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Running for the OpenStack Board: “All In” on OpenStack

January 5, 2017 Leave a comment

This is a duplicate of a blog I authored for SUSE, originally published at the SUSE Blog Site.

In thinking about the OpenStack community, our approach to the project going forward, and the upcoming Board elections, I’m reminded of a specific hand of the poker game Texas Hold ‘Em I observed a few years back between two players.

As one particular hand began, both players had similar chip stacks, and were each dealt cards that were statistically favorable to win.

The hand played out like most other hands – the flop, the turn, the river, betting, calling, etc.  And as the game continued toward its conclusion, those of us observing the game could see that one player was playing with the statistically better cards, and presumably the win.

But then the second player made a bold move that turned everything on its head.

He went “all in.”

The “all in” move in poker is one that commits all of your chips to the pot, and often requires your opponent to make a decision for most or all of their chips. It is an aggressive move in this scenario.

After taking some time to consider his options, the first player ultimately chose to fold his strong cards and cut his perceived losses, allowing the other player to claim the winnings.

And this prize can be claimed almost completely because of the “all in” strategy.

Clearly, going “all in” can be a very strong move indeed.

 

Decision Time in OpenStack

Next week – Monday, January 9 through Friday, January 13 – is an important week for the OpenStack community, as we elect the 2017 Individual Representatives to the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

I’m honored to have been nominated as a candidate for Board Director, to potentially serve the community again, as I did back in 2013.

Back in the summer of 2010, I was fortunate to be one of the few in the crowded ball room at the Omni Hotel in Austin, Texas, witnessing the birth of the OpenStack project. And it is amazing to see how far it has come – but with a tremendous amount of work yet to do.

allinOver the years, we’ve been fortunate to celebrate tremendous wins and market excitement. Other times, there were roadblocks to overcome.  And similar to the aforementioned poker game, we often had to analyze “the hand” we were dealt, “estimate the odds” of where cloud customers and the market was headed, and position ourselves to maximize chances for success – often trusting our instinct, when available data was incomplete at best.

And, as with many new projects that are in growth phase, our community was often put in a position to re-confirm our commitment to our mission. And our response was resounding and consistent on where we stood….

“All in.”

 

Remaining “All In” with OpenStack

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, it’s critical that we stay committed to the cause of OpenStack and its objective.

There are four key areas of focus for OpenStack, that I hope to advocate, if elected to the board.

  1. OpenStack adoption within the enterprise worldwide.  I am in the camp that very much believes in the private cloud (as well as public cloud), and that the open source and vendor communities need to put more effort and resources into ensuring OpenStack is the optimal private cloud out there, across all industries / geographies / etc.
  2. Designing and positioning OpenStack to address tangible business challenges.  The enterprise customer is not seeking a new technology – they looking for things like ways to make IT management more self service, a means to drive on-demand scalability of infrastructure and PaaS, and a way to operate workloads on-premise, AS WELL AS off-premise.
  3. Addressing the cultural IT changes that need to occur.  As cloud continues to permeate the enterprise IT organization, we need to deliver the right training and certifications to enable existing IT experts to transition to this new means of IT service.  If we can ensure these valuable people have a place in the new archetype, they will be our advocates as well.
  4. Championing the OpenStack operator.  The reality of cloud is not just in the using, but in the operating.  There is a strong contingent of operators within our community, and their role is critical to our success – we need to continue to enable this important function.

I’ve been fortunate to be a part of a number of technology movements in my career, just as they started to make the turn from innovative idea to consistent, reliable IT necessity. And this is why I continue to be excited about the prospect of OpenStack – I’m seeing growth with more customers, more use cases, more production implementations.

And, while there are may be detractors out there, coining catchy and nonsensical “as-a-Service” buzzwords, my position on OpenStack should sound familiar – because it hasn’t changed since Day One.

“All in.”

And, if given the opportunity, I hope to partner with you to get the rest of the world “all in” on OpenStack as well.

Until next time,

JOSEPH
@jbgeorge

Joseph George is the Vice President of Solutions Strategy at SUSE, and is a candidate for OpenStack Board of Directors.  OpenStack Elections take place on the week of January 9, 2017.
Click here to learn more.

 

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OpenStack, Now and Moving Ahead: Lessons from My Own Personal Transformation

December 15, 2016 Leave a comment

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This is a duplicate of a blog I authored for SUSE, originally published at the SUSE Blog Site.

It’s a transformative time for OpenStack.

90lbsAnd I know a thing or two about transformations.

Over the last two and a half years, I’ve managed to lose over 90 pounds.

(Yes, you read that right.)

