The OpenStack Blog

OpenStack Global Community: Interviews from OpenStack Days in Italy & Israel

Mariano Cunietti & Martina Casani, Enter IT

We recently had a chance to catch up with OpenStack community members Mariano Cunietti, CTO, and Martina Casani, Marketing Manager, at Enter IT.  Mariano got involved in OpenStack around the Folsom release and first attended the San Diego Summit in October 2012. He helped establish the Italy OpenStack User Group upon return from San Diego, which has since grown to more than 300 participants. They hosted the first OpenStack Day Italy at their offices in Milan, Italy, May 30th.Enter’s office space in Milan is truly unique. As part of the company’s process and culture transformation, and after touring several co-working spaces in the San Francisco / Bay Area, they decided last year to turn their own offices into a co-working space. Mariano explains in the video how co-working spaces are a great representation of cloud infrastructure physically, a true multi-tenant environment with shared infrastructure for the different teams and people they host. What you aren’t able to see in the video is that the office is entirely configurable and made of low-cost materials where possible. All of the desks are on wheels, and even the hanging outlets can be swung along tracks to different locations. They were easily able to clear out a large meeting space where they hosted more than 125 attendees for the OpenStack Day. And more important than the physical setup, the biggest benefit to them has been the exchange of ideas, meeting new and interesting people with which they are now collaborating, for example companies working in security, communications, drones and 3D printers.

Enter is an ISP funded in 1996 with expertise is datacenter services and connectivity. When it came to OpenStack, they were searching for a technology to bring their virtual private server product to market. Mariano says VPS is popular in the Italian market because 95% of companies are small businesses who don’t need large, scale-out architectures. Now with OpenStack, they have a real public cloud, Enter Cloud Suite, and are also actively pursuing hybrid cloud services so users can run OpenStack in house and then scale on the public service as they need. OpenStack is core to Enter’s infrastructure, and they are continuing to build a suite of services around it, such as hadoop, CDN and email.

Mariano says that engaging with the global OpenStack community dramatically changed the way Enter approaches work.  Where they used to wear suits, they are now more casual, and they’ve traded in tools like Microsoft Exchange for new ones. They have changed their internal processes, and are much smarter and more efficient than they were.  According to Mariano, “the idea of team and company is changing. It has not been a painless process, but moving to the cloud is not only a matter of infrastructure. It’s not just how you develop your tools, it’s changing your processes. It’s being more agile and quick. In the next year, the difference between companies adopting cloud compared to the ones who are not adopting cloud will be the difference of surviving and not.  Ttime to market will be so fast, that you need to keep the pace. You choose the pace you want to run to.”

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Nati Shalom, CTO & Founder of GigaSpaces

Nati Shalom, CTO & Founder at GigaSpaces, got involved with OpenStack when the community was just being formed. He has since been instrumental in building the OpenStack user group in Israel, and we caught up with him at the 5th OpenStack Day Israel, June 2nd.  It was the biggest and most successful event the group has hosted yet with more than 500 attendees. The crowd is a mix of major users like LivePerson, technologists from global IT companies with R&D offices in Tel-Aviv and startups who are building web scale applications or products around OpenStack.

Over the past few years, Nati has seen a significant shift in the conversation at these events. Even last year, there were still questions about about whether OpenStack was the right thing. “Is it going to happen? Is it going to be successful? Is it something that I should bet on?” This year he’s seen it tip over to questions like “How do I get started? How do I actually implement things? How do I move faster with OpenStack?” That shift was also evident to him at the latest Summit in Atlanta. People are no longer standing at the fence and looking at how OpenStack is shaping up. They are moving to execution and sharing their user stories and best practices. It reminds Nati of the Java community 10 years ago, where a big, revolutionary shift in technology brings together business people, users and developers in a very collaborative fashion.

In this quick interview, Nati discusses the unique business landscape in Israel with an atmosphere of entrepreneurship. He calls Israel a startup nation. One reason being that Israel is small and there are not many natural resources, so the ability to export ideas and innovation is very important. There is a strong tech startup and R&D community that is always working on the next big thing, so emerging technologies are very well received. OpenStack plays well into the scene, and we met many Israeli companies like GigaSpaces, Mellanox, LivePerson and Cloudyn that are actively involved in the community.

One thing that Nati values highly is the transparency and availability of information from the community. We did not discuss it in this video, but during his presentation at the event, Nati talked about the differences between working in an open source community and with a proprietary software platform in terms of transparency and ability to influence the roadmap. He gave an example of the user survey conducted by the user committee every six months, the results of which are shared broadly with our technical community and ecosystem. The ability to have real data and insight into user adoption and tools being used has a huge impact on his product strategy. Proprietary vendors might push their partners in one direction based on their roadmap and plans, but they rarely expose the raw data required to make your own analysis.

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