Explore the value of containers within an OpenStack infrastructure      Read now

Individual Member Profile


Matt Van Winkle

Date Joined
March 05, 2013

Rackspace From 2013-03-05 (Current)
Statement of Interest

Raising the voice of the Operator in the community. Helping find better ways to scale OpenStack. Running large clouds.




I serve an amazingly talented group responsible for running the Rackspace public cloud. I have been with the company in various roles for over 13 years.  My primary task is helping my teams of engineers and developers build the software that manages our constantly growing fleet of servers, enables easier day to day operations for our 24X7 Ops teams and facilitates smoother deployments by our software teams working on upstream OpenStack and other projects relative to our public cloud offering.

We have been growing our OpenStack based cloud since its launch in August, 2012.  It began in 3 regions with a few hundred hosts and is now in 6 separate geographic locations, has 10's of 1000's of hypervisors and contains well over 1 Petabyte of RAM under Nova management.  This cloud provides resources to an ever growing spectrum of users from all types industries, sectors and organizations.

Since late last year, I've had the pleasure of working with several in the community in elevating the voice and role of "Operators" within OpenStack.  I've helped with planning mini-summits, Ops meetup sessions in Atlanta and working closely with the Large Deployment team that met in Paris, Vancouver and beyond.



I'm involved in the following OpenStack projects: Nova,Ironic,Deployment


Matt 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 with OpenStack for a little over two years now since taking over operational responsability for Rackspace's Public Cloud.  Though our offering as a service provider, we have had the challenge and privilege to stretch the limits of the software in ways that very few have.  

With the experience we've gained from running large OpenStack clouds, I feel there is an obligation to give back in meaningful ways to the community.  This is why I've tried to stay as active as possible in the growing Operator activities - going all the way back to helping plan the first Ops mid-cycle.  Most recently, I am active in the new Large Deployment Team as we work across many organizations to ecapsualte the greatest needs of OpenStack clouds running at scale.  If I had to pick a biggest contribution to date, it would be hosting the Ops mid-cycle last August, but I'm hopeful that the longer term contributions of the Large Deployment Team are something to be even more proud of. 


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?


I have been on the board of a local non-profit called Comunities in Schools for almost 6 years now.  Four of those have been as an officer.  During that time, we've had to work with both financial matters and CEO transitions.  These pushed the responsibility of being a board member far beyond that of attending meetings and voting on propels   It forced the board to take action and make key strategic change in the organization.  I have found the work both very rewarding and insightful.  I look forward to drawing on this experience should I get elected to the OpenStack Board.


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


The Board needs to set a strageic direction for the organization.  This is especailly important with the rapid growth the foundation is experiencing in membership and breadth of projects.  Additionally we are beginning to see more and more contributions from Operators and End Users.  As an individual member of the board, I see an extra responsability to make sure we are providing meaningful methods of tangible contribution for developers and users alike.

Additionally, I think the board needs to lead the charge in defining what is core to OpenStack and what is not.  There is still a large focus of every porject to make the integarted release.  We need to be more comfortable with a set of core components and a solid ecosystem built around them.  This doesn't deminish any of the projects, but gives OpenStack a better chance of maturing and stabalizing the most commonly used components while the breadth of available features and functions is expanded.  Things can always change over time based on usage and maturity, but as more and more OpenStack clouds begin to scale, and ore and more use cases emerge, this dependability of core components is key. 


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


The voice of the "user" is growing.  Those who run OpenStack clouds and those who use the APIs are becoming more engaged in the broader community every day.  The Board needs to do everything it can to help the contributions of these members (in many cases, not code) be as effective and tagnible as pull requests or code reviews.

Defcore is also key.  What is in and what is not?  What makes a cloud an OpenStack cloud?  By no means are any of the projects out there today not valuable, but a minimum set of standards to improve portability and potentially a maximum number of porjects in an integraged release will make great strides towards establishing the global scale cloud that many in the community have envisioned.

Matt has already been nominated by:

  • Tom Fifield
  • Sam Morrison
  • Tim Bell
  • Dan Spraggins
  • Subbu Allamaraju
  • Mark Collier
  • Naresh Kumar
  • Tristan Goode