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OCS 2020 Breakout: Kapil Thangavelu

Kapil Thangavelu is a technical luminary in the area of cloud computing. He is the creator and lead maintainer of the popular open source project Cloud Custodian and most recently co-founded Stacklet. Kapil has worked on open source initiatives at Amazon Corp, Capital One, and Canonical/Ubuntu. Kapil was also a consultant around open source for ten years, working with enterprise, non-profits, education and federal sector. Notable clients included BroadCom, The Nature Conservancy, CA, Oxfam, NASA, DARPA, United Nations (DESA), and the Library of Congress.

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Kapil Thengavelu is the creator of the popular Cloud Custodian project for enforcing policy and hygiene in clouds everywhere.

Tell me about your background. How did you get into the technology industry, programming, open source early on? - 0:18

I always think that super formative curiosities shape technologists. I know a lot of former musicians that are amazing programmers and technologists. What drew you to history? - 2:02

Fast-forwarding many years, tell us about the origins of Cloud Custodian, an open-source project you’re pretty well known for. Where did that project originate and why did you create it? - 3:25

Everyone’s moving to cloud, which creates a new domain of complexity. You mentioned Cloud Custodian as a way to create well-managed cloud infrastructure. What is poorly managed cloud infrastructure in your mind? How does Cloud Custodian move it towards well managed? - 7:55

You have thousands of people in the Cloud Custodian community. Presumably lots of large enterprises. What are the most surprising things people are doing today with Cloud Custodian that you’re seeing, that were sort of unexpected? - 10:01

How do you think about the community and the ecosystem for the open-source side of things, in terms of decisions like foundations, licenses - what are some of the big design decisions for making the open-source project successful? - 11:40

You formed a commercial open source company, pursuing this open core approach, earlier in 2020. You announced your seed round, people can get a preview of what you’re building at stacklet.io. Can you share what motivated you to start a company around Cloud Custodian, and the highlights of forming the company so far? - 14:13

You built the company to a dozen people and growing. What are your biggest reflections/lessons/insights from the company building aspects? Who are the crucial people/roles to hire for, and how did you go about that? - 16:06

How do you think through the commercial customer end-user base, versus the open-source community, and building out the technology for lots of anonymous users in open source? - 19:36

You mentioned something really interesting, this “written-first culture.” Can you elaborate on that? In the context of being fully distributed, what does “written-first” mean? - 21:10

What are the biggest things you’re thinking through, challenges, as you’re growing Stacklet and the open-source community in the next few months or the next year? - 22:39

How can people find out about the work you’re doing and what are the relevant resources you can point to? (cloudcustodian.io and GitHub/Gitter/Discourse, and stacklet.io) - 24:17


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