I accepted my nomination for the Board of Directors of OpenStack today. I thought it would be good to put what my answers to the questions are here.

Provide Brief Biography of Yourself

JJ is a Sr. Partner Engineer at Chef, he was also the PTL for the Openstack-Chef project. He lives in Austin, Texas and has been part of the OpenStack community since Diablo’s release. He enjoys a good strong stout, hoppy IPA, and some Dwarf Fortress. He’s a member of the Church of Emacs, and attempts to push people to use Markdown over reStructuredText. He’s a father and husband, if he’s not trying to automate his job away he’s trying to convince his daughters to “let the bot’s do the work for them.”

What is your relationship to OpenStack, and why is its success important to you? What would you say is your biggest contribution to OpenStack’s success to date?

My relationship with OpenStack started back in the Diablo Days, as one of the contractors to help support and build the HP Helion cloud. I helped create the Incident Management process and supported of the HP Public Cloud. I saw how the sausage was made, to build a public cloud, and was both horrified and intrigued by the process. I have had a variable relationship with the OpenStack community since then. As of right now, I’m Core Contributor to OpenStack-Chef, and spearheading the OSOps project.

OpenStack’s success is paramount to me. My career, since Diablo, has been effected by the OpenStack and OpenStack Community. I have given back both my expertise, drive to make the OpenStack culture as positive as possible, and want to make more positive changes. I believe that being on the board will allow me to help create change and empower groups that haven’t had a loud voice.

I believe biggest contribution is getting the OSOps project highlighted and articulated. There is some history to the OSOps project and the different Operator tactical projects that where created. There was discussion, for at least 3 years, about creating an umbrella project, due to the fragmented tactical projects. No progress was ever made, and at the Palo Alto’s Operator Mid-Cycle Meetup the same discussion happened. I decided take ownership of getting the umbrella project started and ran with it. I took the framework that was described in the official documentation and created the required reviews. I used my position at Chef to have some conversations with some influential in the Operator community and got positive feedback about the OSOps project. Now the goal is to get more people to commit to the OSOps project and create a place that Operators can be proud to commit to the OpenStack community. I’m hoping by two or at most there cycles, we can move OSOps in the Big Tent.

Describe your experience with other non profits or serving as a board member. How does your experience prepare you for the role of a board member?

My experience with other non profits is limited at best. I’ve volunteered at multiple non-profits, and worked anything ranging from envelope stuffer to a web master, though I have never had any position of power, but I was able to help keep the organization running.

I see my lack of experience a strength here. I’ll ask the questions that people have always taken for granted; ask why something is the way it is. I’ll be new blood in the system, asking why we are focusing on the things we are focusing on. I’ve been known as a bridge builder, and with the different groups represented having this skill set will help make the OpenStack community better.

What do you see as the Board’s role in OpenStack’s success?

This question is unique for me. My success is having someone, come to the Board as someone who actually operates and represents an OpenStack cloud. Traditionally there has been Development and Vendors, but no representation of the group that has or have run an OpenStack cloud. Having this representation of this community, the real use cases of OpenStack can be voiced; and in turn help made more enjoyable.

What do you think the top priority of the Board should be in 2015?

Understanding the scope of the practical use cases for OpenStack. The Board seems to be looking at the theoretical use cases not what people are actually building. We need to figure out how the Board can help prioritize the resources to help the different groups using OpenStack. For instance the Large Deployments Working Group has extremely different issues then the majority of the most vocal users. I want to find those groups, like the LDWG and give them a voice. Leverage what I’ve learned from bootstrapping the OSOps project to a larger scope.