DefCore plays an important role ensuring some consistency and interoperability among OpenStack clouds, says Russell Bryant, Red Hat software engineer and individual director at OpenStack. For Bryant, it’s one of the most key issues in OpenStack now.


In this series of interviews, we’re talking to the new Individual Directors on the 2015 OpenStack Board of Directors. These Directors provide oversight of the Foundation and its budget, strategy and goals. The 24-person Board is composed of eight Individual Directors elected by the Individual Members, eight directors elected by the Gold Members and eight directors appointed by the Platinum Members.

We talk to Russell Bryant, open source software engineer. He shares thoughts on why DefCore matters, expanding the global community and what success will look like in the future for OpenStack.

Superuser: As part of your candidate profile, your aim was to ensure "regional diversity are reflected in the governance and the vision of the project." What are your first steps towards that?

Russell Bryant:
Driving global participation starts by recognizing that OpenStack is very much a global community. The OpenStack Summit is already held in different places around the globe.  Anything we can do to support regional OpenStack events is great, as well. Internationalization efforts for the software and its documentation are also important.

In the development community, it’s important to adopt community processes that are as inclusive as possible.  OpenStack projects place a lot of emphasis on the design summit, in person mid-cycle meetups, and IRC meetings.  All of those things end up excluding some parts of the world.  The efficiency of real time communication has to be balanced with the importance of being globally inclusive.

Finally, I think role models are important. Having more diversity in various positions providing leadership in the OpenStack community would encourage more people around the world to get more actively involved.

What will success look like for OpenStack five years from now?

The OpenStack project mission statement is:

   To produce the ubiquitous Open Source Cloud Computing platform that
   will meet the needs of public and private clouds regardless of
   size, by being simple to implement and massively scalable.

We’re doing a great job on some parts of the mission.  The part that I feel we are lagging the most on is "being simple to implement." I hope that in five years we’ve made enormous progress in that area.  Having very strong open source deployment and management tools is a big part of that.  Another part is ongoing focus on improving the end user interfaces, which include the APIs, SDKs, and graphical interfaces like Horizon.

I also expect to see OpenStack become more and more dominant as the standard way people manage their infrastructure.  We should see a lot more adoption, including those that are not traditionally the early adopters of new technology.

Who are your real-life heroes?

In my life, it would be my wife, Julie.

I have several heroes in OpenStack.  One would be Thierry Carrez, OpenStack’s director of engineering. I think Thierry has done more than anyone else to hold the development community together since the founding of OpenStack. I am continually impressed and very thankful for all that he does.

What are you looking forward to most at the next summit?

There are always more companies out there doing really interesting work with OpenStack.  Hard problems are being solved.  New deployments are being done that break new ground.  The OpenStack Summit tends to be the time when we learn about a lot of these things that we didn’t expect. I’m excited to see what we’ll learn this time.

What’s your favorite/most important OpenStack debate?

The DefCore effort is referenced a lot in the context of the OpenStack board. There are some very important changes happening to the technical governance of OpenStack that are related and important for people to be aware of.

The technical community is moving away from its integrated release model. Previously, the integrated release served as the base that DefCore worked from and was the primary signal used by downstream consumers about what might be most appropriate to include in an OpenStack product.

In this new model, the technical community becomes a much more inclusive place filled with a lot more choice.  With a much bigger picture of what the OpenStack community includes, it’s even more important that we communicate useful information to downstream consumers so that they know which parts of OpenStack they should use to solve their problems.  The DefCore effort plays an important role in defining some set of base criteria to help ensure some amount of consistency and interoperability among OpenStack clouds.

Cover Photo by Sergio Rojas // CC BY NC