Automating OpenStack: Join StackStorm’s Online Meetup July 17

July 11, 2014

by Evan Powell

We’re looking forward to co-hosting next week’s OpenStack Online Meetup on July 17! Hosted by Rafael Knuth, OpenStack and Hadoop community manager and Stephen Spector, HP cloud evangelist, the meetup is a great forum to bring together the OpenStack IT community from across the world, to facilitate dialogue and share ideas, especially on new technologies.

In the meetup, our CTO and co-founder, Dmitri Zimine, will discuss automation approaches and projects within the OpenStack ecosystem. As we’ve mentioned before, we’re big believers in OpenStack. It’s one of the largest open source projects in the world, and the community and corporate supporters of the community have made broad OpenStack adoption almost inevitable. We particularly like the OpenStack mantra “automate all the things.”

With the rise of OpenStack and similar approaches comes a more open environment comprised of loosely coupled components, each of which can be automated itself. Add the massive acceleration in the rate of change occasioned by agile and DevOps approaches to management and IT has an entirely new environment to manage. And automation is at the very core of current approaches to management.

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[Press Release] StackStorm To Co-Host OpenStack Online Meetup On Automation Tools

July 10, 2014

Palo Alto, Calif. – StackStorm, a software company leading the third wave of operations automation, today announced it will host a joint online meetup with OpenStack Online Meetup, focused on the OpenStack IT community across the world. During the meetup, attendees will discuss automation projects within OpenStack, their maturity, possible use cases and their likely direction.

Organized by Rafael Knuth, OpenStack and Hadoop community manager, and Stephen Spector, HP cloud evangelist, the OpenStack Online Meetup aims to facilitate dialogue across the OpenStack ecosystem, as well as the greater IT community. Dmitri Zimine, co-founder and CTO of StackStorm, will join them to discuss OpenStack automation projects including Mistral, Heat, TaskFlow and Congress, and provide best practices for each. He will discuss each tool in detail and its benefits to IT and the organization as a whole.

“The OpenStack Online meetup is a great forum for users to come together and explore new tools in the ecosystem,” said Knuth. “We look forward to co-hosting this session with Dmitri to discuss the current state of IT automation and how it will evolve within the OpenStack ecosystem.”

What: OpenStack Online Meetup: Automating OpenStack with StackStorm
Where: Google+ Hangout, register here: http://bit.ly/VT81tj
When: Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. PT
Social Media: Official hashtag: #OpenStackOM. Follow StackStorm on Twitter @Stack_Storm or OpenStack Online Meetup @OpenStack_OM
URL: For more information visit: http://stackstorm.com/news-events/

“As enterprises adopt OpenStack, their infrastructure changes drastically, and automation tools can enable IT to easily transition to open source applications,” said Zimine. “This meetup is an opportunity to share what I have learned working with open source automation tools over the last few years. The next wave of automation is coming, and a good understanding of available tools will help IT make a successful transition.”

Chat with us during the meetup or submit questions via Twitter @OpenStack_OM or IRC #OpenStack-Community @Freenode.

Recorded Video Session

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What Is Mistral And Why StackStorm Cares: Workflow Service For Cloud Automation

July 7, 2014
by Dmitri Zimine

At StackStorm, we believe that workflow is a key ingredient for cloud automation. That’s why we became drivers and core contributors to Mistral, a new workflow service for OpenStack.

Why the need for a new workflow service? Haven’t we already experienced Workflow Management? Aren’t a number of established, mature workflow products[1] out there already? Yes, and yes, but…

With a decade of experience building system orchestration and automation products[2] and seeing them used in the field, I realized that using a traditional BPM (business process management) oriented workflow is not a good match with today’s pace of change and scale of operations. The rich variety of workflow patterns that are bragged about by traditional BPM systems are never used in practice. The graphical representation of workflow, so exciting for non-technical BPM users, becomes a handcuff for techy admins. And complex XML-based syntax made working with workflow definition files a nightmare.

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Join Us At DevOpsDays Silicon Valley This Week

June 26, 2014

by Evan Powell

DevOps is all about the community movement – it’s an approach that is inherently collaborative. That’s why we love attending DevOps events and sharing ideas with others in the industry. DevOps Days Silicon Valley is around the corner and we’re expecting to see some great sessions. It’s the fifth anniversary for the conference, and we’re happy to be part of the program this year!

Patrick Hoolboom, an avid Stormer and contributor to our blog, will be presenting on the “10 Reasons Why DevOps is the Greatest Shift in the IT Industry.” There is a huge shift in IT towards a DevOps approach for building and operating software, with the goal of improving productivity. Conferences like DevOps Days are evidence of this shift and growth in the community.

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DevOps > Cloud, SaaS, SDDC, And Apple Pie

by Evan Powell

Over the weekend I was chatting with a really successful venture investor who recently published a top trends list.

That made me think about DevOps vs. Cloud and vs. SaaS and vs. Mobile and other disruptors.  I’m convinced more than ever than DevOps is the right focus for professional investors and for all of us investing our time in developing, adopting and operating IT. Examining and understanding DevOps is more useful than understanding cloud, SaaS, SDDC (software defined data centers) and more – and here’s a few reasons why.

