Our interview with Jonathan Race

Our interview with Jonathan Race

Recently we visited the annual OpenInfra summit in Berlin. We held interviews with some interesting people. We posted a blog about our interview with Mark Collier, the COO and co-founder of the OpenInfra Foundation a few weeks ago, you can find it here:


This time we have a blog for you about our interview with Jonathan Race, cyber security investigator at Augusta University.

What is the most exciting thing you experienced during the OpenInfra Summit so far?

What has been great is being able to meet all the individuals I have been working with remotely for the past years. Being able to meet them and collaborate is great. I also liked to participate in the discussions on how to further continue with the open-source projects that are being maintained.

What is the most important news you heard on the summit?

For us that is to get valuable feedback on some work we recently did for the OpenStack project. To hear more from it about the operators and users of OpenStack regarding emulated architecture support.

What was the most challenging thing you experiences within your organization in the last couple of years?

From the cyber range perspective, which is what I work with, it would be finding and identifying the right individuals to build the right team with. Because it is also very important to build the right team instead of just put together a bunch of tools that may or may not work together. 

Is it difficult to find technological people in the US?

There are a lot of technological people, but it is mainly challenging to find the right technological people. Especially in open-source, because there are a lot of nuances that you run into. It’s not always easy to find.

What open-source development has been the most important to your organization?

That has been the multi architecture support. This is going beyond just physical hardware support but actually emulating it. So, within anybody’s cloud infrastructure they can now emulate those architectures if they’re running the most recent version of OpenStack.

In the complexity of the way how the virtualization layer is working, is it difficult to solve those problems?

Yes, because it is not just about writing a python code or testing within a cloud. It’s doing CPU architecture level testing, then local testing for that emulation, then throwing that into the development environment and then throwing it into the cloud and hoping that all those different pieces work how they should, to give you what you want. 

In what way do you work together with the foundation?

As of right now within my organization one of the team members I work with, he has contributed to code in the past, but it has been a few years ago. In terms of more recently, I am the most immediate contributor within my organization. By contributing I also help my organization to become a contributing partner. What have been looking at for this or for next year is also to become an associate member or have our organization become a full on member of the OpenInfra Foundation.

Can you elaborate a bit more on the technological side of what you envision in the future for you organization?

One of the great things within my organization that I love is, we use all open-source projects. Simply because it helps reduce cost owner ship for our private cloud environment, but it also allows a lot of flexibility and support from a global community to really help create solutions. So, you could say that I envision seeing future features that come out within OpenStack as a whole. One thing we are working on right now is helping on the educational front in K12 environments and universities in developing technologies and in knowing how to contribute.

So, you just talked about the different kind of services that you need to provide in your organizational environment. Could you elaborate a little on how this relates to your organization?

Yes, regarding the multi architectures support that we did and the virtualization that we do in our environment, we provide a cyber range. So, what we do is duplicate real world network environments, whether it is an enterprise environment or it are operational technologies. So, think of power plans, water treatment plans. We are virtualizing all that. That way you can do testing activities and identify vulnerabilities. So, what we did is provide support for ARM processing, power PC and IBM’s F390X. We had to go in and make sure that when you spun up virtual machines with these architectures that they configured exactly how they would in your own testing environment. However, this feature isn’t meant for production use as of yet, but it is there for experimental use, development, testing and research for any organization.

This was the interview we held with Jonathan Race during the OpenInfra Summit. What do you think of the interview? Are there any other questions you would like to ask Jonathan Race? Feel free to reach out!

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