It was a long and arduous effort, and it is a major personal accomplishment that I take a lot of pride in.

Lessons I’ve Learned

When you go through a major transformation like that, you learn a few things about the process, the journey, and about yourself.

With OpenStack on my mind these days – especially after being nominated for the OpenStack Foundation Board election – I can see correlations between my story and where we need to go with OpenStack.

While there are a number of lessons learned, I’d like to delve into three that are particularly pertinent for our open source cloud project.

1. Clarity on the Goal and the Motivation

It’s a very familiar story for many people.  Over the years, I had gained a little bit of weight here and there as life events occurred – graduated college, first job, moved cities, etc. And I had always told myself (and others), “By the time I turned 40 years old, I will be back to my high school weight.”

The year I was to turn 40, I realized that I was running out of time to make good on my word!

And there it was – my goal and my motivation.

So let’s turn to OpenStack – what is our goal and motivation as a project?

According to wiki.OpenStack.org, the Openstack Mission is “to produce the ubiquitous Open Source Cloud Computing platform that will meet the needs of public and private clouds regardless of size, by being simple to implement and massively scalable. OpenStack is open source, openly designed, openly developed by an open community.”

That’s our goal and motivation

  • meet the needs of public and private clouds
  • no matter the size
  • simple to deploy
  • very scalable
  • open across all parameters

While we exist in a time where it’s very easy to be distracted by every new, shiny item that comes along, we must remember our mission, our goal, our motivation – and stay true to what we set out to accomplish.

2. Staying Focused During the “Middle” of the Journey

When I was on the path to lose 90 pounds, it was very tempting to be satisfied during the middle part of the journey.

After losing 50 pounds, needless to say, I looked and felt dramatically better than I had been before.  Oftentimes, I was congratulated – as if I had reached my destination.

But I had not reached my destination.

While I had made great progress – and there were very tangible results to demonstrate that – I had not yet fully achieved my goal.  And looking back, I am happy that I was not content to stop halfway through. While I had a lot to be proud of at that point, there was much more to be done.

OpenStack has come a long way in its fourteen releases:

  • The phenomenal Newton release focused on scalability, interoperability, and resiliency – things that many potential customers and users have been waiting for.
  • The project has now been validated as 100% compliant by the Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) as part of the Linux Foundation, a major milestone toward the security of OpenStack.
  • Our community now offers the “Certified OpenStack Adminstrator” certification, a staple of datacenter software that much of the enterprise expects, further validating OpenStack for them.

We’ve come a long way.   But there is more to go to achieve our ultimate goal.  Remember our mission: open source cloud, public and private, across all size clouds, massively scalable, and simple to implement.

We are enabling an amazing number of users now, but there is more to do to achieve our goal. While we celebrate our current success, and as more and more customers are being successful with OpenStack in production, we need to keep our eyes on the prize we committed to.

3. Constantly Learning and Adapting

While losing 90 pounds was a major personal accomplishment, it could all have been in vain if I did not learn how to maintain the weight loss once it was achieved.

This meant learning what worked and what didn’t work, as well as adapting to achieve a permanent solution.

Case in point: a part of most weight loss plans is to get plenty of water daily, something I still do to this day. While providing numerous health advantages, it is also a big help with weight loss. However, I found that throughout the day, I would get consumed with daily activities and reach the end of the day without having reached my water requirement goal.

Through some experimentation with tactics – which included setting up reminders on my phone and keeping water with me at all times, among other ideas – I arrived at my personal solution: GET IT DONE EARLY.

I made it a point to get through my water goal at the beginning of the day, before my daily activities began. This way, if I did not remember to drink regularly throughout the day, it was of no consequence since I had already met my daily goal.

We live in a world where open source is getting ever more adopted by more people and open source newbies. From Linux to Hadoop to Ceph to Kubernetes, we are seeing more and more projects find success with a new breed of users.  OpenStack’s role is not to shun these projects as isolationists, but rather understand how OpenStack adapts so that we get maximum attainment of our mission.

This also means that we understand how our project gets “translated” to the bevy of customers who have legitimate challenges to address that OpenStack can help with. It means that we help potential user wade through the cultural IT changes that will be required.

Learning where our market is taking us, as well as adapting to the changing technology landscape, remains crucial for the success of the project.

Room for Optimism

I am personally very optimistic about where OpenStack goes from here. We have come a long way, and have much to be proud of.  But much remains to be done to achieve our goal, so we must be steadfast in our resolve and focus.

And it is a mission that we can certainly accomplish.  I believe in our vision, our project, and our community.

And take it from me – reaching BIG milestones are very, very rewarding.

Until next time,

JOSEPH
@jbgeorge