The OpenStack Blog

Author Archive

Open Mic Spotlight: Paul Michali

This post is part of the OpenStack Open Mic series to spotlight the people who have helped make OpenStack successful. Each week, a new contributor will step up to the mic and answer five questions about OpenStack, cloud, careers and what they do for fun. 

Paul Michali is a Technical Lead onPaulMichaliHeadshot the OpenStack team at Cisco. Although new to OpenStack (started in 2013), Paul has been a software developer for over 30 years working at various companies and industries. His current focus is on VPNaaS, and he has been trying to drink from the fire hose for all things Neutron. An empty-nester, he lives in New Hampshire, USA, with his wife and pets. Outside of work, Paul enjoys photography, playing soccer and volleyball, watching sci-fi and action movies on his home theater, and playing on the skid pad with his BMW. Follow him on Twitter @pmichali

1. Where is your happy place? Favorite place to visit, vacation, decompress? 

One of the special places I go to (except for in the winter), is a small beach about an hour away from home. I take my dog early in the morning and he runs up and down the beach, retrieves (usually) balls and sticks I throw into the ocean, and gives both of us a good workout. Being a morning person, it’s nice to get out and watch the sunrise in a quiet and scenic place.

2. What publications, blogs, mailing lists, etc. do you read every day?

Besides reading the OpenStack developer mailing list (well, ok, maybe I just browse it :) ), I like browsing through StackExchange areas StackOverflow, Super User, Ask Ubuntu, Ask Different (Mac), Programmers, Unix & Linux, and Photography on a daily basis. For leisure reading, I try to get some news and info via Twitter feeds, and I visit Lifehacker.com daily.

3. What behavior has helped get you the furthest as a developer?

Probably the best thing that helps me grow as a developer, is the desire to constantly learn new things. I try to read a technical book every month or two, am constantly seeking new techniques, methods, and processes that I can apply, and help people as much as I can. I’m frequently humbled by how much one can learn by reviewing other peoples’ code, and by explaining things to others. It helps solidify one’s knowledge and tests past assumptions and learning.

4. How did you learn to code? Are you self-taught or did you learn in college? On-the-job?

A mixture. Initially, I was self taught. When we got an ASR-33 Teletype connected to a school computer (don’t ask how long ago that was) in high school, I started writing small BASIC programs during free time. The infection took hold, and by the time I was a senior in high school, I had a part time job, at the first personal computer store in my home town, selling computers and writing small custom business apps for small companies in the area.

By then, I clearly knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, and couldn’t wait to get my own pocket protector (yes, I did get one in my first “real” job). I went to college and learned a ton, filling my head with several languages. From there, I started working, and pretty much in each job I’ve had to learn a new language: microcode, Pascal, C, Java, Perl, and for OpenStack, Python.

5. How did you first get involved in OpenStack?

At the very end of 2012, the whole group I was in had completed a major project and had handed off the reins to another development team. As a next assignment, we were offered two different projects, one of them joining the OpenStack team, of which there was a very limited number of openings. It would be a leap of faith for me, to work in a new area (cloud computing), with a new language (Python), using a new process (open source/community based), and as part of another organization in the company.

I had toyed with Python a bit before, writing some tool scripts, and was intrigued by the language. The thought that I could move away from a more traditional development process using C, and into a much more iterative and incremental process with Python, encouraged me to jump at the opportunity and I haven’t looked back since. It’s been the happiest time for me in my career.

Open Mic Spotlight: Chang Bo Guo

IMG_ChangBoGuoThis post is part of the OpenStack Open Mic series to spotlight the people who have helped make OpenStack successful. Each week, a new contributor will step up to the mic and answer five questions about OpenStack, cloud, careers and what they do for fun. 

Chang Bo is an OpenStacker on IBM’s CSTL cloud team. He has been working on the OpenStack project since October of 2012, with the first batch of OpenStackers from the team in BJ. His first OpenStack contribution can be traced back to 2012, when he worked on the PowerVM driver under Nova to support IBM Power Systems. Now, he mainly focuses on OpenStack Oslo and Nova, and his wish is to work worldwide with top engineers to build the most efficient and high quality common library for OpenStack’s success— Kernel of the Cloud! Find his ‘gpthread’ at http://weibo.com/u/3977991006 or find him on LinkedIn here

1. What publications, blogs, mailing lists, etc do you read every day?

The openstack-dev is the mailing list I must read every day. It is like morning coffee to me, with which I can follow community trends. Another important web site that I read every day is http://www.openstack.cn/. It’s OpenStack China’s technical community. They report on the latest news from OpenStack’s China-based companies as well as technical sharings.

2. If you couldn’t be a developer, what would your dream job be?

I planned to be a physicist when I was young. Physics show the rules of nature, and every new discovery will improve our view of the world. I always got the highest physics score in my high school :).

3. What behavior has helped get you the furthest as a developer?

Always reading code and practicing in a real environment. We learn too much knowledge about how the operating system is running and how to program in different languages. These are just keys to the treasure, and hands on experience makes me feel close to the truth. For instance, I wrote code snippets to verify the wrong usage of sqlalchemy — the code is small but enough to show the truth.

4. What is your favorite project that you’ve contributed code to?

Oslo, the common library for all OpenStack projects. It is very important and useful for each project. We need to guarantee the quality of code to make it work well. I still remember when my first patch for Oslo was merged after a long term review. In this project, we have Python experts and domain experts. New common ideas are raised here, and to review them, I have to dig into Python standard and third party libraries and learn domain knowledge that will help me grow quickly.

5. What do you think is the coolest thing that’s happened with OpenStack over the past three years?

We seem to have finally found a direction that most people believe to build an open cloud ecosystem, and more and more companies and people join the community. I was surprised by this fact, and my friend one day told me that his company had been training them with OpenStack. From my view, his company’s business is far from cloud. The rapid spread of OpenStack makes us more close with the cloud.

Open Mic Spotlight: Tatiana Mazur

tatiana_pictureThis post is part of the OpenStack Open Mic series to spotlight the people who have helped make OpenStack successful. Each week, a new contributor will step up to the mic and answer five questions about OpenStack, cloud, careers and what they do for fun. 

Tatiana Ovchinnikova (nee Mazur) was a mathematician fond of coding. One day she got bored, and turned into a coder fond of maths. She has focused her efforts on Horizon, the OpenStack web dashboard, and now she is a member of the core team. She hopes that she will make Horizon even better than it already is.

1. What do you think OpenStack will be used for in 20 years, 50 years? 

In 20 years OpenStack will be used to power every device, big or small, from cell phones to microwave ovens. Just because it will be so perfect and lightweight that everyone will want to use it. As for 50 years, I believe that at some point before that OpenStack will contact us to discuss our future collaboration.

2. How did you learn to code? Are you self-taught or did you learn in college? On-the-job?

I’m a proud self-taught. All has begun with programs to help with everyday activity: for counting Star Date, for EEG processing and visualisation and other small and fun projects. Later I realized that there are a lot of complex problems yet to be solved and there is a plenty of room beyond small hobby programs to apply good coding skills.

3. Define what “open source” means to you.

Open source is an endless library of good and bad examples of coding styles, manners of thinking and communicating ideas. It’s up to you only which way and side to choose, when and how to develop your expertise. Also it is a huge collection of extremely useful and easily customizable tools for everyday work.

4. If you couldn’t be a developer, what would your dream job be?

That is a tough question. I can come up with several dream jobs and it is not so easy to pick one. First of all, I could be an interpreter, this time not from human language to code, but for example from French to Klingon or to Toki Pona. Or to depart from interpretation completely and be a monk in Tiger Temple (tigers are awesome).

5. Vulcan or Romulan?

Kling akhlami buhfik.

Open Mic Spotlight: James Slagle

slagleOpenMicThis post is part of the OpenStack Open Mic series to spotlight the people who have helped make OpenStack successful. Each week, a new contributor will step up to the mic and answer five questions about OpenStack, cloud, careers and what they do for fun. 

