCBM Seeking Community Input for Long Board Meetings and Candlelight Coding Sessions

Happy OpenStack Foundation Launch Day! I’m a little breathless at OpenStack’s sponsored sprint to foundationhood but very proud to be part of the process (you can be too!).   Just looking at the numbers it’s clear that we’re building something important.

While it’s important that OpenStack is innovative, stable and useful cloud infrastructure, it’s equally important the project in collaborative developed.

Collaborative development makes it safe for so many diverse commercial interests to participate.  The Foundation, with a gold and platinum war chest,  is a reflection of the need for the project to remain both openly collaborative and commercially successful for our community.  We must ensure a level technology playing field while we work to ensure members of the community can be commercially successful while contributing.  This balance is one of our core challenges.

As an OpenStack Community Board Member (OSCBM), I want to hear what you think the OpenStack Foundation should be doing for OpenStack!

It is vital that I get input from the OpenStack community!  Unlike 2/3 of the Board, my seat is decided by the community and (re)elected by the community on an annual basis; consequently, it is my responsibility to voice Stackers’ interest, not my employer’s (Dell).

Frankly, the project is still hugely dominated by developers with users/operators only just gaining influence. The Foundation’s primary purpose is to help safe guard its independence. As a board member, my job today is to oversee building  up the critical infrastructure (like having a staff) to perform that mission.

Of course, you also need to know my priorities.

  1. Consensus governance helps ensure minority views get heard while we still act as a unified body.  Consensus includes formalized agendas, rules (aka Robert’s rules) , clarifying motions and simple actions to make it easier for the community to follow.
  2. More community integration in the form of work done in subcomittees that can bring in external voices and integration with technical and user committees.
  3. Make activities more consistent, visible and accessible.  While our actions are open, our practices (and audio bridges)  make it difficult for the community to follow along.  That includes faster turn around on minutes so that board actions are not subject to twitter extrapolation.

The board is still very young and I’m impressed with what we’ve accomplished so far.

I am seeking your vote(s) for the OpenStack Board

If registered, you have 8 votes to allocate as you wish.  You will get a link via email – you must use that link.

Joseph B George and I are cross-blogging this post because we are jointly seeking your vote(s) for individual member seats on the OpenStack Foundation board.  This is key point in the OpenStack journey and we strongly encourage eligible voters to participate no matter who you vote for!  As we have said before, success of the Foundation governance process matters just as much as the code because it ensures equal access and limits forking.

We think that OpenStack succeeds because it is collaboratively developed.  It is essential that we select board members who have a proven record of community development, a willingness to partner and have demonstrated investment in the project.

Our OpenStack vision favors production operations by being operator, user and ecosystem focused.  If elected, we will represent these interests by helping advance deployability, API specifications, open operations and both large and small scale cloud deployments.

Of the nominees, we best represent OpenStack users and operators (as opposed to developers).  We have the most diverse experience in real-world OpenStack deployments because our solution has been deployed broadly (both as Dell and through Crowbar.  We have a proven record of collaborating broadly with contributors, demonstrated skills at building the OpenStack community and doing real open source work to ensure that OpenStack is the most deployable cloud platform anywhere.

Let’s get specific about our leadership in the OpenStack project and community:

  • We have been active and vocal leaders in the OpenStack community
    • our team has established two very active user groups (Austin & Boston)
    • we have lead multiple world-wide deploy day events (March 2012  &  May 2012).
    • we have substantial experience in the field and know the challenges of running OpenStack for a wide variety of real-world deployments
    • our first solution came out on Cactus!  We’ve been delivering on Essex since OSCON 2012 (http://www.oscon.com/ ).
  • We represent a broad range of deployment scenarios ranging from hosting, government, healthcare, retail, education, media, financial and more!
  • We have broad engagements and partnerships at the infrastructure (SUSE, Canonical, Redhat), consulting (Canonical, Mirantis) and ecosystem layers (enStratus) and beyond!
  • We have a proven track record of collaboration instead of forking/disrupting – a critical skill for this project reflected by our consistent actions to preserve the integrity of the project.
  • We have led the “make OpenStack deployable” campaign with substantial investments (open source Crowbar, white papers, documentation & cookbooks.
  • We have very long and consistent history with the project starting even before the first OpenStack summit in Austin.

Of course, we’re asking for you to consider for both of us; however, if you want to focus on just one then here’s the balance between us.  Rob (bio) is a technologist with deep roots in cloud technology, data center operations and open source.  Joseph is a business professional with experience new product introduction and enterprise delivery.

Not sure if you can vote?  If you registered as an individual member then your name should be on the voting list.  In that case, you can vote between 8/20 and 8/24.