Interview: Jerome Petazzoni

Jérôme Petazzoni works for dotCloud, where he leads the Site Reliability Engineering team, which is responsible for the uptime of the dotCloud platform. The platform hosts tens of thousands of apps using Python, Ruby, Node.js, Java, Perl, Go, PHP, RabbitMQ, Redis, Solr, ElasticSearch, MySQL, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, and many more. Jérôme took the time to talk to the SCALE Team about his presentation, "Lightweight Virtualization with namespaces, cgroups, and unioning filesystems," which will be at 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 23, in room Century CD.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: I currently manage the SRE (Site Reliability Engineering; the fancy name for DevOps, if you ask me!) team at dotCloud, a Platform-as-a-Service provider based in San Francisco. I have always been interested in both development and sysadmin; so this is the perfect position for me! Before joining dotCloud, I enjoyed various positions in Paris (France, not Texas!). I wrote a Geographic Information System for a fiber optics operator; I built (and operated) private clouds infrastructures for multiple companies; I also worked with the video industry to build streaming systems, and with a VOIP provider. I also co-founded Enix; a small-but-innovative hosting company, providing Xen-based hosting since 2004.
Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk you're giving (unless you want to), can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: I guess there are (at least!) two good reasons to attend my talk. If you ever heard about "VServer", "OpenVZ", "Solaris Zones", or "LXC", and want to learn more about the underlying concepts: you will learn (almost) everything about the innards of Linux Containers; how they work, what you can do with them, and why they are cool (and why they sometimes aren't).

 If you picked up the buzz about "PaaS" (Platform-as-a-Service), and wonder how it works (or consider implementing your own, or picking one existing solution or provider), my talk will hopefully put the spotlight to a specific (but critical) piece of technology which is very relevant to PaaS (just like virtualization is relevant to the cloud).

Q: Is this your first visit to SCALE? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?


A: This is my first visit, so I don't know really what to expect... When I looked at the schedule, I realized that there were awesome talks scheduled simultaneously, and that I would have to make hard decisions. That's usually a tell-tale sign that the overall content of the conference will be awesome, so I can't wait to be there!
Q: Your talk will be about "lightweight virtualization". Why "lightweight"? What's "heavyweight" virtualization?

A: "Heavyweight" is by no means derogatory! That would be the typical KVM, Xen, VMWare, VirtualBox, and son on. "Lightweight" would be OpenVZ, VServer, (LXC) containers, zones...

I believe (but you don't have to take my word for it; better check out my talk!) that "heavyweight" virtualization made IAAS possible (and was a major enabler of what we call "the cloud"), while "lightweight" virtualization made PAAS possible (which will help with an even broader adoption of cloud deployments). 

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to add?


A: I'd like to thank the LA Django Meet-up community for mentioning SCALE. Without them, I would have passed on SCALE, which would have been a total shame!
[SCALE Team interview by Hannah Anderson]