James Slagle lives in Boone, NC with his wife and 7 month old son. He enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, trail running, camping, and canoeing. He’s a Senior Software Engineer at Red Hat where he works primarily on the TripleO project for OpenStack. Follow him on twitter @slagle

1. Where is your happy place? Favorite place to visit, vacation, decompress?

The mountains of NC. We were lucky enough to be able to move there a couple years ago. The scenery, outdoor activities, colder climate, and rural area are just a few of the reasons we like it here. Some might say don’t move to where you like to vacation, because then it won’t be special anymore. But, we still feel like we’re on vacation every time we come home. Plus, I’m fortunate enough to be able to work from home. The view out of my office beats a parking lot any day.

2. If you couldn’t be a developer, what would your dream job be?

Can I only pick one dream job? :) I’d like to own my beer brewery someday. I enjoy spending time and working outdoors, so maybe a forest ranger. I like building things with my hands too, so maybe a wood worker. I also wouldn’t mind if my only job was to be a professional runner, so I could train competitively for the marathon or longer trail races. The good news is that, on a smaller scale, all of those jobs are my everyday hobbies. And, I love being a developer too, so in a lot of ways I already have my dream job.

3. What behavior has helped get you the furthest as a developer?

I think being fairly self-sufficient and not being afraid to dive into the code to figure out how something works or how to fix a bug. That is one of the main reasons that attracted me to open source software to begin with. Going right along with that is having the knowledge to know when the right time is to ask for help, so that you don’t get stuck or in way over your head.

4. What do you think is the coolest thing that’s happened with OpenStack over the past three years?

It’s growth and sustained momentum. As more people and companies contribute and remain participants, they’re learning for themselves what Openstack is and has to offer. That’s helping OpenStack to stand on its own merits since it’s the contributors and users who are helping spread the word. That reputation attracts even more new growth. The ease with which you can have an impact in the community, and learn for yourself what you can do with OpenStack, is much more valuable than simply reading someone else’s opinion on the matter.

5. How did you first get involved in OpenStack? 

I believe it was a patch to Horizon or Keystone, I can’t remember. I found that an easy way to get involved was to set up a development environment and find something you don’t like, a bug, or something you think can be improved. From there, I looked for a few bugs to fix on Launchpad. Once I had dabbled in OpenStack a bit, I knew it was something I wanted to work on full time.

Open Mic Spotlight: Jay Lau

JayThis post is part of the OpenStack Open Mic series to spotlight the people who have helped make OpenStack successful. Each week, a new contributor will step up to the mic and answer five questions about OpenStack, cloud, careers and what they do for fun. 

Jay Lau (Guang Ya Liu) is an Advisory Software Engineer at IBM CSTL. He is the Technical Leader of the IBM Platform Resource Scheduler project. He has 5+ years of experience in large scale distributed system, SOA and Cloud Computing. He joined the OpenStack community in 2013. Now, he mainly focus on OpenStack compute, storage and application management. You can follow him on Twitter at @jaylau513.

 

1. What behavior has helped get you the furthest as a developer?

I want to say it is interest and passion. OpenStack is really an amazing project and it makes me want to work for it anywhere, at any time, with any device that can access Gerrit ;-)

2. What is your favorite project that you’ve contributed code to?

Hmm, may I say I love all projects? ;-) To be honest, my current focus is nova, but also extending to cinder and heat.

3. How did you learn to code? Are you self-taught or did you learn in college? On-the-job?

If I want to lean code for a product, I will first get familiar with the key features of the product, and then think how the code will be written and then start to read and debug code. For OpenStack, you also need strong system technologies if you want to understand the code.

4. How did you first get involved in OpenStack?

When I first get involved in OpenStack for some research work in 2011, I set up a demo environment with StackOps and found that scheduler is very simple and weak in OpenStack. My company has a very good product named PRS (Platform Resource Scheduler) which is very good at resource scheduling. Hmm, you know how I start my journey on OpenStack then.

5. Define what “open source” means to you.

IMHO, “open source” means contribution and collaboration. Worldwide engineers from different companies collaborate together to contribute to create the best software. As a software engineer, “open source” can make us grow quickly in community.

