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.


[DevOps Zone] StackStorm Takes A Modernized Shot At DevOps

May 15, 2014

If DevOps is a verb and DevOps is a change in culture, does it make sense for anybody to call themselves a DevOps startup?

Sort of. Especially if they’ve done it before […]


OpenStack Atlanta Summit, Day One: Observations, Gripes And A Personal Note

May 13, 2014

by Evan Powell

Yesterday, the first day of the OpenStack Summit in Atlanta, was a great day for StackStorm and for the community. It was a pretty special day for me personally too.

First – the community. I appeared on theCube in which John Furrier and Stuart Miniman asked me to share some thoughts on the OpenStack community. I admit – I’ve run the tape back. On the whole I hope I hit the right balance.

Here’s my gripes:

  • For all the talk about openness, too many of us run on proprietary clouds.  If, and that’s a big IF, there is a tax for running on OpenStack based open clouds like Rackspace and our friends at BlueBox and so forth – PLEASE PAY THE TAX. The Tragedy of the Commons takes many forms.
  • Speaking of the Tragedy of the Commons – I chatted with a friend who is at VMware and contributing to OpenStack, only his check-ins are not being reviewed he thinks for political reasons by the PTL (program leader) who works for a competitor. Look in the mirror PTL! Is that who you want to be?

Well, that felt pretty good. Here is what I love about OpenStack (the quick version):


DevOps Today: Man Or Methodology?

May 12, 2014

by Patrick Hoolboom

I’ve read a number of articles discussing DevOps from just about every angle.  The topics range from What Is A DevOps Engineer to There Is No Such Thing As A “DevOps Team”. The latter was written by Jez Humble who is an expert in Continuous Delivery (his book on the subject is amazing; I definitely recommend reading it). I am not going to try and dissect his statements or rebuke his article, as I agree with him. I’d like to give my spin on what DevOps is today and how it applies to the Development/Operations relationship in organizations of all sizes.

This blog is mostly focused on the benefits of DevOps as seen from the standpoint of the Operations Engineer. (There are a number of higher level, externally facing benefits to adopting DevOps – in the future I will dig deeper into DevOps benefits, and how that impacts the non-technical areas of the business.)

Man or Methodology?

Does DevOps refer to a specific role within the organization?

Are engineers trained to be comfortable working at all levels of the stack?

Or, is DevOps an umbrella term to refer to methodologies as they are applied across the organization?


DAY FIVE: Software Can Learn To Write Better Software

May 10, 2014

by Evan Powell

I think a lot about positive feedback cycles these days. DevOps wins in part because by decreasing the cycle time of development and operations of new capabilities the software gets closer and closer to real user needs. This of course brings more users, which presumably brings more resources, which enables even more projects to further accelerate the delivery of new capabilities. And so on.

That’s the theory and the reality in many shops. However, in too many shops the automation that is core to DevOps quickly becomes technical debt. Unlike components like NoSql data bases or even underlying configuration management, there are not yet projects that have critical mass and hence have the credibility to gain more users and so forth.


[] Moving Towards An Open Source Cloud With OpenStack

May 9, 2014

Over the past years, I’ve played a leading role in helping to bring openness to the storage industry. At Nexenta, we inherited great technology from Sun Microsystems and went to market with an open core business model. This model, and a lot else, worked well and Nexenta has been called “the most disruptive storage company of the last 10 years” in part because of the impact we had on legacy, lock-in based proprietary vendors […]


DAY FOUR: A DevOps Friendly Architecture Is Fundamentally Different Than Legacy Products

May 9, 2014

by Evan Powell

There is a huge amount of DevOps washing going on right now, and for good reason. As CA pointed out in a recent blog, most CIOs now understand that DevOps, done right, is revolutionary. And, what is more, they understand they need to do stuff to get DevOps working. And that stuff includes buying new tools.

So I’m not the only person building software to notice that there is a massive opportunity to provide CIOs with the tooling they need to build and operate software in a DevOps approach. As a result it feels like every software vendor in the world is rebranding their products as DevOps friendly.


DAY THREE: OpenStack Is Important – However, Users Are More Pragmatic And Agnostic Than Ever

May 8, 2014

by Evan Powell

Yesterday I wrote a bit about the need for a community to step in to empower more than the top few operators to achieve DevOps levels of productivity in developing and operating software.

Today I expand upon those thoughts a little bit. OpenStack is absolutely one of the top 5 reasons we founded StackStorm. It is arguably the most important OpenSource project in the world right now in part because it is so much larger than any one project, even Hadoop.

Which leads to driver #3:

OpenStack is important – however, users are more pragmatic and agnostic than ever.


[VMblog] Q&A: Interview With StackStorm, Emerging From Stealth To Increase Productivity Of DevOps Operators

May 7, 2014

With the latest news around StackStorm emerging from stealth mode, I was able to connect with the company’s CEO and co-founder, Evan Powell, to learn more about what this company was doing to increase productivity for DevOps operators […]


DAY TWO: There Are Not Enough DevOps Unicorns In The World – And There Never Will Be

May 7, 2014

by Evan Powell

Yesterday I wrote a little bit about what led us to start StackStorm, focusing on the massive shift happening in IT towards a DevOps approach to building and operating software. I don’t think you can overstate the importance of this shift.

However, there are barriers. And that’s where driver #2 for us starting StackStorm comes in:

There are not enough DevOps unicorns in the world – and there never will be.

The ideal DevOps engineer is a full stack engineer who can code at least in python and is really good at cross-functional collaboration. We are a magnet for this type of unicorn – we have hired a few and have a handful in our utterly kick-ass advisory board.