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OpenStack Board Member Rob Hirschfeld on the impact of DevOps, SDN, Docker & more

Art Fewell | Feb. 26, 2015
I recently had the great pleasure to sit down with community-elected OpenStack board member and Crowbar co-creator, Rob Hirschfeld. Rob shared awesome nuggets of wisdom on data center and cloud operations, you can view the video and the full transcript below:

My focus has actually been on growing the size of the operator community and helping the vendors who are trying to setup users and run private cloud and actually run public clouds. Help there with what they need out of it which is actually a very different part of the equation.

That also comes out of that experience I had, my first years at Dell where we had software and we had hardware, right? Of course. What we were struggling with is helping users operate. We would show up with Joyent or Eucalyptus or Hadoop, all those things and just wiring the servers together and creating an operational environment that would work was a real challenge. Every customer is a little bit different. We kept banging our heads around it.

Ultimately that was a lot of where my team focused inside of Dell and actually where I'm focused professionally now is continuing that work. We can talk about that more.

Art Fewell: It's really been a very interesting and exciting challenge. I think one of the things that is really powerful about OpenStack and the OpenStack community is the need for industrial commons to drive innovation forward. Historically we haven't always done a very good job at that, we added developments in isolation and you have 10 different companies developing basically the same thing, like ships in the night and just wasting this tremendous amount of potential energy that could be applied to solving real world challenges.

Then you look at another side of that is, let's say you're the small company and how are you going to compete with an OpenStack scale? If you only have two or three big players that could have the feasibility of developing something of that scale, it's a high barrier to innovation. If OpenStack exists and I as a smaller company can innovate on top of this big, stable, reputable platform it completely changes the dynamic of innovation, right?

Rob Hirschfeld: The reason I was pointing at you and laughing is you wouldn't happen to have a networking background, would you?

Art Fewell: Don't worry. People point at me and laugh a lot ;)

Rob Hirschfeld: You just described the networking world to a tee. There's major incumbents and there's people trying to figure out how to get into it and the excitement that I see happening in networking is this tremendous open switching, new operating systems are starting to get opened up, top of rack switching is becoming a DevOps, potentially a DevOps landscape.

It's amazingly powerful and there's this incredible convergence between what OpenStack needs from software defined networking which is really going to change the way people deploy applications and it's moving networking into a DevOps scripted perspective from the cloud. But then it's driving down also into physical infrastructure and physical networking and what we're expecting to see there.


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