Open Mic Spotlight: Morgan Fainberg

UnknownThis post is part of the OpenStack Open Mic series to spotlight the people who have helped make OpenStack successful. Each week, a new contributor will step up to the mic and answer five questions about OpenStack, cloud, careers and what they do for fun. 

Morgan Fainberg is a Principal Software Engineer at Metacloud.  He has worked on a number of high-profile and large-scale properties across a number of industries (everything from Social Media, to Web Hosting, to Video Games).  He currently spends most of his time working on Keystone and is a member of the Keystone Core team. You can follow him on Twitter at @mdrnstm or read his blog here

1. What is your go-to beverage or snack while coding? 

Do you mean I must make a definitive choice between coffee, espresso, and tea (there is a big difference between espresso and coffee!)?  I guess it all depends on the type of code I’m writing.  If I happen to find myself writing new features, I think a pour-over of a dark, heavy, oily coffee (even better a French press) is the drink of the day.  When it comes to refactoring code (especially those refactors that seem to be made of edge cases upon edge cases and rabbit holes), a perfectly pulled shot of espresso followed by an Italian-style cappuccino.  For anything that is more research oriented, tea is the drink of choice.  Sometimes I can’t believe how much time I spend thinking about the consumption of caffeine.

2. Where’s your favorite place to code? In the office, at a local coffee shop? In bed?

Based upon my “go-to” beverage answer, I am sure you can guess my favorite place to write code is the local coffee shop.  I definitely prefer the shops that roast their own beans, have specialty pastry items, and are generally more of the “local” scene than the big corporate shops.  A close second would be sitting in front of 12,556,800 pixels at my desk.

3. What do you think is the coolest thing that’s happened with OpenStack over the past three years?

The coolest happening in OpenStack is the interest and adoption that has occurred.  There are few pieces of software (or any form engineering) that really meet the needs of such a varied audience.  It’s very cool to see the big players, the small players, the independents, the public cloud providers, the private cloud deployers, and everyone else involved come together in a friendly a professional way to develop something amazing.

4. Define what “open source” means to you.

Open Source is more than just a licensing view (like some people or companies would like to think).  It’s a philosophy of sharing and community.  The idea is to not only develop something fun and awesome, but to collaborate (especially in the case of OpenStack) across company lines and create a network of like-minded individuals.  It fascinates me to see what the Open Source communities (software developers, artists, even musicians) can accomplish together.  If the Open Source community members did not come from many different backgrounds much of the “ground breaking” work may not have surfaced as quickly (or at all).  Perhaps it is best to equate Open Source as a lifestyle above and beyond anything else.

5. What behavior has helped get you the furthest as a developer?

I like to jump into projects at the deep-end.  I have, historically, stuck my nose into projects that no one else wanted to look at due to difficulty or complexity (especially in corporate environments).  This behavior has made it easier to dig into the core of any challenge and come up with solutions to interesting issues and problems.  At the very least I have been exposed to a wide variety of technologies and development philosophies.  It all boils down to wanting learn something new each time I sit down to write code.

OpenMic Spotlight: Sergey Lukjanov

SergeyThis post is part of the OpenStack Open Mic series to spotlight the people who have helped make OpenStack successful. Each week, a new contributor will step up to the mic and answer five questions about OpenStack, cloud, careers and what they do for fun. 

Sergey Lukjanov is a Senior Software Engineer at Mirantis. He’s the Project Technical Leader of Savanna project and he focuses on Savanna, Infra and Oslo initiatives. Sergey is experienced in Big Data projects and technologies (Hadoop, HDFS, Cassandra, Twitter Storm, etc.) and enterprise-grade solutions. He’s contributing to different open source projects now, including Twitter Storm and OpenStack. Follow him on Twitter at @lukjanovsv

1. What do you think is the coolest thing that’s happened with OpenStack over the past three years?

I think that it’s an enormous growth of both community and adoption. You can now see folks from totally different companies contributing to and using OpenStack.

2. How did you learn to code? Are you self-taught or did you learn in college? On-the-job? 

That’s my initiative — to start coding and take part in different programmer-specific things. :) Unfortunately, there were not very helpful lessons in college. There was some kind of real wish to understand what it’s all about — and this wish is still with me. It’s so amazing to find solutions for problems that you couldn’t even think about yesterday, and to imagine what interesting tasks you’ll face tomorrow.

