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Individual Member Profile


Jesse Proudman

Date Joined
August 17, 2013

Blue Box Group, Inc. From 2003-08-01 (Current)
Statement of Interest

Integrate and contribute back to community upstream as part of a Private Cloud product suite.


I have had a passion for Internet infrastructure since the age of 13, specifically for the infrastructure “plumbing” that powers the Internet. Over the past 17 years, I’ve had the privilege of participating in almost every facet of infrastructure operations. Moving from systems administration and operations to software development, and then from CEO to CTO, I’ve been in the fortunate position of being able to manifest my passion into day-to-day execution.

In 2006, Blue Box launched a public cloud powered by containers. Building the company based on that technology offering, I was able to watch the meteoric rise of OpenStack and to become engrossed with the power of the ecosystem. I began to closely watch OpenStack in 2011 and became an avid fan shortly thereafter. As the CTO of Blue Box, an OpenStack based Private Cloud as a Service company; I’m presently focused on bringing the power of OpenStack into the hands of the masses and on eliminating as much of the operational burden commonly associated with the offering as possible.

I am a voice of the OpenStack Operator as an active blogger, through my interactions with the press and analyst community, and in my speaking engagements at a wide range of events.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing additional thoughts on what I would like to accomplish as a board member here: http://go.bluebox.net/openstack-board



I'm involved in the following OpenStack projects: Deployment


Jesse is a candidate in the 2015 Board Election .


What is your relationship to OpenStack, and why is its success important to you? What would you say is your biggest contribution to OpenStack's success to date?


After four years of incredible community effort, OpenStack has become the defacto standard for open source clouds. This is a monumental achievement: OpenStack represents the cumulative effort of thousands of engineers and hundreds of organizations united together to make available the power of an open cloud infrastructure to the masses. Even so, making it to the top doesn’t guarantee long-term success. The domain and scope of what OpenStack is trying to accomplish is enormous, and the challenges ahead weighty.

As we look at the future of cloud services, I believe there will be one private cloud API, and I want that to be OpenStack. 

As CTO at Blue Box, I’ve helped facilitate an organizational commitment to ensure 100% open source alignment with OpenStack. Our OpenStack codebase (Ursula) is open source and available on GitHub. We’ve allocated budget to maintain 2 active project technical leads (David Lenwell on RefStack and Stephen Balukoff on Octavia LBaaS) and contribute engineering resources to both efforts.

I have also helped revive and host the OpenStack Seattle meetup group, increasing average attendance from 5 to more than 50.

I have been and continue to be an energetic advocate for the power of OpenStack in the hands of today’s enterprises, as well as those who don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on building OpenStack clouds themselves. I am a consistent voice of the operator and was recognized for these efforts as an OpenStack Super User at the Atlanta Summit. I am a trusted source on OpenStack adoption and operations for both the journalist and analyst community.


Describe your experience with other non profits or serving as a board member. How does your experience prepare you for the role of a board member?


In addition to my role as a member of the Blue Box board, I devote time to mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs and technologists at the University of Washington Beurk School of Entrepreneurship, 9 Mile Labs B2B Accelerator and the Business Leadership Program at the University of Puget Sound. I am also actively involved in the University of Washington’s Business Plan Competition as a judge and mentor, and guest lecturer for the participating students.

I believe these experiences, coupled with my experience as a CEO and sitting on the board of Blue Box have me well suited to understand the challenges ahead.


What do you see as the Board's role in OpenStack's success?


Very simply: Vision and Governance

The OpenStack board has two primary roles. Paint a picture of what OpenStack should be, and help govern what has become a massive open source organization to help get the ecosystem collectively marching towards that vision. But the board isn’t the end all, be all governing body. By setting proper vision and aligning the technical committee around a common goal, the board can ensure the technical committee is entrusted to make technical operating decisions about the OpenStack ecosystem.

I also strongly believe that four years in, the board and the foundation can get more active in the management of OpenStack as a product. I am aligned with the product management approach as advanced by Randy Bias and others, and appreciate the efforts that he and Rob Hirschfeld have put into getting that initiative moved forward. I support a plan of formalizing product management and supporting it with the full financial weight of the foundation. 

Ultimately, each elected board member should focus on leaving OpenStack in a better place than when they were elected. I would like to help make that a reality.


What do you think the top priority of the Board should be in 2014?


I believe OpenStack has a vision problem that has manifested itself into a lack of focus. I see the key priority of the board to preserve our community’s focus and mitigate distractions. The importance of ensuring and maintaining an opinionated set of core services with an emphasis on interoperability can’t be understated. The fine line between blessing high-value projects (and their associated code) and providing API standards oversight is one that the board must successfully walk.

The message from Enterprise users and operators at the OpenStack Summit in Paris came through loud and clear, "OpenStack needs stability more than it needs new features." The board needs to contain sprawl, focus on stability, and define a clear vision.

If elected as a board member, I will have focus specifically on:

1. Refining the board’s vision for OpenStack in light of the project’s meteoric growth and ongoing evolution. Put a focus on becoming the default interoperable private cloud technology stack and support a breadth and diversity in OpenStack’s service catalogue.

2. Completing the definition of OpenStack core, and building a framework to support a defined core and competitive periphery.

3. Implement a cohesive product management strategy that preserves the voices of developers, operators and end users and helps execute against the board’s defined vision.

4. Integrate the voice of the operator into board discussions. OpenStack’s largest hurdle in adoption is the difficulty of operations after initial implementation. As a board, we should be widely aware of this challenge, and factor that perspective more broadly into decisions.

Four years in, I believe the Board can benefit from a fresh perspective from an OpenStack operator who is anxious to broaden its reach and drive continued innovation.

Jesse has already been nominated by:

  • Jesse Keating
  • Myles Steinhauser
  • Bob DeSantis
  • John Dewey
  • Peter Erickson
  • Amy Van Groningen
  • Will Sulzer
  • Laura Ashley
  • Mark van Oppen
  • Swarna Podila