Interview: OpenQRM's Open Source Systems Management
If you're a systems manager, it's a good idea to have OpenQRM on your radar. It's an open source systems management platform that integrates with existing components in enterprise data centers. We checked in with Matt Rechenburg, Project Manager for openQRM, on how people are using it and where it's headed.
OStatic: A lot has been said about the reason people contribute to Open Source. What are your reasons for getting involved? What motivates you to participate, and then freely give your work away?
Matt Rechenburg: Information must be free. I am a strong believer in the open-source development model. Here is my view about programmers and development teams : A programming task can be done in an infinite number of ways.
How it is done is in the responsibility of the programmer. If he is lazy he will just do the required tasks. If he is not experienced, he will do lots of un-needed, maybe insecure stuff. If he is motivated he will look up all different sources and think about new, better ways of solving problems.
So, there are lots of different types of programmers who all tend to be kind of individualistic, which is good because they all focus with all their effort on different topics. In the open-source community I see such people grouping up with other programmers to form strong development teams. They find people they like to work with, benefiting from new ideas. The shared project benefits from the "distributed brain" directed by the bundled motivation of its members. It's a kind of evolution.
OStatic: What technologies does openQRM use?
Matt Rechenburg: openQRM provides a fully automated framework for rapid, appliance-based deployment and comes with HA functionalities for managed servers and the openQRM-server itself. openQRM uses a custom plugin-engine to combine the power of the following third-party projects/products within a single management-console :
- - VMware
- - Linux-Vserver
- - Nagios
- - LVM
- - Netapp
- - dhcpd
- - open-iscsi/iscsi-target
- - NFS
Additional plugins for VMware Esx, Citrix, KVM and other virtualization
technologies are on the future roadmap with a high priority.
OStatic: What products are your closest alternatives? What advantages/disadvantages does your product have over these?
Matt Rechenburg: There are some projects like Virtual Iron and Zenoss which are focusing on the same tasks as openQRM. The advantages of openQRM are its plug-ability and open interfaces to integrate with other third-party projects. Also, it does not lock the users to a specific technology or vendor.
OStatic: Who is your typical user?
Matt Rechenburg: A typical user of openQRM is a system-administrator of an ISP or a person in a QA-department. They are benefitting from openQRM rapid, appliance-based deployment methods which allow them to create new servers based on existing "golden-images." They deploy those new server images to physical systems and/or virtual machines within minutes.
OStatic: What's coming next for openQRM?
Matt Rechenburg: After rewriting the base framework of openQRM completely, which we did for the 4.0 release, we are working on the next 4.1 version which will include some bug fixes, major enhancements in the GUI usability and a few new features.
OStatic: Thanks, Matt. (For more from Matt on OpenQRM, check out this video.)