Q&A with openATTIC Engineering Team Lead
Last week, we announced that SUSE was acquiring the openATTIC project.
So I sat down with Lenz Grimmer — the openATTIC lead — to ask a few questions about the project and what this news means for openATTIC (and SUSE) going forward.
How would you describe openATTIC to someone who’s never heard of it before? Bear in mind that I have a short attention span and can get easily distracted.
Oh look, a squirrel! What was the question again? 🙂
openATTIC started as an open source tool to help you manage a Linux system’s storage resources via a web user interface. It supports the “usual suspects” of storage protocols like NFS/CIFS, iSCSI and Fibre Channel. If your storage requirements exceed the boundaries of a single server, openATTIC can manage multiple instances via single user interface and supports setting up synchronous mirroring of data using DRBD. And if you still need more scalable storage, we started adding support for managing and monitoring the Ceph distributed storage system almost two years ago.
So what do you do with the project?
I joined it-novum in July 2015 as the product manager for openATTIC. Some time later I also assumed the role the development team lead, which created a somewhat schizophrenic situation for me: on the one hand I came up with all these great ideas for features, on the other hand I had to tell myself “no”, to not overload the team 🙂
I also follow the development closely, helping with reviewing pull request, writing documentation or working on packaging or minor coding issues. I try to always keep a tab open on what’s happening in the code base, it helps me to stay “grounded”.
In addition to being responsible for the coordination of the development and improving the overall project structure and processes, I also did a lot of community-related activities, like speaking about openATTIC at conferences, working the mailing list or publishing articles and blog posts.
We’ve introduced a lot of changes over the course of the last year that really helped the project to gather traction.
Where did openATTIC come from? What’s the origin story?
openATTIC was started by Kai Wagner and Michael Ziegler at it-novum in 2011. Like so many open source projects, it started by the need to “scratch an itch” – back then, it-novum was looking for alternatives to replace some aging proprietary storage systems with a cheaper alternative.
And as a stock Linux distribution already provides all the components required to set up a full-featured storage system, the idea was born to create an easy-to-use management frontend on top of this.
Over time, the team grew and more and more features got added, with the Ceph management functionality being the most recent additions. We were very lucky to get into a development cooperation with SUSE to help us with this part – the first milestone of this collaboration will be part of SUSE Enterprise Storage 4.
How do you see the new relationship with SUSE impacting the project?
I summarized my thoughts about that in a blog post on the openATTIC blog already – but
in a nutshell I feel this is a very positive development, both for the team as well as for the project. With SUSE backing the project now, we are able to tap into a much larger pool of resources and support, which will help us to further grow and improve the project and the ecosystem around it.
I’m quite excited about this development and we all look forward to the new challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of us!
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