How I Contribute To OpenStack: Nebula’s Gabriel Hurley

OpenStack is the platform upon which Rackspace has built its open cloud. The community-driven cloud operating system, which Rackspace co-founded, has sparked an open source cloud revolution. Enabling the community of hundreds of developers to contribute code and leverage the OpenStack cloud however they want has created a shift in how applications are developed. This blog series collects insight straight from key developers on the front lines about how they became involved in OpenStack and the open cloud, and what contributions they’ve made.

In this installment, Nebula Inc. Senior Developer Gabriel Hurley discusses what drew him to OpenStack and open source and what he’s done to contribute to the open cloud.

Tell us about yourself.
I’m currently a senior developer at Nebula Inc. I’m “front-end” in the loosest sense; I work primarily in Python and JavaScript, spanning both client and server-side interactions. My background is in design and web development — entirely self-taught — and user interaction and experience is my primary interest.

Why did you become involved in OpenStack?
I was introduced to OpenStack while working at NASA, and my skills were immediately applicable to the nascent dashboard project (which became Horizon). I have a strong personal belief in open source, so this was a natural fit. Within six months I’d hopped jobs and was working full-time on OpenStack helping to build the future of this incredibly important endeavor. A year later I’ve now got commits in all the core projects and I’m a core dev on both Horizon and Keystone.

Tell us about your specific contributions to an OpenStack project (i.e. what the code was and what it did).
Long story short, for Essex I re-envisioned Horizon from the ground up and took it from a single monolithic web app to a framework that anyone can build on. The goal is to level the playing field so that anyone, regardless of design or web experience, can let users interact with their OpenStack project with the same seamless experience. Folsom builds from there and will bring a much richer user experience to the table (my focus has been on making complex workflows user-friendly, reducing friction in the UI and improving security).

My other claim to fame is having written v1 of the python-keystoneclient and having constantly pushed the creation, adoption and coming standardization of the clients and their APIs.

How does OpenStack change your approach to cloud development?
Having been a web guy previously, I’ve learned more about distributed systems, networking, storage and the overall architecture of a cloud than I could ever possibly sum up in a few words. My skills have expanded in every arena as I’ve learned from my own mistakes and those of others. I also believe that’s the hallmark of a good open source community: no matter how brilliant or ignorant you may be, there’s always someone in that community you can learn from.

What are some of the benefits of an open collaboration effort among so many companies sharing open source code, like OpenStack?
The only way OpenStack achieves its ultimate potential is by fostering the largest, most diverse ecosystem possible. That cannot possibly be done by any few developers, any single company or any foundation that guides it. The sum total work of hundreds of companies, thousands of developers and every user around the world will be what allows OpenStack to change the world. ‘Nuff said.

Thank you, Gabriel, for your contributions to OpenStack and the open cloud.

Are you a developer contributing to OpenStack? We’d love to hear more about what you’re doing and why. Leave a comment here or contact me at

And check out previous installments in the series “How I Contribute To OpenStack.”


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