I am making good progress having been home a few weeks since getting out the Acute Stroke Unit at the RUH in Bath. I thought I'd post a message here in video format to say thank you to everyone for their messages of support and goodwill. It's meant a lot to me so rather than type it all out, I've recorded it and put it online.
If you follow me on Twitter or social media you'll be aware that I've been a bit poorly and been treated after having had a mini stroke. A wake up call to start prioritising my working hours and my deliverables rather than trying to do 15/16 hr days doing a European day then US hours plus other bits. 2014 was a pretty awful year for me dealing with a lot of crap that I had to wade through that made me stressed to the point of personal breaking point. This, therefore has been a complete wake up call.
So for now this means the podcasts that were lined up are on hold and a few articles that I was working on are also in the pending tray. There are a few articles to go live this week and next on TheStack.com and prep for FOSDEM continues in the hope I am well enough to go. If I am well enough I will mix the podcast content and release it but not in the next few days.
For now I am laid up, grateful to the amazing ambulance staff from Bath and North East Somerset Ambulance Service, and the staff and consultants at the Acute Stroke Unit at the RUH in Bath, the specialist MRI/CT imaging staff and everyone who reached out to help diagnose me, and then treat me. The UK NHS is in total crisis at the minute and without resources to help many. My experiences were amazing and I was looked after, made to feel safe and diagnosed promptly able to receive the treatment that saved my life.
The Conservative government should be disgusted at it's lack of care for the NHS. The staff deserve our support and our applause not our derision.
For now I'm doing very little, my wife has been told to make me behave until I am able to return to a normal everyday functioning life.
So it's the festive season that has crept up on us already. Seasons Greetings folks !
Now an apology
The last five months for me have been a blur. I've been locked away writing a new portal thats launching at Red Hat in the New Year as well as working hard on the ever growing Cloud portfolio at Red Hat.
The blog has suffered because I've been more or less writing for a living and not having a single moment to myself to concentrate on getting new editorial out there. Also with the new Red Hat Cloud blog going live so soon I wasn't sure as to whether I'd kill this and just concentrate on stuff. However its now obvious that with everything I commercially write having to go past a team of fedora wearing legal eagles that to drop this conduit to the public would be stupid. Here I can post pretty much whatever I decide to within reason as I own the domain and the service.
So some new stuff thats coming up. In the New Year we launch a new portal - HombresInHats.com which is live now with a holding page and that will be featuring a cadre of some of the best talent at Red Hat, John Mark Walker, Thomas Cameron, James Kirkland, Jon Masters, Bill Bauman, Jon Benedict, Dave Neary, Rhys Oxenham, I'll be writing and broadcasting from there too. We could and should have gone live this quarter but if you hadn't noticed Red Hat had a HUGE quarter just published, continuing our steady and reliable market growth. With Cloud and non RHEL revenues now growing double digits year on year you can understand why we haven't had time to record stuff in our own spare time.
Also, I am relaunching The CloudEvangelist Radio Show thats sat dormant since June 12th. I've recorded two shows already and I'm doing a third between now and New Year with two special guests. Expect that content to go out over Christmas vacation period now I have downtime to concentrate. It will be available on Stitcher, Podfeed, iTunes and all the usual locations so watch for the launch post with links to those locations and the NEW RSS feed. The old RSS feed is dead dead dead - please delete it and add the new location when I announce it.
Other stuff. I am in talks to write a book with a legal eagle here in the UK aimed at the CIO talking about cloud law, intellectual property, cloud security and basic stuff to keep folk out of jail.
FOSDEM comes up 30th January in Belgium. I will be attending with the Red Hat crew so if you're coming out come appear on the radio show I will be recording for a fourth successive year.
So for now, from the family here at Red Hat, my family here in the South West of the UK, I raise a glass to your good health, thanks for staying the distance and look out for the radio stuff I release in the next few days.
I have been fortunate enough to be a week into a fortnights vacation away with my wife and kids at our holiday home in Spain. So right now as I look out across a beach to the sea with Gibraltar in the distance and the temperature dropping from its afternoon highs, nursing a cold beer, I've been able to fully catch up with every video released from OpenStack Summit in Paris which I wholly deliberately chose not to attend for once. I needed to recharge batteries badly and it was my genuine health or the insanity of Paris and the hubbub and noise of overfilled rooms and mass lunches and rain vs a hot sandy beach, long drinks, my amazing (decade younger) wife in a bikini and Spanish beer and food. The latter won. I make no apologies for wanting to take two weeks off for the first time in twenty five months. Anyone wanting to argue the difference needs to understand I can drown you in a the shallow end of any of the resort swimming pools as soon as look at you, after this week, I have practiced my technique. I am Aquaman of the Marriott set.
So over to OpenStack Paris 2014. The view from my sun lounger.
I've watched from afar like a demon this week. It's been great to catch up online and watch all the sessions. Actually when you're at the Summit there are sessions overlapping so you can't be in all places at once and while not all content was video'd and online the content that is there is superb. Hats off to the foundation for getting it there so fast too. You can watch the content here. Congratulations to the Red Hat team for getting so many talks accepted and the delivery of the content.
