OpenStack Summit: Let’s talk DevOps, Fog, Upgrades, Crowbar & Dell

If you are coming to the OpenStack summit in San Diego next week then please find me at the show! I want to hear from you about the Foundation, community, OpenStack deployments, Crowbar and anything else.  Oh, and I just ordered a handful of Crowbar stickers if you wanted some CB bling.

Matt Ray (Opscode), Jason Cannavale (Rackspace) and I were Ops track co-chairs. If you have suggestions, we want to hear. We managed to get great speakers and also some interesting sessions like DevOps panel and up streaming deploy working sessions. It’s only on Monday and Tuesday, so don’t snooze or you’ll miss it.

My team from Dell has a lot going on, so there are lots of chances to connect with us:

At the Dell booth, Randy Perryman will be sharing field experience about hardware choices. We’ve got a lot of OpenStack battle experience and we want to compare notes with you.

I’m on the board meeting on Monday so likely occupied until the Mirantis party.

See you in San Diego!

PS: My team is hiring for Dev, QA and Marketing. Let me know if you want details.

Work with me! Our Dell team is hiring architects, engineers & open source gurus

If you’ve been watching my team’s progress at Dell on Crowbar, OpenStack and Hadoop and want a front row seat in these exciting open source projects then the ball is in our your court!   We are poised to take all three of these projects into new territories that I cannot reveal here, but, take my word for it, there has never been a better time to join our team.

Let me repeat: my team has a lot of open engineering and marketing positions.

Not only are we doing some really kick ass projects, we are also helping redefine how Dell delivers software.  Dell is investing significantly in building our software capabilities and focus.

Basically, we are looking for engineers with a passion for scale applications, devops and open source.   Experience in Hadoop and/or OpenStack will move you to the top of the pile.   These positions say Hadoop, but we’re also looking for OpenStack, DevOps and Chef.  We think like a start-up.

Ideally in Austin, Boston or the Bay.  We’ll also be happy to hear from you if you’ve got l33t chOps but are not as senior as these positions require.
If you are interested, the BEST NEXT  STEP IS TO APPLY ONLINE.
If you don’t want to click the links, I’m attaching the descriptions of the engineering positions after the split.

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DevOps: There’s a new sheriff in Cloudville

DevOps SherrifLately there’s a flurry of interest (and hiring demand) for DevOps gurus.  It’s obvious to me that there’s as much agreement between the ethical use of ground unicorn horn as there is about the job description of a DevOps tech.

I look at the world very simply:

  • Developers = generate revenue
  • Ops = control expenses
  • DevOps = write code, setup infrastructure, ??? IDK!

Before I risk my supply of ethically obtained unicorn powder by defining DevOps, I want to explore why DevOps is suddenly hot.  With cloud driving horizontal scale applications (see RAIN posts), there’s been a sea change in the type of expertise needed to manage an application.

Stereotypically, Ops teams get code over the transom from Dev teams.  They have the job of turning the code into a smoothly running application.  That requires rigid controls and safe guards.  Traditionally, Ops could manage most of the scale and security aspects of an application with traditional scale-up, reliability, and network security practices.  These practices naturally created some IT expense and policy rigidity; however, that’s what it takes to keep the lights on with 5 nines (or 5 nyets if you’re an IT customer).

Stereotypically, Dev teams live a carpe diem struggle to turn their latest code into deployed product with the least delay.  They have the job of capturing mercurial customer value by changing applications rapidly.  Traditionally, they have assumed that problems like scale, reliability, and security could be added after the fact or fixed as they are discovered.  These practices naturally created a need to constantly evolve.

In the go-go cloud world, Dev teams are by-passing Ops by getting infrastructure directly from an IaaS provider.  Meanwhile, IaaS does not provide Ops the tools, access, and controls that they have traditionally relied on for control and management.  Consequently, Dev teams have found themselves having to stage, manage and deploy applications with little expertise in operations.  Further, Ops teams have found themselves handed running cloud applications that they have to secure, scale and maintain applications without the tools they have historically relied on.

DevOps has emerged as the way to fill that gap.  The DevOps hero is comfortable flying blind on an outsourced virtualized cloud, dealing with Ops issues to tighten controls and talking shop with Dev to make needed changes to architecture.  It’s a very difficult job because of the scope of skills and the utter lack of proven best practices.

So what is a day in the life of a DevOp?   Here’s my list:

  • Design and deploy scale out architecture
  • Identify and solve performance bottlenecks
  • Interact with developers to leverage cloud services
  • Interact with operations to integrate with enterprise services
  • Audit and secure applications
  • Manage application footprint based on scale
  • Automate actions on managed infrastructure

This job is so difficult that I think the market cannot supply the needed experts.  That deficit is becoming a forcing function where the cloud industry is being driven to adopt technologies and architectures that reduce the dependence for DevOps skills.  Now, that’s the topic for a future post!

Annual Performance reviews hazardous for team performance

Performance Review Game

You don’t have to go farther than your own personal experience to know that annual reviews completely fail to motivate, inform, or protect people.  If you’re own experience is not enough try comparing notes with peers, reading JoelOnSoftware, and PeopleWare by DeMarco.

If you’ve got a great performance from an individual, a review is likely to hamper it.  If you’ve got a great team then individual reviews are likely to sabotage it.  Really.  This is 100% true and there’s plenty of research to back it up.

Managers – if you are relying on performance reviews to create great employees and teams then you’re feedback is way way way (way) too late.  If you are relying on inventive pay to build your feedback is not only too slow but likely to cause more problems then you imagine.  Most of these systems only show employees that they are not valuable and build up your (the manager’s) ego.  If that’s not intuitive to you then you need to educate yourself.  Read and learn.  It’s not too late!

Here’s an NPR article supporting the evidence:  Annual Job Review Is ‘Total Baloney,’ Expert Says.  Employee performance reviews should be eliminated, according to Samuel Culbert: “First, they’re dishonest and fraudulent. And second, they’re just plain bad management.” The UCLA business professor has written a new book expanding on that view.