Speaker Interview: Russell Pavlicek

Having spoken at about 75 Open Source conferences, Russell Pavlicek says that speaking at SCALE is one of his favorites during the course of the year. A long-time FOSS advocate, Russell speaks on SCALE 13x Sunday at 3 on "The Next Generation Cloud: Rise of the Unikernel." The SCALE Team caught up with him to ask him about his presentation.

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

A: I've been working with Open Source for 20 years and have been a passionate advocate from my earliest association with the movement.  In recent years, I have been working as Evangelist for the Xen Project, a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project.  I have spoken at about 75 Open Source conferences.  I also have experience as an Internet radio host, a columnist, and an author.  These things coupled with two decades of software consulting give me a certain perspective on the power and usability of Open Source software.

Q: You're giving a talk on The Next Generation Cloud: Rise of the Unikernel. Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: So many people are excited about Docker because it creates easily deployable payloads quickly, but most people don't realize that there is a technology which creates much smaller payloads just as quickly but with much higher security.  This technology is called the unikernel, and it has serious ramifications for the next generation of cloud.  This generation of cloud is focused on the orchestration, but the payloads are almost the same as they were before the cloud.  In the next generation of cloud, we will see ultralight, extremely quick, highly secure payloads based on unikernels.  And the best part: the Open Source movement is clearly leading the way in unikernel development.

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: I've been to SCALE the past couple of years.  Of all the events I speak at during the year, SCALE ranks as one of my favorites.  It's great to get together with community members who live and breathe Open Source.  It's well worth my trip from the East Coast; I encourage everyone to attend, if they can.

Q: Xen Project is a mature Open Source hypervisor.  Does it have anything new to talk about?

A: Absolutely!  In the world of the cloud, you need a hypervisor which is focused on engineering the future.  Xen Project is working hard to develop the next generation of hypervisor which will power the next generation cloud.  Last month's release (4.5) has more new features than any release in a decade.  And innovations around unikernels, embedded systems, integration toolsets, and ARM support ensure that Xen Project will be tomorrow's hypervisor, as well as today's.  Open Source projects are free to continue to break new ground as the needs of people change, when closed source efforts begin to atrophy from a lack of vision.

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

A: Just that I am psyched to be at SCALE 13X!  And I am happy to be speaking about using Xen Project in OpenStack during the openSUSE Mini-Summit colocated with SCALE. 

[SCALE Team interview by Larry Cafiero]