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Individual Member Profile

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Tim Bell

Date Joined
July 19, 2012

CERN From (Current)
Statement of Interest

Large scale deployment of clouds to support scientific research


I'm  responsible for the group at CERN which manages the operating system and infrastructure services. I previously worked as a Unix kernel developer at IBM along with managing large scale Unix production deployments and services for Deutsche Bank in Europe.

My team is running the CERN OpenStack cloud which has been in production since July 2013 and is currently around 40,000 cores. This cloud provides processing power for the physicists working on the Large Hadron Collider and its experiments, producing around 35PB a year.




I'm involved in the following OpenStack projects: Nova,Glance,Keystone,Horizon,Cinder,Ceilometer,Openstack-manuals


Tim is a candidate in the 2014 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 have been a member of the OpenStack management board since the foundation was launched. I am the board representative on the OpenStack user committee, providing the key feedback loop from users and opeators of OpenStack clouds to the technical committee and developers.

As part of CERN's expansion to a second data centre, we are implementing a large scale Infrastructure as a Service based on OpenStack aiming to support 15,000 hypervisors by 2015 to help analyse the 35PB of data a year from the Large Hadron Collider. The CERN OpenStack use case and experiences were described in the Essex, Grizzly and Icehouse summits along with many user groups, industry events and blogs such as

OpenStack provides a critical part of our strategy to adopt common tools in use by similar scale organisations and contribute back to the community. As an open research centre, we can share our experiences and benefit from the work of others towards a common goal.

Examples from the recent summit include our techniques for scaling out OpenStack ( I also lead the CERN side of a research project with Rackspace which is contributing code to OpenStack on aggregating multiple clouds into a single resource (

Growing the user base is vital to OpenStack's success. I have presented our activities at user groups and meetups in London, Paris, Budapest, Berne and Zurich during the past year and industry events such as GigaOm Structure along with organising the regional meet up at CERN in December 2013.

As a member of the OpenStack user committee, we run the confidential survey of users and deployments, working with the developers and technical communittee to give feedback for the design summit and during development phase.


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 was elected in 2010 to the OpenStack board of directors representing the individuals of the foundation.  I have found it highly rewarding to be part of the OpenStack movement and contribute my perspective as an OpenStack user to the board discussions and decisions. Equally, frequent outreach activities and summits give the opportunity to discuss with community members from development through to operators and ensure that I represent the broad range of opinions of the membership.

Since my daily work is for a non-profit organisation, international collaboration and community consensus are part of my organisation's culture. From the invention of the world wide web at CERN, we have been heavily involved in open source development activities, sharing our improvments and benefitting from the work of others.


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


Given the continued expansion of the membership and OpenStack related developments, the board's role to ensure correct governance and strategic direction for the foundation becomes even more critical. The individual membership roles on the board give the community influence and need to reflect the varied electorate from developers, operators and end users.

We need to deliver compatible implementations of OpenStack across multiple organisations. Innovation and functional expansion is welcome but this must be within a clear definition of what is OpenStack and without diluting the continued improvements in the stability, maturity and ease of deployment of the core components.



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


Firstly, there is a need to clarify what OpenStack is (and what it is not). The ongoing work around the definition of core is key but we also need to encourage adoption of the OpenStack APIs in other products while allowing innovation in the ecosystem around OpenStack such that projects can thrive without needing to be core.

Secondly, there needs to be further support for production deployments. This means defining reference architectures, encouraging user stories and intense focus on the areas which improve the installation/migration/configuration experience. 

Lastly, continue the drive for international expansion. With the summit in Hong Kong and the upcoming Paris summit in 2014, OpenStack is a global community. Assisting growth with programs such as the user group Ambassadors and the travel bursaries for summits should be extended to ensure that developers and users worldwide can easily contribute their skills and energy to the growth of OpenStack.

I hope to have the opportunity to continue to represent the individuals of the foundation in 2014.

Tim has already been nominated by:

  • Jonathan Bryce
  • Mark Collier
  • Tom Fifield
  • Mark McLoughlin
  • Tristan Goode
  • Joseph George
  • Troy Toman
  • Russell Bryant
  • Monty Taylor
  • Flavio Percoco