OpenStack, Now and Moving Ahead: Lessons from My Own Personal Transformation
It’s a transformative time for OpenStack.
And 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,