1.  DevOps is a common denominator

Keep peeling back the layers at the top operators and, underneath, you find the organizational structure and the set of tools that is DevOps. Some of these operators use containers, but some use bare metal, and some use virtualization – so there is quite a bit of variance there. Yes, there are other common patterns like developing applications that are stateless themselves and able to aggregate underlying resources – however DevOps in organization and in technology is a common denominator in a way that, for example, virtualization alone or technologies X, Y or Z are not.  

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If DevOps Is So Great, Why Isn’t Everyone Doing It? Enterprise Barriers To Entry For DevOps

June 11, 2014

by Patrick Hoolboom

I spend a lot of time talking about the positive effects of moving to a more DevOps oriented approach. The reasoning behind this because I truly believe it, and get excited just thinking about it. An interesting thing I have found is that, when explaining these concepts and what StackStorm is about to non-technical people, I almost always get the same question:

“If DevOps is so great, why isn’t everyone doing it?”

This is a perfectly valid question, so I thought I’d try to break it down into what I see as the biggest barriers to entry for a truly successful DevOps initiative. I thought back about the various places I have worked, or the reasons I have heard for not wanting to move away from the Operations/Development silo approach and was able to distill them down to 3 points (actually 4 but the last one seems to be wrapped up in the other three).

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[Virtual-Strategy Magazine] Interview With Evan Powell, CEO And Co-Founder Of StackStorm

June 6, 2014

VSM: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Could you start off by giving our readers an introduction to StackStorm?

Evan Powell: Of course. StackStorm is a DevOps automation company, created by myself and Dmitri Zimine, with the goal of leading the third wave of operations automation. We created StackStorm because we want to deliver self-driving, self-learning operations automation to the mainstream enterprise […]

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A Clean Slate: Establishing A DevOps Mentality From The Start

June 5, 2014

by Patrick Hoolboom

The last few weeks have been a flurry of customer meetings, infrastructure design, and recovering from the OpenStack summit. The summit was an incredible experience. Listening to the frustrations from so many people over systems deployment and administration tasks really validated many of my views of classical IT Operations. Seeing the infrastructure pain points of other organizations, combined with the design plans currently swirling around in my head, has me thinking more and more about the future of IT Operations. How will operations evolve to support the rapid infrastructure growth commonly experienced by organizations in this day and age while still maintaining as many nines (high availability) of uptime as possible?

I find myself in a very unique position here at StackStorm. Our company culture is evolving from a foundation of quality engineering, accountability, and flexibility. It enables us to build out infrastructure and processes in such a way that we can avoid many of the pitfalls that a typical operations organization would encounter. It is truly exciting, even freeing, to be able to think this way. We are not breaking down the silos encountered in a typical technical organization – we are actively avoiding them from the very beginning. The usual startup environment runs like this.  Not only do you code, rack and stack servers, and do software releases, you literally take out the garbage and vacuum. The team works together to do what needs to be done without thinking “That isn’t my responsibility.” This open-minded mentality is born out of necessity. Naturally, as companies grow, groups become more specialized and lines are drawn in the sand. Some of this is needed. You want your engineers to be able to focus on technical tasks but many times this turns parts of the organization into black boxes, and tends to create bottlenecks in various processes. At best this leads to frustrations or confusion, at worst the processes get completely circumvented.

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From Orwellian Nightmares To Unicorns: Why I’m All In On DevOps

June 2, 2014

by Evan Powell

Over the years I’ve helped literally thousands of customers gain efficiencies in their data centers. I’ve met and become friendly with a lot of IT pros but I’ve got to admit – I never envied them. Well, maybe I envied some of the views in NY and Jersey City. And some of the toys they got to play with over the years were amazing.

Nonetheless, I didn’t envy them because many of my friends in director and VP roles spent a huge percentage of their time fighting politics that resulted in Orwellian distortions of the truth. A couple of stories from the early 2000s might help illustrate my point:

1. Two guys pulling all-nighters delivering a $1.5B roll out of IP communications while 25+ project managers debate progress from 9-5

The headline pretty much captures it. This now too-big-to-fail bank, as well as their vendor, had brought in several project and program managers to ensure groups from facilities through supply chain through security and operations were “aligned.” I spent a couple of meetings getting to know all of these project managers before realizing that there were two guys working every night, all night, to manually, using fingers and spreadsheets, push and validate changes. Eventually those operators quit – and the project ground to a halt.

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StackStorm Advisory Board: How It Works, Plus A New Member

May 28, 2014

by Evan Powell

While I am a third time founding CEO who has helped build some successful infrastructure software companies, I’m continuously learning. I don’t have a particular formula for how to build the right combination of market positioning, company capabilities, company tactics, strategies, and more.

In leading companies I rely on my own broad experience, common frameworks from Michael Porter and others, and surrounding myself with people smarter than me who are unafraid to show it.

I believe each company takes on a certain personality – a sense of the company that can be felt. This is where design thinking perhaps comes to play.

For example, whereas Nexenta was generally a scrappy company that needed to break the rules to shake the status quo, StackStorm’s personality is more that of a relatively polished upstart that expects to be the best at everything it does.

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