James Governor's Monkchips

On IBM, OpenStack and Chef: an interview

Share via Twitter Share via Facebook Share via Linkedin Share via Reddit

I recently interviewed Angel Diaz and Dave Lindquist from IBM about the company’s decision to deepen the commitment to OpenStack. I include the video below, but also a transcript, in case you prefer text.

James Governor:      Hi! This is James Governor from RedMonk. We are here at IBM Pulse 2013. I have a couple of guys here that I wanted to talk to because IBM’s has some pretty interesting news. Angel Diaz is in an IBM standard setting role and Dave Lindquist is implementing some of those standards for the company across its portfolio  So the big news this week is about OpenStack. So what is the deal? Why are you putting more word behind the OpenStack arrow, Angel?


Angel Diaz:             With OpenStack we want to create a ubiquitous infrastructure as a service platform for cloud. Just like Apache was the heart of all app servers for e-business on the Web, we want to have the same effect for cloud. So when we were looking around what to do, we had a lot of choices, OpenStack had a great community, great following, bunch of end-users, who help stood up the foundation. Right now if we look at it, we are number 3 in code contributions, having a great time. We announced today that all of our cloud services and offerings will be built on open standards. The first one is our IBM SmartCloud Foundation which will ship with OpenStack inside. So it’s pretty cool.


James Governor:      Okay, so what kind of pressure you are under, given that it seems like the standard landscape is moving quite quickly, in terms of retrofitting the product portfolio – is it not kind of a tough job?


Dave Lindquist:       Well, it’s an exciting job – the community is very exciting, very vibrant, and if we look at the architecture of OpenStack, it’s very clean with nice separation of compute, storage, networking, a nice plugin system, extensibility to bring in various innovations across each of those domains. In addition to that, it’s very much a distributed everything, share nothing model, which is great for scale, great for resiliency. So it’s basically the same architecture that we had been investing in, in IBM in our SmartCloud foundations. So what we are doing is contributing technologies we have into the community, working with the community and advancing some of these designs and then consuming these technologies. So yeah it’s hectic, but it’s very consistent with how we are moving forward, so it’s really been a very productive environment, very efficient.


James Governor:      The OpenStack community almost seems like it’s too big, there are so many players, the classic concerns about potential fragmentation, people are going to want to make sure their own models are the ones that are chosen. Do you think you are going to be able to manage that effectively?


Angel Diaz:             Well, it’s interesting. OpenStack is probably about the second largest open source activity after Linux. So it is pretty big. We haven’t seen any issues. I am on the mailing lists and so on, I haven’t seen any issues. The way that we stood up the foundation, we learned a lot from Apache.


James Governor:      So is it true that the only reason IBM agreed to join was if OpenStack set up a foundation?


Angel Diaz:             No – they wanted to set up a foundation. We thought that we want a balance between corporate sponsorship to actually run an organization, but also meritocracy. It cannot be dominated by IBM or any other vendor, and so in fact the way the community works is that you got to earn your stripes. The fact that we are number three in code contributions after Rackspace and Red Hat, shows that we have earned our stripes. You can’t buy your way in. We’ve got about an eighth of the core contributors, and that’s how it works. At each design summit, the projects are led by an election, there is a project lead and those folks worked together with the project members to deliver what they do.


James Governor:      So one thing that I am kind of interested in is this question of Chef, which I had assumed had a Tivoli angle, but it almost seems like it’s just a WebSphere, PureSystems-like edge thing that’s happening in a collaboration with Opscode. But that’s not going to fly: you are going to have to have a unity.


Dave Lindquist:       I won’t think about it as a brand statement of Tivoli, WebSphere or Rational, we work across all across software group as well as with our systems team and —


James Governor:      But IBM is committing to Chef.


Dave Lindquist:       Yes, so we committing. Let me get to the one point and then to the next point. First of all we are working together on a set of capabilities that have different deployment options. We recognize it’s a full stack that has to come together between the infrastructure layers, the management, and how you do collaborative development in DevOps sense along with a lot of the patterns of workloads that optimizations bring down. So when we looked at what was occurring in the community, and this comes from a lot of our customers is that there is a healthy thriving ecosystem of all being around some of the automation in Chef, particularly with the numbers of cookbooks they have, I think it’s upwards at 800 cookbooks, a large number of recipes, and I think on the order of about 26,000 active users in that community. So when we looked at the IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator technology what was important is how can we leverage what’s being built in the community with recipes. So what we have basically done is an integration of Orchestrator with the Chef technology so that we, and our customers, can leverage this community of recipes, so that’s the level of the integration that’s occurring now.


James Governor:      So you all are going to be learning Ruby?


Dave Lindquist:       Yes. We use Ruby, we use Python, we use Java, we use JavaScript.


James Governor:      Okay, well I don’t want to take too much more of your time, but I certainly appreciate the update and it’s great to see supporting open standards.


Angel Diaz:             There you go!


James Governor:      Thanks!



disclosure: IBM is a client, Opscode is not.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *