Dell: Can you introduce yourself? What are you doing and whom are you working for?
Hendrik Volkmer: I am co-founder of a company called Cloudbau. We are based out of Berlin and we are doing OpenStack deployments, DevOps consulting and Chef training.
Q: You recently wrote a blog post series "There will be no reliable cloud". Can you tell about that?
A: There is this notion that you can’t use the cloud right now because it is too unreliable and we should really wait until it becomes reliable and then we can put all these business related applications on it. My view is a little bit different. I think it won’t get any more reliable. As Amazon shows all kind of people really like to bang that it’s so unreliable. Let’s see what Google Cloud Service will provide. I think it’s just a matter of scale that you cannot provide a really reliable service at this scale and so that’s basically what the series is about. And I think people should just accept that and try to make the applications reliable in a way that they can accept failure and make use of the cloud anyway and build reliable services instead of waiting for reliable infrastructure underneath.
Q: Can you give us any real life examples for that sort of approach?
A: I think the best example is probably Netflix. They are doing a lot of work to get their service reliable on the unreliable Amazon infrastructure. And they have really good presentations, blueprints on the architecture and how you could actually achieve this kind of resiliency.
Q: What is your view on OpenStack? Where do you think does OpenStack shine? - public cloud or private cloud or both?
A: I think there are a few well-known public clouds based on OpenStack. Rackspace and HP Cloud are the most prominent examples. I think though that OpenStack currently is more in the private cloud space because people really like that they can actually deploy OpenStack themselves. And from my experience I think this will settle and there will be some kind of blueprints or known good configurations of OpenStack private cloud settings that you can just use and deploy and then have your own cloud. And even if you just want to have your own cloud infrastructure for your internal services or if you have a hybrid approach … this is where it really becomes interesting when there more public cloud services based on OpenStack because you can actually use public cloud with the same API as the private cloud.
Q: What is your definition of DevOps?
A: It’s about making the dev and ops teams working together and not really creating a new team. There’s actually a really good blog post called “There’s no such thing as a DevOps team”. And I agree because I think it’s really an approach of dev and ops guys working together and trying to understand what the limitations and the plans of each group are. Dev developers normally wouldn’t just really care about operations. They just want to get the stuff out. Today I think the focus is more on rapid delivery. This has to include some kind of understanding of how the operations will work. And the operations guys really want to have the stuff working, because they are there to make it work and if something fails they are the ones who get the call at night. If these groups work together, you can actually achieve fast delivery with a very high service quality.
Q: Your company Cloudbau is co-sponsoring devopsdays. What are your expectations?
A: We hope to get more interesting contacts, we talk to a lot of people here at the event, share this mindset of getting to work together and actually using these new technologies to achieve better service delivery. And what I think is most interesting in all these conferences will always be case studies, experience reports, war stories of people who are actually doing stuff in a different way and explaining how they do it and we can all learn from them.
Q: Do you see any differences in meet-ups like these compared to other regions such as United States?
A: I think generally in United States people are more progressive, whereas in Europe or especially in Germany, people are more conservative. They’re waiting until this stuff actually works and then they’re trying it. Obviously, in Berlin it’s a little bit different because there are a lot of start ups that are actually utilizing those technologies they would use in the U.S. But generally speaking, I think, the German IT space is very conservative and that’s why I think cloud technologies aren’t that established in Germany like they are in the U.S..
Q: Okay, Hendrik. Thank you very much.
A: Thank you.
Hendrik’s blog, Twitter and Github.