GlusterFS Community Profile: Joe Julian

We are publishing a series of profiles on the winners of our recent community contest, and today we’re starting with the grand prize winner, Joe Julian. Joe has transformed the #gluster IRC channel in the 2 years since he started participating, and he also maintains his own repository of RPMs for 32-bit builds of GlusterFS: we don’t support 32-bit builds, and he stepped in to fill this gap. You may have seen Joe’s picture before, like when he won the Gluster award for ‘Hacker of the Year’ – an honor we bestowed on him last year. Included in this post is his picture that he took upon receiving his prize, a Motorola Xoom. I’ll post the picture of him with his new award as soon as he receives it 🙂

Joe Julian
Joe Julian, with his 'Hacker of the Year' award

What follows are excerpts from an email interview I had with Joe:

How long have you used GlusterFS? What was it that led you to try it?

I implemented GlusterFS at Ed Wyse Beauty Supply in March of 2009 as a result of a total failure of DRBD to meet our system’s needs. When DRBD became corrupted, since it was a block level failure, this (if not for our backup routines) would have resulted in a massive data loss. It did result in about 18 hours of critical system downtime as I restored and brought systems back online. I looked for solutions that would store whole files so if there was a problem, it wouldn’t affect everything. I wanted to find a solution with no single points of failure. GlusterFS was the only solution I found that met all my criteria.

What should everyone know about your participation in the GlusterFS community (if they don’t know already)?

I’m a chronic fixer. I can’t help myself. Even when I know I should just walk away shaking my head, I throw together a test structure to see if I can figure a way to make it work. I’m also kinda nice, I guess. It’s very important to me that I help people in the way I’d like to be helped, not like some other channels that treat you as if you don’t deserve to be using their solution if you don’t already know everything <cough>#centos</cough>.

Why do you participate in the Gluster community?

I participate in the Gluster community because I was frustrated that when I needed help, there was nobody there. It’s more of an aggressive assault on the general lack of help I got. You’ve heard of passive aggressive, well I take it to a whole new level… Besides that, by helping other people learn about GlusterFS, and by helping identify problems, I learn more. The more I learn, the better I do my job. The more bugs I report, the better the system works for Ed Wyse Beauty Supply.

What was a Gluster Community Moment (tm) that you’ll never forget?

I went to OSCon and met with a bunch of people whose names I’d only heard, or that I’ve talked to on IRC. I felt, for the first time, that I was now a part of the open source community that has made everything I do possible. It was all because of my participation with Gluster. People actually knowing who I was was pretty unexpected. As huge as my ego sounds on IRC, I’m a fairly humble guy. I don’t really feel like I do anything for this inconceivably huge open source movement, even though I’ve been a consumer of it since kernel-0.96. I’m just a guy that hangs out and BSes with people on company time. To be included felt pretty cool.

Bonus: Other than yourself, who’s your favorite Gluster community member, and why?

I can’t say there is a favorite community member. Everybody that helps makes me happy. This silent channel with 16 people is now a thriving community with over 100. There are so many people giving back, it’s incredible. Every single person that answers someone else’s question adds themselves to my favorites.

Editor’s note: I’ll say it now – Joe Julian is my favorite community member, because he laid the groundwork for all future community participation. What he’s been able to accomplish in #gluster is nothing short of phenomenal. Hats off to Joe and the rest of our community members who make this one of the most friendly open source communities around.

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