HPE Developer Community Portal

New HPE DEV leadership team discusses program focus and expansion

Dale Rensing

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As Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) pivots to an as-a-Service and software-enabled infrastructure company, I was eager to find out more about how HPE DEV can assist developers and designers in modernizing their legacy applications, as well help them create new, cloud-native apps. And with the recent HPE Container Platform announcement, I wanted to know more about HPE DEV’s plans to attract developers, designers, data scientists, and DevOps teams to join the community – especially given the teams’ expertise in API (application programming interface) development.

To discover answers, I reached out to the new HPE DEV community leads: Distinguished Technologist, Didier Lalli, and hybrid IT technology consultant, Denis Choukroun.

Dale: Didier and Denis, thank you for taking the time to talk about HPE DEV and how it can assist the community. I wonder if you could provide a high-level summary of what the HPE Developer Community Program is and what it offers to its members.

Didier: The HPE Developer Community Program was launched during KubeCon in Austin, Texas December 2017. The program is built around three main pillars: Build, Communicate, and Collaborate with the goal of helping developers and designers accelerate their innovation. We do this by assisting them with our APIs to integrate with products such as HPE OneView, HPE SimpliVity and iLO. But this isn’t all we do. For example, we share information about open source projects we support or initiate, such as Grommet. We reach out through several communication channels, so members of the community can select which channel they prefer to engage on. These include our web site, a monthly newsletter, Slack, Twitter, and a Yammer group for folks within HPE.

Denis: Didier described what HPE DEV offers to the community very well. I would just like to add that the HPE DEV portal offers developers, designers, DevOps engineers, and data scientists a voice of their own. Here they can share and learn via blogs about HPE products and solutions, along with API integration and automation capabilities.

Dale: As HPE evolves into a company focused on software-defined infrastructures and delivering everything-as-a-Service, where does HPE DEV fit in? I understand the group assists developers in providing the best user experience in their applications through research and open source projects, like Grommet. I also know others in the group develop tutorials using APIs to develop cool applications. How does HPE DEV fit into the overall company strategy and what services does it provide?

Didier: The group we belong to, the HPE Experience Studio, has two components: a User Experience team (UX) and a Developer Experience team (DEVX). The HPE Developer Community Program is managed by the DEVX team; but we leverage research, learnings, and development done by the UX team. We encourage contributions from the UX team, as they contribute to the design and development of the as-a-Service model, which is central to HPE’s new delivery strategy. Our DEVX team also adds to these projects. We look at improving the developer’s experience by ensuring common ways to access services. As an example, there is research and prototyping going on right now for a unique command line (CLI) experience that spans across multiple HPE services.

Denis: Yes, this is exactly the case. HPE is pivoting to an as-a-Service edge to cloud company helping ITOps and developers consume infrastructure in different ways. For example, the recent HPE announcement about the HPE Container Platform gives the HPE Developer Community Program more opportunities to help developers release new code quicker. It also enables us to assist data scientists with the deployment of AI/ML and Big Data tools. All this can now be done faster and anywhere – on premises and in the cloud.

Dale: How do you, personally, fit into HPE DEV? What has been your role in the past and what new responsibilities have you recently taken on?

Didier: Over 30 years, I played many roles. I started as a Software Engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), writing mostly in C, C++, and ADA. Then, I moved to pre-sales, mostly focused on PC networking. At the time, connecting a PC to the rest of the network was a real challenge. I spent almost 15 years in EMEA pre-sales for HPE ProLiant systems, but I was always considered the software guy in a hardware team. I was lucky enough to witness the birth of Docker containers and had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe to teach our folks how to master this new technology. More recently, my focus returned to development. I participated in the creation of the HPE OneView Ecosystem, working with partners and ISVs (i.e. Turbonomic, Mesosphere, SaltStack) to help them better use the HPE OneView API and develop joint solutions for our customers. While I was doing this, I discovered the real power of REST API. Since then, I’ve worked on several of our product APIs, providing some sort of SDK (software development kit) in PowerShell, Python and, more recently in Go. When the HPE Developer Community Program started, I saw it as the perfect fit for me, and I contributed a lot, especially through blog posts and tutorials. Today I’m proud to be the technical lead of the HPE Developer Community Program.

