Onward & Upward, Into the Wide Blue Yonder and the Great Unknown

Onward & Upward, Into the Wide Blue Yonder and the Great Unknown

Today was the end of the beginning. I've been a little out of sorts for the past few weeks and I don't really know how to write this post. I've rewritten this thing nearly a dozen times so I'll just get it over with by acknowledging the past, say thank you, and give a nod to the future.

It has been a privilege to be part of Rackspace

The Journey

Since 2011 I've been a Racker, and I've built my professional identity around the fact that I've been a Racker. Needless to say, my journey at The Rack has been epic. However, there is an end to everything, to good things as well, and today is the end of my epic journey at Rackspace.

When I started at Rackspace, I was hired as a Level One System Administrator, and life was hectic. In my first role I learned fast and broke things, but my team was always there to back me up. The rate of change we needed to deal with was oppressive but equally impressive was how the team dealt with everything thrown at them. The first team I was on was a rag-tag bunch of incredibly smart individuals who knew how to operate in the fast-paced "Cloudy" world we were living in. It was in this role where I learned the power of a fantastic team staffed with supportive folks. I would later realize an excellent team was made fantastic because of an empowering culture.

When I joined Rackspace, I thought my team was unique, but I quickly learned they were the rule, not the exception. As an immigrant Texan (I came from California) I had the pre-conceived notion that IT was singular and collaboration was the fastest way to being replaced in our industry, however, I was wrong. Rackspace flourished because of a combination of company culture, fantastic teams, and beautiful humans.

Cloud Servers First Shift

Deploying the Private Cloud

One of my most notable achievements while at Rackspace has been the founding and fostering of what would become the OpenStack-Ansible project, the foundation of the business I would call home for the majority of my tenure at Rackspace; The Rackspace Private Cloud powered by OpenStack.

I'm glad we had the times together just to laugh and sing a song, seems like we just got started and then before you know it, the times we had together were gone -Dr. Seuss

On the surface, OpenStack-Ansible is nothing more than a simple OpenStack deployment project using Ansible. However, once you look a little deeper, you'll find a robust, vibrant, and hyper-supportive community of operators, developers, and deployers. All of which are coming together across all walks of life to assist one another in building clouds powered by open source technology.

Working in the community has been incredibly rewarding. I've met folks from all over the planet, I've worked with companies that are essential to our everyday life, and I'm proud of how the community has grown. OpenStack-Ansible (Ansible-LXC-RPC, OS-Ansible-Deployment, OSAD, OSA) started as my rage project and would become a Rackspace project. The community was initially staffed only by Rackers, but since it's initial founding, it's bloomed into one of the best open source communities I've ever been part of.

The OpenStack-Ansible community is full of amazing humans, many of which have become more than just community members and colleagues. I've met friends and grown my extended family.

When my leaders from Rackspace allowed me to announce our, at the time top-secret, cloud deployment solution at the Paris Summit, I felt honored to represent Rackspace. We were on the forefront of technology and innovation. Less than a month later our top-secret deployment methodology would be committed to the OpenStack (Stackforge) and made into a fully open source project. I knew I had hit pay dirt within the Rackspace Private Cloud when my leaders trusted me to lead the open source charge as a Project Technical Lead (PTL) thereby creating a new community within OpenStack. The excitement internally was tangible, and a growing community of outsiders fueled our internal drive for excellence.

Oh the things you can find, if you don't stay behind -Dr. Seuss

My little proof of concept (rage project) had grown into a corporate workhorse and was rapidly open sourced. Eventually, our efforts would morph into a self-sustaining community. While I had a hand in starting the project, the folks in the community have made it successful. The leaders of OSA today are the community who are charting a new direction for the project, they're building the future of open infrastructure, and they continue to evolve in new and exciting ways; their success is something I'm immensely proud to have been apart of.

Thank you Rackspace

I've had a fantastic career at Rackspace! From working on the Open Cloud and OpenStack to leading and mentoring folks, I've enjoyed my time and opportunities Rackspace. I've met beautiful people, I've had the chance to work on challenging problems, and most of all I've had the privilege of being able to call myself a Racker. Today I'm leaving The Rack but doing so on my terms, in pursuit of the unknown. I'll be forging ahead in a new realm, with new people, working on new challenges. As I exit the revolving doors for the last time, I walk out knowing I did my part to grow this company and build upon an existing foundation of Racker excellence.

I've worked with the Rackspace Private Cloud for a long time, and the business is flourishing. While I know there's still more I could do, it's now time for someone else to write the next chapter of the RPC story.

Thank you, Rackspace!

I would not be the person I am today had this company not given me a chance 2011. I started in 2011 as a Level One System Administrator, and I leave in 2019 as a Principal Engineer. Never in my life did I believe such growth was possible at a single company. In my old world view folks had to get out to go up but not at The Rack. Needless to say, my life as a Racker is coming to an end but I can't say thank you enough to all the people I've worked with and around. It's the people that made The Rack what it is and it's the people that have molded me into the person I am today.

Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened -Dr. Seuss

As Kelley Freeman says, "The last act of leading, is leaving." and my time has come. It has been a privilege to be part of Rackspace for nearly eight years, and while I'll now be an outsider, I'm still in the Rackspace corner cheering Rackers along, never betting against them, and hopeful for their continued success.

Onward & Upward, Into the Wide Blue Yonder and the Great Unknown!

You oughta be thankful a whole heaping lot for the people and places you’re lucky you’re not -Dr. Seuss

Today I'm saying "hasta la próxima vez" to the place I've called home and will be embarking on a new technical journey where I'll delve into Enterprise Software Development within an Open Organization which Pushes the Boundaries of Technology as a join a team that's Building a better foundation for the future of IT.

So with this word jumble completed, and my smattering of Dr. Suess quotes keeping things light hearted I conclude. Now I rest and reflect on how thankful I am for having been a Racker Core.