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Individual Member Profile


Tim Bell

Date Joined
July 19, 2012

CERN From 2005-06-01 (Current)
Statement of Interest

Large scale deployment of clouds to support scientific research




Tim is responsible for the group at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, which manages the compute infrastructure for 13,000 physicists around the world to support fundamental research. He previously worked as a Unix kernel developer at IBM along with managing large scale Unix production deployments and services for Deutsche Bank in Europe.

His team is running the CERN OpenStack cloud which has been in production since July 2013 and is currently around 320,000 cores. This cloud provides processing power to analyse the data from the Large Hadron Collider and other experiments which produce around 70PB a year. The practical experiences are shared on the blog at and along with regular summit talks such as



OpenStack Summit Presentations

Speaker Profile:


Tim is a candidate in the January 2019 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?



During the past 6 years, I have been serving as a community elected member of the OpenStack management board and as a member of the OpenStack user committee for 4 years from 2012 until 2015.

CERN has been a regular contributor to OpenStack in many diferent forms, from code to operations meetups providing details of our deployment experiences and feedback to the community on improvements including taking PTL roles such as Magnum. Engaging cloud operators and their contributions will provide a significant contribution to a sustainable OpenStack future.

I have been a frequent speaker at OpenStack events, keynote talks at several summits but also at many of the OpenStack days and local user groups. 

Recently, the Scientific SIG has become a vibrant point of collaboration with teams such as the Square Kilometer Array and other labs. Sharing experiences and identifying common requirements ensures blueprints would meet many use cases, not just one lab.



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?


As a serving member of the board since its foundation, I have been involved in many of the details establishing the OpenStack project and the move towards a wider Open Infrasture scope. As a production cloud operator, I have brought this view to the discussions and representing the needs of this vital part of the community.

My experience at CERN has been invaluable given the common principles of multicultural collaboration and meritocracy. As a publically funded organisation, CERN benefits from the same openness and transparency as one of its core principles with open source software being one of the ways we contribute back to society. Open source is part of the CERN culture from the world wide web to the upstream OpenStack contributions where we contribute back all changes of general interest and benefit from community improvements in delivery of IT services for our end users.


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



The board provides the vital oversight of the foundation and business strategy with the individual directors providing the voice of the community in setting direction. Given a large board of 24, it is key that there continues to be representation of those who are running OpenStack in production, understands the challenges of the user community and approprriate focus is placed on areas such as the collaboration with adjacent communities and interoperability to drive further adoption.



What do you think the top priority of the Board should be over the next year?


 The adjacent communities collaboration work to encourage easier integration of open infrastructure projects is key to the foundation's future success. OpenStack is rarely alone as an open source project in installations and lowering the barriers for integration with other projects who share the open infrastructure vision will encourage further deployment growth. 

At CERN, we deploy 100s of Kubernetes clusters and multi-petabyte Ceph infrastructure which are a vital part of our end user self service experience. This requires multi-project, multi-foundation collaboration to catch problems early. While working on Open Infrastructure goals brings new projects to the Foundation, it is equally important to ensure the collaboration with other foundations such as CNCF and the Linux Foundation. Many of the involved OpenStack contributors (such as CERN) are also members of these other Foundations to deliver open source services to our end users.

The logical steps to embrace collaborating projects such as Zuul and sharing CI/CD infrastructure with communities like OPNFV and Tungsten Fabric will enhance the end user experience by catching incompatible changes early.

Expanding the scope of the Open Infrastructure activities beyond the core OpenStack activity requires changes to the bylaws but will address the needs of the consumers for a stable, multi-project, integrated and deployable solution. Making this transition is the key objective for the board for 2019.


Tim has already been nominated by:

  • Jonathan Bryce
  • Melvin Hillsman
  • Egle Sigler
  • ChangBo Guo
  • Christophe Sauthier
  • Tom Fifield
  • Allison Randal
  • Artem Sidorenko
  • Elliot Nichols
  • Shane Wang