Interview: Joe Brockmeier

Joe Brockmeier's long and varied history in open source projects is well known in FOSS circles. Currently, he's the open source evangelist for Citrix and committer on the Apache CloudStack project, and he served as the openSUSE community manager as well as a long-time FOSS journalist. Joe will speak at SCALE 11X this year on "Taking the Open Cloud to 11 with CloudStack" on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 11:30 a.m. in the LaJolla room. The SCALE Team caught up with Joe for this brief interview.

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

A: My background is a little unusual for someone working on an an open source project, really. I was studying English lit and journalism when a happy accident led me to discover Slackware Linux. From there I got a job working with back in the day when people still bought Linux on CD-ROM, and then had the good fortune to meet up with the folks behind Linux Magazine (the original one!) and started writing about Linux and open source full-time.

Many years later, I joined Novell as the openSUSE community manager, and had an opportunity to work much more closely with the community around a major open source project.

These days, I'm working for Citrix and spend much of my time working on the Apache CloudStack project. I'm a PPMC member on the project, and am acting as release manager for the point releases between major releases.

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: Expect the unexpected! Well, then it would be expected, so ... just come prepared to get a meaty introduction to open source cloud
computing, by way of Apache CloudStack. Even now, a lot of folks are unsure what the substance is in cloud computing, so I'll talk about the concrete benefits of adopting an IaaS, the features that CloudStack provides, what you can expect in setting it up, and a bit about the
direction of the project and where it's going.

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: Oh, no. I've been to many a SCALE, and have always enjoyed the event immensely. SCALE is consistently one of the best Linux/FOSS shows on the planet. It's well-run, inclusive, and draws fantastic speakers. The organizers have deftly crafted a show that appeals to folks who are using Linux for business and enthusiasts who run Linux just for the fun of it.

What I look forward to at SCALE, most of all, is the "hallway track. ' SCALE draws a really diverse, friendly, and interesting set of
attendees. I always enjoy meeting up with old friends and meeting new folks at SCALE.

Q: Why should SCALE attendees care about Apache CloudStack, or open IaaS clouds in general?

A: In many environments, it's no longer feasible to manage systems without a system like CloudStack. You're simply dealing with far too
many physical and virtualized resources to work effectively by provisioning resources by hand, and without giving developers and users
a way to provision their own resources.

If you're running tens, hundreds, or thousands of systems - which many Linux admins are these days - you need to be looking into an IaaS to tame your environment.

If you've chosen Linux for most or all of your environment, I probably don't need to explain the benefits of open source! But I will say that we have a number of folks who work on CloudStack that are helping to take control of their environment by contributing features they need and fixing bugs that affect them.

Why CloudStack? It's a mature, turnkey system that is ready today and already powering some exceptionally large clouds. With support for VMware, Xen, and KVM, it's also an ideal solution for organizations that have legacy "scale up" workloads that live on VMware, while developing and deploying new "scale out" applications on top of Xen and KVM.

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

A: I can't promise there won't be cat pictures in my presentation.

[SCALE Team interview by Larry Cafiero]