3. Where’s your favorite place to code? In the office, at a local coffee shop? In bed? 

It depends, really. I always do a lot in the office, but there are many activities not connected with programming there like meetings, Launchpad, Gerrit things and so on. So, if we’re speaking about coding itself, I love doing that at home — usually with some coffee and cookies.

4. How did you first get involved in OpenStack?

OpenStack is our company’s main vector of development and future, so even when I was not completely involved in OpenStack projects, I spent time learning and understanding how it works. At that time, I was taking part in different Big Data initiatives including Twitter Storm, and I continued working on it as a part of the OpenStack ecosystem. I started working on OpenStack during early 2012. Creating an OpenStack cloud future is a big challenge for me, and I really appreciate that I have this opportunity.

5. Be honest – are you more likely to know your project collaborators by their IRC nic or their actual name?

Of course, by their real names. IRC nics are better than nothing, sure, but I’d like to know all of the guys I’m working with by their actual names, and see them in real life — not only on IRC meetings and calls. I know almost every Savanna contributor personally, and I believe that these simple human relationship are still really important to do the most effective job. On the other side, IRC nics are very useful for setting up auto highlights. ;)

Open Mic Spotlight: Sean M. Collins

seancollinsThis post is part of the OpenStack Open Mic series to spotlight the people who have helped make OpenStack successful. Each week, a new contributor will step up to the mic and answer five questions about OpenStack, cloud, careers and what they do for fun. 

Sean is a developer at Comcast working on OpenStack. He is 26 years old, and lives in South Philadelphia with his partner, Caroline. You can follow him on Twitter @sc68cal.

1. What are the essentials for someone just getting started with OpenStack? Sites? Books? Conferences? People?

Devstack. The fact that you can clone a git repository, execute a shell script, and get a fully built OpenStack install on your personal machine to start hacking makes a huge difference.

2. What was your first commit or contribution and why did you make it?

My first contribution of substance was to add better hooks into the Security Group API events in Nova-Network. I was working on a way to take Security Group API calls from OpenStack for something like allowing port 80 open for a web server, to also have those requests propagate into other internal systems inside Comcast. This way, firewalls upstream would honor the request to allow port 80 through.

3. What other OpenStack developers deserve a shout out for the work they’re doing in the community? Who are our unsung heroes? Your own? 

For me personally, the community around Neutron has been a big help. People like Aaron Rosen, Nachi Ueno, Mark McClain, and Kyle Mestery have helped me whenever I’ve gotten stuck or had a question.

4. Are there any skills that you think are critical for OpenStack developers in the next 5 years? What specialties will be most useful? Valuable?

I’d say the most important skill is an open mind. OpenStack has a huge userbase, and thousands of different use-cases. You need to remember that not everyone is going to be using OpenStack the way you do, and that’s OK! The community and the codebase is flexible enough that everyone should be able to get what they want out of it. It doesn’t have to be a winner-take-all proposition.

5. What do you think are the benefits of the open, community-driven approach to development?

More things can get done in shorter periods of time. Just look at the amount of features that each release of OpenStack has added. It’s incredible.

Open Mic Spotlight: Sean Chen

sean_openmicThis post is part of the OpenStack Open Mic series to spotlight the people who have helped make OpenStack successful. Each week, a new contributor will step up to the mic and answer five questions about OpenStack, cloud, careers and what they do for fun. 

Sean worked at VMware, where his last project was hybrid cloud service. He is currently working on a converged storage project at a small startup. He lives near Stanford, California. You can follow him on Twitter @opencomp

1. Where is your happy place? Favorite place to visit, vacation, decompress?

I visited Banff National Park with my kids and family this past summer. Emerald Lake, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake were breathtakingly beautiful.

2. What is your go-to beverage or snack while coding?

Chocolate, intense dark. Mochi green tea ice cream. Pearl (Boba) milk tea.

3.  Have you organized an OpenStack meet-up/event or spoken about OpenStack at an event? What did you learn? What was the best part?