One thing is very clear, there is still enormous drive, passion and mass determination to make OpenStack releases qualified successes. Nobody can detract from the earnest efforts of all parties no matter who the contributing employer is.
First shot across the bows - my boats bigger than your boat...
Let me get one thing very straight from the get go. One thing I was very glad to see this Summit from the videos and decks that I've seen as a remote watcher. Paris seems, somewhat thankfully, to have had a lack of the marketing BS that has become so prevalent with the constant who is the highest ranking contributor to the project as a whole. We're professionals no matter what tshirt or cap or hat you wear and who pays your salary. We're chasing a common goal and waving willies about in public to say who is the biggest or who is the best is just incredibly poor taste and detracts from a lot of the interworking and common core goals that the OpenStack Foundation are attempting to deliver. This is about good code, influencing major adoptable change in how we help people get the infrastructure that fits their cloud business case and frictionless IT. If you are scoring points what else are you missing when it comes to understanding what first world enterprise IT want ?
There are distributions out there, I work for the company who are trying their hardest to make sure it delivers what the market expects building on years of enterprise experience with Linux and putting the best engineering talent behind that gains recognition from the markets wanting to trial and consume it. Those consuming enterprise customers markets don't need or appreciate a poorly conceived marketing slide that is at best oneupmanship, at it's worst just a 140 character land grab, it has no place in thought leadership. Period. Don't tweet me or send me a deck or marketing swag with it on or I'm getting the elephant gun and my steel toe capped boots on and going hunting.
So now I've got my pet moan out of the way lets talk shop as an external watcher perceiving how the world is consuming OpenStack latest greatest in bite sized chunks.
First up, keeping it simple
OpenStack has aggressive release cycles, has a multitude of sub projects and a host of goodwill and contributed code that deservedly allows it to rank as the leader of the upper echelons of Open Source goodness. A shining beacon of how to do things and achieve both success from a release and maintenance perspective but also of marshalling talent and consumptive code contributions from individuals, companies and projects to come up with a release cycle that is hard work to maintain against. My congratulations - and genuine admiration - of those involved many of whom I know and respect hugely can go on the record here as it has in presentations and podcasts I've released all over the world.
One issue is perception by the watching consuming public and the enterprise architects and that is the need, the fundamental core principle of keeping it simple. Plainly put Icehouse and Juno are still seen as rocket science to many in core consumable released non supported format. I watched one video from the team at Rackspace that called it exactly right and I hope that it gets some airtime and credit as it was right on the money as a call to arms for the Foundation and the maintainers to get to a point where ease of use has to be a mission statement. Fostering ecosystems is critical, bringing functionality into the core is a constant need.
Do we need any more plaudits ?
Not knocking Jim Zemlin in his keynote as anyone else blowing hype and sunshine up our combined asses as to how big "a blockbuster" is simply needs to stay home, the last thing you need to do in a room full of excited OpenStack types is to pat mutual backs and inflate already inflated egos. What's actually needed is more critical leadership around concentration on maybe looking to increase the width of the release window (six months is overly aggressive and actually makes new adopters shrink back in fear) and to educate and mentor maintainers of sub projects as to the needs to increase the fundamental ease of use of their functions and core capabilities.
Also - are we solving the problems that actually are relevant in the marketplace ? Are we moving at such a pace that we're not engaging with required functionality and getting instead the sexy stuff like SDN in there because it's en vogue ?
Right now, today, I see more, bigger, mainstay companies who have deployed Apache CloudStack over OpenStack and these aren't small organisations they're big companies, because it does what they need to and it doesn't terrify the life out of them. If OpenStack is going to be in that same vein, remembering that the Apache CloudStack ecosystem combined with the clueless parent company has 0.1% of the mindshare and the groundswell push behind it then it has to do basic stuff better. Some of that is packaging, fairy dust, documentation and means that Foundation and contributors need to engage better with their future consumptive masses.
For us, we take what is out there, polish it, build it into a supported product with a pedigree and core function behind it and deliver it to people who want to feel safe. If I was a CIO today looking at OpenStack I'd want to match core fears of "being able to keep up" with a comfort factor of having something supported. At the core the functionality and the best practices need to tighten up to allow OpenStack the success it deserves. Theres a very real chance it will miss a high percentage of its goals if it doesn't listen.
My genuine admiration and worthy applause goes out to all speakers, panellists, those on booth duty and who took time out to attend. Me, I was on a beach with a beer. Genuinely, right now as yet another cold beverage disappears and the light fades over the white stucco plaster of the houses here in Estepona on the Costa Del Sol I need to be convinced that catching up via YouTube, Twitter and the polished editorial of Steven J Vaughn Nicholls et al isn't a better way to do Summit than fighting for a seat in a crowded room and queuing for a mass meal with 4600 other attendees.
Kudos to all of you who did make the effort to go.