Denis: Like Didier, I have more than 30 years of IT experience in various technology roles, including work as an operations and support networking engineer, a technical consultant, and a solution architect. I started as Local Area Network engineer at DEC. I then got the chance to be part of the first IT outsourcing (Managed Service) team. We delivered Wide Area Network support to customers who outsourced their IT infrastructure to the company. When Hewlett Packard acquired Compaq, I worked as a technical consultant and solution architect focused on converged infrastructure and hybrid IT solutions for both internal and customer-facing engagements. During this period, Didier and I co-authored the “Programming CloudSystem Matrix for Dummies” book. Just recently, I took on the role of program manager of HPE DEV. This is an area where I feel I can add a lot of value due to the project management skills I’ve learned through other roles.

Dale: Do you have any specific goals associated with your new roles?

Didier: As the technical lead of the program, I have a number of specific goals for 2020. A major goal is to grow the community both in terms of engagement as well as representation. This not only means increasing visits to our web site, but also expanding participation via Slack conversations and the number of followers on our Twitter channel. It also means inviting more content contributors from HPE by reaching out to HPE teams who aren’t currently represented. By doing this, all community members will benefit, gaining access to a wider knowledge base and driving consistency, interoperability and ease of use throughout products. Ultimately we’d like to change how developers view HPE. Today, a lot of developers we meet at events wonder what we have to offer to them so we have to spend a lot of time explaining it. The goal of HPE DEV is to change this perception so developers start to recognize the value of developing on HPE platforms.

Denis: I have specific goals as well. As an ambassador of the HPE Developer Community Program, my goal is to help developers and front-end application designers accelerate innovation and development time. So I work hard to spread the message about the value HPE DEV brings, evangelizing HPE DEV initiatives and offers to developers at HPE events and open source conferences. In my role as program manager, my primary goal is to coordinate and ensure clarity among all the multiple projects related to HPE Developer Community Program.

Dale: Denis, I understand you recently attended the Linux Foundation’s premier event, KubeCon + CloudNativeCon in San Diego and heard about the HPE Container Platform announcement first-hand. It sounds pretty exciting. Can you give some details about the announcement, what you learned there, and your thoughts on how this might impact the work HPE DEV takes on?

Denis: It was great to be able to attend this conference in San Diego and hear the HPE announcement around containers and Kubernetes at a time when the containerization of applications is on the rise. The HPE Container Platform is of paramount importance to HPE. This announcement was the highlight of the event, focusing on the convergence of HPE innovations. It combines the BlueData container-based control plane with the KubeDirector open source project, together with the MapR data fabric for container persistent data storage, and integrates Kubernetes, the de facto open source standard for container orchestration. This emergent technology will enable coders to develop applications faster and deploy them anywhere. The HPE Container Platform will undoubtedly impact HPE DEV’s work, as this container platform gives us opportunities to expand the reach of the community to data scientists, DevOps, and ITOps engineers.

Dale: Modern apps, written using containers, certainly have an advantage in cloud environments. They’re more portable and scale much more easily. What do you think this announcement means for existing apps? How will this benefit enterprises overall?

Didier: This announcement is a real game changer. This gives us a great story to deliver to developers. The HPE Container Platform lets you not only run modern cloud-native applications, but also legacy applications that you have always wanted to containerize, but couldn't. The HPE Container Platform allows more traditional apps, the ones with mostly persistent data, to operate in a modern container environment, with no need of rewriting them.

Dale: Given all this, what platforms do you believe will be the most important to HPE and our customers as we move forward?

Didier: I think we will continue to provide a lot of assistance in the use of our existing APIs, but we will also explore several new areas. First, as already discussed, we will provide more content regarding design and research, thanks to the other half of the team, the UX group. Then, we will look to add more content from other products within the HPE portfolio that may not yet be covered within the HPE Developer Community. I’m thinking possibly about Cloud Volumes, Composable Fabric Manager, or even Aruba. Finally, we will provide more focus on our team around the HPE Container Platform, so that we can help developers and their ITOps teams easily adopt this promising platform.

Denis: The HPE Container Platform is certainly an important piece of HPE’s hybrid stack. It will drive our focus toward containers. This solution addresses the evolving needs of application developers and the capabilities enterprises demand. It should help cut down complexity and time for developers, data scientists, DevOps, and ITOps teams to migrate their applications (both cloud-native and monolithic traditional apps) to containers and deploy them anywhere.

Dale: This deeper focus on assisting developers with platforms to modernize their applications all sounds very exciting. How can folks connect and engage as a part of the HPE Developer Community?

Didier: The best way is to connect with us is to go to hpedev.io, our web portal. From there you can find all the different links that will allow you to subscribe to the monthly newsletter, join us on Slack or follow us on Twitter. Give it a try!