I talked about how to manage VMware ESX and Virtual Center with OpenStack at the 2012 Summit. The best part was that it made OpenStackers aware of VMware’s plans with OpenStack and the software defined data center, as well as VMware’s efforts around expanding Nicira’s contributions to Quantum and Open vSwitch.

4. Why did you decide to go into computer engineering?

Apple IIe, which made me immensely happy, and got me interested in computing.

5. How did you first get involved in OpenStack?

I was doing research on open source cloud initiatives and decided to improve VMware Compute Driver in OpenStack and bring many key features to the community.

Open Mic Spotlight: Ionuț Arțăriși

Ionut

This post is part of the OpenStack Open Mic series to spotlight the people who have helped make OpenStack successful. Each week, a new contributor will step up to the mic and answer five questions about OpenStack, cloud, careers and what they do for fun. 

Ionuț Arțăriși is a senior software engineer at SUSE. You can reach him at https://github.com/mapleoin

 

1. How did you first get involved in OpenStack?

I first became involved when I joined the SUSE Cloud team. I started working on fixing test failures from our CI infrastructure. It was mostly small fixes for things that broke on SUSE due to package version incompatibilities or backports of fixes we found useful.

By the way, you can see our openSUSE Cloud jenkins jobs here:

http://ci.opensuse.org/view/OpenStack/

And here’s a nice matrix of all the unittest jobs:

http://ci.opensuse.org/view/Cloud/job/openstack-unittest/

And the packages are in the Open Build Service:

https://build.opensuse.org/project/show?project=Cloud%3AOpenStack

 

2. What publications, blogs, mailing lists, etc do you read every day?

I read quite a few mailing lists, though there can be too much traffic to keep track of sometimes. Specifically, I like the usual OpenStack, Openstack-dev and Opensuse-cloud mailing lists. I’ve been doing some work on OpenStack Chef cookbooks lately, so I’m also reading the chef-openstack list and the chef and chef-dev lists from opscode.

These are the main ones right now. There are also those of past projects I’ve been involved with, internal mailing lists and other stuff that I occasionally find interesting, like opensuse-packaging.

I also read HackerNews (http://news.ycombinator.org/) a lot. I think it’s been my go-to website for interesting news for more than five years now. It has OpenStack news as well, too from time to time :).

 

3. What do you think is the coolest thing that’s happened with OpenStack over the past three years?

I think the coolest thing has been the wide adoption and the speed with which the community has grown. It feels like the rate of growth has been constantly accelerating on the traditional OpenStack projects (nova, keystone etc.), but also with a lot of new initiatives popping up and quickly gaining a lot of traction (cinder, heat etc.). It’s really amazing to look at such a big community and think that it’s only three years old. I recommend http://www.stackalytics.com/ for some really interesting statistics – there are around 1600 people contributing from around 150 companies. In a way, it’s also surprising that the growth seems to be sustainable.

It’s still fairly easy to contribute a commit as a newcomer. There is a lot of good documentation on setting up a development environment and contributing a patch and it’s all pretty sane, especially compared to other projects of this size. There is a lot of infrastructure working in the background to make this easy and a lot of people doing a good job working on that and on documentation.

 

4. Define what “open source” means to you.

I think it’s the best way to develop software. Being able to collaborate on a project with virtually anyone in the world makes a huge difference.

Projects like OpenStack have proven that it’s possible for big companies competing against each other to collaborate on the same project, even though in the end each has its own product. This makes a lot of sense because we’re all basically solving the same problem. With closed source software, each company would have to come up with its own solution, different from the others and this wastes a lot of resources compared to having everyone work on the same base project. As a developer, it’s also great to be able to work together with some of the best minds in the world, across country and company borders.

 

5. Where’s your favorite place to code? In the office, at a local coffee shop? In bed?

I mostly code from the office and sometimes from my standing desk at home. But I do remember an especially nice coding place. I spent a couple of days coding at a friend’s house in the Hungarian countryside.

There was a really nice patio in the garden with an old wooden table and wooden bench. The weather was warm, there was natural light, fresh air and even some butterflies. What more could you ask for?

Back to top