Data Center Tech Blog

Open @ SanDisk
Summary: As SanDisk® joins the Linux Foundation, Nithya Ruff reflects on the forces and people who shape the open source community, and her role leading open source initiatives at SanDisk

You would have to be living under a rock to not see how much software is changing the world and how open source changes how it is developed. So it is no surprise that as a world class storage company, we at SanDisk recognized the emerging open source ecosystem that was all around us and the need to work collaboratively with it. Whether it is in the mobile space with Android and Tizen ecosystems, or embedded with IoT and Linux ecosystems or in the Enterprise and Cloud arenas with OpenStack and data center open source projects – Flash needs to work with Open Source software.

There was no better place to go to than the Linux Foundation to announce our intent to join and work with the broader open source community. The foundation has become a backbone that provides the needed infrastructure for projects, developers and companies to collaborate and move Linux and open source forward. We were proud to become a member of the Linux Foundation and to be present as a company at LinuxCon/CoudOpen North America in the heart of Chicago last week. Our objective was straight forward:

  • Introduce who SanDisk is and what we do.
  • Share our support for open source and collaborative development to drive innovation.
  • Reach out to the community on areas of collaboration in storage.

Not only were we able to meet these objectives, but the show also got me thinking about some other key areas in open source:

  • The power of meeting:

    There is no substitute for a face-to-face gathering to get aligned, connected and collaborating together. Being there in person, it was exciting to be able to share what we as a company do and to seek feedback on where we can collaborate and support open source innovation. What came of the conversations is what we can do to enable software to take full advantage of flash’s performance, efficiency, footprint and deterministic behavior. This is something we will be looking into in the coming months and years.

  • The 6 C’s:

    To me, Open Source is about 6 Cs. Consumption, contribution, competency, collaboration, community and communication. It was clear to see at the show how the nature of collaboration is changing. It is important for companies to not just be at standards bodies, but at events like open source conferences to collaborate on innovation and open standards. The keynotes re-enforced this and can be found at http://bit.ly/1zS3Lqj.

  • We need more developers. Women developers:

    Because of the increased interest in open source and open technologies, the existing shortage in developers is further exasperated. And furthermore, there are very few women in software development. Studies show that women are only about 10-15% of Silicon Valley companies. At technical conferences it is often even less, about 10%. Linux Con, OSCON and OpenStack among others are playing a critical role in engaging and developing women in technology. From having women on the podium as speakers to a workshop on building allies to a lunch for women at the show, women developers and technologists were welcomed and engaged.

  • Open source relies on open-minded people:

    Finally, one of the talks that I enjoyed the most was the notion of “The New Open Source Professional.” Eileen Evans from HP spoke about people in open source. Generally these are people who are open-minded and are able to connect the dots across multiple disciplines like technology, law, business and community. They often have a generalist background, a non-linear career path and can create collaboration across all these disciplines with a broad perspective on many things. Hearing this talk, made it clear to me that it was what I do and what I love doing. And to be able to do it every day at SanDisk with other open source professionals is fulfilling. I am glad that I don’t live under a rock but instead get to work on collaborative innovation and development and can bring the flash perspective to the dialogue.

Nithya Ruff at Linux Con and CloudOpen

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