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Individual Member Profile


Rob Hirschfeld

Date Joined
July 19, 2012

RackN From 2014-10-03 (Current)
OpenStack Board From 2012-10-01 (Current)
Dell From 2009-12-15 To 2014-10-03
Statement of Interest

Leading the "What is Core" Definition (DefCore) and supporting OpenStack Product (Hidden Influencers)




Serving on OpenStack Board since 2012, I've been driving the Core Definition (DefCore) Process and Product Working Group (Hidden Influencers).  I am a balanced voice between business, development and operations needs.  I am also "commercially unbiased" since I am not an employee of a major contributor, vendor or sponsor.

I have been involved in Cloud for over 15 years and launched some of the earliest Cloud companies.  My educational background (Duke and LSU) is in computer science and systems engineering with a focus on distributed systems.  I have always found deployment to be vitally important in developments - that lead me to found a SaaS start-up in 1999 and had made me a DevOps advocate.  In addition to core cloud technologies, I am an Agile/Lean/TDD process evangelist who strongly believes that stability is a feature.

Professionally, I am the CEO and Founder of RackN.  A company focused on automating physical provisioning at scale through the OpenCrowbar project.  Before that, I was a Sr Distinguished Engineer at Dell leading our OpenStack Cloud project (http://wp.me/PF6d2-bj) and also a founder of the Crowbar project (http://wp.me/PF6d2-ix).  In both roles, I am in constant contact with OpenStack users, ecosystem developers and vendors world-wide; consequently, I have a very broad perspective on use and technical needs for OpenStack and related Cloud technologies.

You can get a much better perspective on me and my position on OpenStack by visiting http://robhirschfeld.com.



I'm involved in the following OpenStack projects: Nova,Horizon,Cinder,Ironic,Openstack-ci,Deployment


Rob 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?


I've been involved in OpenStack since before it was offically formed and one of the founding Board Members.  Before serving the the board, I took a leadership role in OpenStack ops by driving the Crowbar OpenStack install (the first OpenStack installer and still used by SUSE).

Since leaving Dell, I have not rejoined a company with an direct OpenStack product (RackN is part of the enablement community).  As such, I have a very balanced and neutral viewpoint about OpenStack.

On the Board, I've been very active in a number of key committees:

1) DefCore.  As the chair and long term driver of the DefCore process, I've worked hard to make sure that the diverse technical and corporate interests of OpenStack are represented in a balanced way.

2) Gold Member Selection.  Adding members to the Board is critical and equilent to a hiring process.  As such, I've worked to help define standards for selection and work to help screen and coach new applicants.

3) Product Manager (Hidden Influencers).  OpenStack success requires companies with competing interests to collaborate.  I've been working with other leaders to bring managers from OpenStack contributors together to ensure that internal and community priorities are aligned.

There are many other ways that I work to support OpenStack including blogging, community engagement and operations.



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 2.5 years on the OpenStack Board,

I have served for a year term as an Alderman for the City of Rollingwood and 6 years as the Secretary for a Texas Board (the Rollingwood Community Development Corporation / RCDC).  I have worked with several non-profits including The Miracle Foundation based in Austin Texas.

Since the City and Development Corporation service was governed by the Texas Open Governance rules, I am very familiar with how to conduct open and public meetings that follow Robert's rules of governance.  Also, these bodies, like OpenStack, use consensus governance.

My process governance experience has been very influential on the OpenStack board.  I have helped refine and guide many of our processes to ensure community access and open governance.

There are many examples of this, but the DefCore effort is a good example of building consensus on controversial topics.




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


The Board needs to ensure that we're creating a commercially successful ecosystem.  Since the vast majority of contributors are corporate sponsored, the Board must ensure that there is a return on investment for contributing to the community.

The Board must work to align the corporate interests to ensure that the common platform progresses in a mutually beneficial way.  This must be a board activity because that is where the leaders of those interests intersect.  

My job on the board is to provide a neutral viewpoint that can resolve potential competitive pressures.


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


The Board must ensure that OpenStack delivers a stable and commercially useful software platform.

In support of this, my priorities would be:

1) Completing the DefCore process to define the platform boundary.

2) Launching the OpenStack Product Working Group (product managers) to ensure corporate developer alignment.

3) Helping get better representation and support for Operators to make sure the platform is installable


Rob has already been nominated by:

  • Simon Anderson
  • Carl Perry
  • Shamail Tahir
  • Mike Veitch
  • Tobias Ford
  • Tristan Goode
  • Carsten Duch
  • Doug Hellmann
  • Wences Michel
  • Troy Toman