“People have deployed over-engineered solutions to problems that could have been solved very simply. Not all problems require an infinitely scalable hyper-cloud solution,” says Aptira CTO Kavit Munshi.


OpenStack individual director Kavit Munshi, CTO of Aptira, which provides private and hybrid cloud solutions and technology focusing on the Asia-Pacific region, talks about the importance of diversity, transparency and keeping it simple.

Superuser: What are your initial plans for increasing participation from users, developers, operators from outside North America?

I have been working with the regional user groups over the last couple of years in my capacity as an OpenStack Ambassador. We have collaborated and facilitated local events and meetups across Asia-Pacific.

I have also worked closely with the regional user groups to reach out to universities to organize seminars and hackathons introducing the students to cloud and OpenStack, I plan to continue this approach in the future as it has yielded good results thus far.

I also plan to propose a special showcase for projects/use cases and solutions from outside North America during the Vancouver Summit.

I think it is also important to encourage the local startup ecosystem to increase participation. It is equally important to engage with the enterprises, government and telcos to expand the marketplace outside North America.

I think sponsoring and funding local OpenStack days will drive us towards this goal a lot faster and increase adoption in the marketplace. This in turn will lead to a greater number of professionals consuming and contributing to OpenStack. I would also push for the Foundation to become more startup-friendly, given the recent criticism.

Lastly, I will push to boost the Foundation’s involvement in activities outside North America. Exactly what we can achieve remains to be seen, but encouraging debate and engagement with diversity at the board level is the start of globalizing the Foundation’s activities.

In your candidacy profile, you stressed the importance of ensuring that "regional diversity are reflected in the governance and the vision of the project." What are the first steps toward this?

Regional diversity is a serious consideration for an organization that aspires to embrace open source and openness and is as globally relevant as the OpenStack Foundation.

We need to encourage members from various regional backgrounds to actively engage in the governance of the project. I think the first step that the Foundation needs to take is to organize a diversity committee which can define and set goals to this end.

We also need regular feedback and reports from management and from community about what’s being done to meet these targets and if our actions are achieving satisfactory results.

What are some of the more persistent myths about moving to the cloud?

I feel that as far as cloud is concerned, people have deployed over-engineered solutions to problems that could have been solved very simply. Not all problems require an infinitely scalable hyper-cloud solution.

I also feel that the use case for cloud is not as ubiquitous as it has been made out to be; one provider or one type of solution may not be able to solve all the needs an organization may have. While the technology is flexible, the attitudes of management may not be.

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

Success for OpenStack five years down the road would be a thriving global community built around a project that is not just developer-friendly but also operator-friendly.

I also feel that OpenStack’s success will depend on how well and how closely it is able to work with and integrate other emerging open source technologies. OpenStack needs to be user-friendly enough to become the default software selected to design, deploy and operate a cloud of any scale.

Who are your real-life heroes?

Richard Feynman. He was a brilliant physicist, a great teacher and one of the best role models for someone with an inquisitive mind.

What’s your favorite/most important OpenStack debate?

I think the debate around transparency and diversity is very important, especially as the project and the community surrounding it are growing rapidly. Transparency and inclusiveness will ensure that the project doesn’t get fragmented and forked. Inclusiveness and transparency ensure that everyone is pushing in the same direction.

In this series of interviews, we’re talking to the 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.

Cover Photo by Cyril Rana // CC BY NC