Open Mic Spotlight: Wayne Walls

pro-headshot03This post is part of the OpenStack Open Mic series to spotlight the people who have helped make OpenStack successful as we celebrate the third birthday of the project. Each day in July, a new contributor will step up to the mic and answer five questions about OpenStack, cloud, careers and what they do for fun.

Wayne Walls is a Cloud Architect at Rackspace, where he evangelizes global cloud strategy. A tenured technology leader, Wayne has engineered complex technical solutions, delivered IT transformation plans, and implemented multiple training initiatives around cloud computing. Co-maintainer of the Rackspace Developer blog, Wayne is helping developers, engineers, and executives understand cloud technologies and how to turn that knowledge into tangible returns. He holds a B.S. of Information Systems and a B.A. of Economics from the University of Oklahoma. Follow him on Twitter at @waynewalls. 

1. Describe an interesting OpenStack deployment that you were part of, and why others ought to know about it. What made that project work? Tick?

Working at Rackspace gave me an interesting opportunity; I was able to work with OpenStack at a very early stage.  The first time I deployed OpenStack it was on the Austin release – the first OpenStack release – when Jordan Rinke and I were tasked with building an OpenStack cloud for the Bexar Design Summit in San Antonio.  If I recall correctly, Austin had roughly 1,000 lines of code and roughly five pages of documentation (compared to the now nearly 100,000 lines of code and fantastic wiki with hundreds of pages of helpful documentation available to newcomers – big props to Anne Gentle for helping the world OpenStack better).  After days of combing through the code to figure out what flags existed and what they did, we were able to stand up a six node cluster for the Friday “Deploy a Cloud” session.  Using QEMU, we were going to walk conference attendees thorough the process of deploying OpenStack…on OpenStack.  To make things even more interesting, Dell provided us a half-rack to deploy onto – a rack of prototype Dell C-series sleds running Ubuntu 10.04.

In review, here are a couple memories from our deployment:

  • #openstack on freenode had about 50 people in there.  Someone named “vish” knew a ton about everything.
  • There were multiple configuration files
    1. nova.conf
    2. nova-network.conf
    3. nova-manage.conf
  • No OpenStack API, all EC2 API controlled with euca2ools
  • No Glance; there was a service called nova-objectstore that acted as middleware that treated local disk as an S3 bucket.  This is how images were uploaded into OpenStack.
    • Finding an image to upload into OpenStack to boot was NOT EASY.
  • The command that caused a ton of heartache (unable to ping or SSH to instance once booted):
    • euca-authorize -P icmp -t -1:-1 default
    • euca-authorize -P tcp -p 22 default
  • Greg Althaus from Dell loves his khaki shorts

While digging though my notes on this project I found this small script we could use to redeploy our cloud in the event something went horribly wrong: – this script evolved into the first ‘automated’ deployment tool for OpenStack.  Special thanks to Vish for writing “,” the precursor to DevStack and Laurent Luce for helping us understand how it worked.  Lots of commands were directly lifted from here and made many operations folks around the world rejoice.

After reviewing the that script, I’m absolutely blown away by how far the project has come in terms of maturity, ease of use, and ease of deployment. And that’s after just three years.  I very much look forward to the next three years!

2. What is the most common misconception you hear about OpenStack?

“No one is using it in production.”  That’s baloney. Early on, companies  viewed OpenStack as a competitive advantage and were putting it into production. But they weren’t necessarily sharing that with the world.  As time passes more and more user stories are becoming public knowledge and hopefully this misconception will be dispelled. Just look at all of the customers who spoke at the last design Summit in Portland – a good number of them are running OpenStack in production.

3. What’s the most critical feature you think cloud software needs to be widely adopted over the next year? 

Authentication ties in to all OpenStack components.  The pace of innovation of OpenStack and its integrated and community projects is astounding.  From my perspective, the blocker to many companies adopting OpenStack and/or its supporting projects is the fact authentication is not fully baked and features are outpacing the ability to control access.

4. How would you suggest to someone that they should pick OpenStack for deployment? What is the most compelling argument for OpenStack in your mind?

Two main reasons:

1.  The community ecosystem is friendly, brilliant and engaging.  OpenStack is like a family, sure there are disagreements, but at the end of the day everyone is looking out for each other and wants to make OpenStack the best it can be for the world to use.

2.  Public, private and bare-metal – the hybrid cloud.  OpenStack unlocks the ability to pick the right place for your application to get the best benefit.  It’s a true hybrid cloud strategy.

5. What is your favorite productivity hack? Secret trick? Shortcut you’re slightly embarrassed to admit? 

If This Then That (IFTTT) is awesome.  Social media is a great way to keep up to date on all the things, but there is a lot of noise if you’re consuming data from multiple social networks, blogs, mailing lists, etc.  Using a service like IFTTT allows you to pick and choose how information is disseminated to you, and also how you can share information with your personal networks.





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