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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

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Highlights from OpenStack Summit Barcelona

October 31, 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.

What a great week at the OpenStack Summit this past week in Barcelona! Fantastic keynotes, great sessions, and excellent hallway conversations.  It was great to meet a number of new Stackers as well as rekindle old friendships from back when OpenStack kicked off in 2010.

A few items of note from my perspective:

OpenStack Foundation Board of Directors Meeting

OpenStack Board In Session

As I mentioned in my last blog, it is the right of every OpenStack member to attend / listen in on each board meeting that the OpenStack Foundation Board of Directors holds.  I made sure to head out on Monday and attend most of the day.  There was a packed agenda so here a few highlights:

  • Interesting discussion around the User Committee project that board member Edgar Magana is working toward, with discussion on its composition, whether members should be elected, and if bylaw changes are warranted.  It was a deep topic that required further time, so the topic was deferred to a later discussion with work to be done to map out the details. This is an important endeavor for the community in my opinion – I will be keeping an eye on how this progresses.
  • A number of strong presentations by prospective gold members were delivered as they made their cases to be added to that tier. I was especially happy to see a number of Chinese companies presenting and making their case.  China is a fantastic growth opportunity for the OpenStack projecct, and it was encouraging to see players in that market discuss all they are doing for OpenStack in the region.  Ultimately, we saw City Network, Deutsche Telekom, 99Cloud and China Mobile all get voted in as Gold members.
  • Lauren Sell (VP of Marketing for the Foundation) spoke on a visionary model to where her team is investigating how our community can engage with other projects in terms of user events and conferences.  Kubernetes, Ceph, and other projects were named as examples.  This is a great indicator of how we’ve evolved, as it highlights that often multiple projects are needed to address actual business challenges.  A strong indicator of maturity for the community.

Two Major SUSE OpenStack Announcements

SUSE advancements in enterprise ready OpenStack made its way to the Summit in a big way this week.

  1. SUSE OpenStack Cloud 7:  While we are very proud to be one of the first vendors to provide an enterprise-grade Newton based OpenStack distribution, this release also offers features like new Container-as-a-Service capabilities and non-disruptive upgrade capabilities.

    Wait, non-disruptive upgrade?  As in, no downtime?  And no service interruptions?

    That’s right – disruption to service is a big no-no in the enterprise IT world, and now SUSE OpenStack Cloud 7 provides you the direct ability to stay live during OpenStack upgrade.

  2. Even more reason to become a COA.  All the buzz around the Foundation’s “Certified OpenStack Administrator” exam got even better this week when SUSE announced that the exam would now feature the SUSE platform as an option.

    And BIG bonus win – if you pass the COA using the SUSE platform, you will be granted

    1. the Foundation’s COA certification
    2. SUSE Certified Administrator in OpenStack Cloud certificatio

That’s two certifications with one exam.  (Be sure to specify the SUSE platform when taking the exam to take advantage of this option.)

There’s much more to these critical announcements so take a deeper look into them with these blogs by Pete Chadwick and Mark Smith.  Worth a read.

 Further Enabling the Enterprise

As you know, enterprise adoption of OpenStack is a major passion of mine – I’ve captured a couple more signs I saw this week of OpenStack continuing to head in the right direction.

  • Progress in Security. On stage this week, OpenStack was awarded the CII, the Core Infrastructure Initiative Best Practices badge.  The CII is a project out of the Linux Foundation project that validates open source projects, specific for security, quality and stability. By winning this award, OpenStack is now validated by a trusted third party and is 100% compliant.  Security FTW!
  • Workload-based Sample Configs.  This stable of assets has been building for some time, but OpenStack.org now boasts a number of reference architectures addressing some of the most critical workloads.  From web apps to HPC to video processing and more, there are great resources on how to get optimize OpenStack for these workloads.  (Being a big data fan, I was particularly happy with the big data resources here.)

I’d be interested in hearing what you saw as highlights as well – feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section.

OK, time to get home, get rested – and do this all over again in 6 months in Boston.

(If you missed the event this time, OpenStack.org has you covered – start here to check out a number of videos from the event, and go from there.)

Until next time,

JOSEPH
@jbgeorge

 

Boston in 2017!

This Week: OpenStack Summit Barcelona!

October 26, 2016 Leave a comment

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

In a few days, Stackers will congregate in beautiful Barcelona, Spain to kick off the bi-annual OpenStack Summit and User Conference, the 14th of its kind.

On the heels of the recent OpenStack Newton launch, we will see a wide variety of people, backgrounds, industries, and skill sets represented, all focused on learning about, sharing best practices on, and working on the future of OpenStack.

There are many great sessions, workshops, and evening events happening at the summit this coming week, but three in particular that I want to highlight.

OpenStack Board of Directors Meeting

Did you know that, since OpenStack is an open community, the OpenStack Foundation board meeting is open for members to attend and listen in to the discussion? It’s great for members to have this level of access , so take advantage of the openness built into the OpenStack community, and take a listen.

While there are some portions of the meeting that will be a closed session (rightly so), most of the meeting you’ll hear about progress in specific initiatives, comments on new members to the community, and hear back on future directions.

It’s a great experience that more of our members need to participate in, so I highly recommend it to members. You can check out the planned agenda and WebEx details here.

 

OpenStack Ops Meetup

I mentioned the OpenStack operator community in my last blog (“Renewing Focus on Bringing OpenStack to the Masses”), and how I feel strongly about championing the cause of the operators out there.

While many of us are focused on code design, quality, new projects, etc, the operators are tasked with implementing Openstack.  This involves the day-to-day effort of running OpenStack clouds, which include readying IT environments for OpenStack deployments, first hand implementation of the project, the ongoing maintenance and upgrade aspects of the cluster, and being driven by a specific business goal they will be measured by.

At this Summit, the Operators will be hosting an Ops Meetup to get into the meat of OpenStack Ops. Now this stands to be an intense, down-in-the weeds discussion – not for the faint of heart! 🙂  So if you are among the many tasked with getting OpenStack operational in your environment, head on over and get to know your peers in this space, swap stories of what works well, share best practices, and make connections you can stay in touch with for years to come.

Learn more about the Ops Meetup here.

Certified OpenStack Administrator (COA)

Are you aware that you can now be CERTIFIED as an OpenStack Admin?

The COA is an exam you can take to prove your ability to solve problems using both command line and graphical interfaces OpenStack, demonstrating that you have mastered a number of skills required to operate the solution.

At OpenStack Summit, there are a few COA activities occurring that you should be aware of:

  • COA 101. Anne Bertucio and Heidi Bretz of the OpenStack Foundation will be hosting a 30min beginner-level session on the topic of COA, touching on the why / what / how relating to the COA exam.  (More info here.)
  • COA booth. The Foundation Lounge at the Summit will feature an area dedicated to learning more about the COA.  A variety of OpenStack community volunteers will be pitching in to answer questions, find trainings, and even sign up for the COA.  I plan on helping out on Wednesday right after the morning keynotes, so stop by and let’s chat COA.
  • COA exams.  If you’re ready now to take the exam, head on over to https://www.openstack.org/coa/ and get the details on when you can take the exam.  The world needs Certified OpenStack Admins!

(PS – If you need help with some prep, SUSE’s happy to help there – click here to get details on COA training from SUSE.)

I’m looking forward to a great week of re-connecting with a number of you I haven’t seen in some time, so if you’re out at Barcelona, look me up – I’d love to hear what OpenStack project you’re working on, or learn about how you are implementing OpenStack, or where I can help with places OpenStack can further help you in your business objectives.

See you in Barcelona!

JOSEPH
@jbgeorge