Please allow me to introduce myself…

As Gluster’s newly-annointed community guy, I wanted to give a big “Hello” to the Gluster community. After a 3-year hiatus from commercial open source projects, it feels great to be back in the saddle. A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was charged with building developer communities (we called them foundries) for SourceForge.net. Since then, I’ve been involved in a couple of startups, including Hyperic. Most recently, I was at Splunk. As great as that was – and it was pretty great – there was definitely something missing. That something was the good will that comes from empowering anyone with smarts and desire to create things out of the building blocks you gave them. Useful, productive things that power economies, stimulate innovation, and lift others out of poverty. Having dabbled on the other side of the fence for the last three years, I can now say with some authority that this is only possible with open source; everything else falls just short of granting a community the level of control and power they need to really own their involvement.

Of course, Gluster, Inc. is no non-profit, so it doesn’t hurt that giving free software to the world also gives us a competitive advantage in the storage industry. I was intrigued by the co-founders’ belief that the future of storage is in the software, and the industry-wide movement towards clouds and virtualization corroborate this view. The last generation of proprietary software tightly bound to a proprietary hardware layer simply doesn’t make sense in a world where abstraction layers blur where computing resources begin and end. It is now relatively easy to add memory and compute power, but storage is the final frontier for distributed computing. Now, with GlusterFS, we can add petabytes of storage, decoupled from specific devices and blocks for greater elasticity and scalability. Gluster provides high availability by synchronously replicating files locally with our n-Way replication and across large geographic distances with asynchronous Geo-replication, and – most importantly – we do it all elastically. As an added bonus, we give you this without requiring developers to re-write their code. It’s an open source community guy’s dream: rock-solid open source foundation, dynamic user and developer community, cutting edge cloud computing, and adding value for customers and community participants around the world.

I’m here because, frankly, we need to establish a more productive dialogue with our user and developer communities. If there are particular community-related topics you’d like to hear about, let me know! And if there’s anything you would like to see us do (or not do) vis a vis the Gluster community, write about it in the comments below. You can reach me in a myriad of ways:

On Twitter, I’m @johnmark and I often post under the @gluster handle. I’m ‘johnmark’ on our IRC channel, #gluster at irc.freenode.net, and I post to our Facebook page, too. And finally, if you must send me email, you may contact me at jwalker ‘at’ gluster.com.

I look forward to seeing your comments in the space below, and elsewhere. Drop me a line!

-John Mark

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