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Wednesday, May 20 • 11:50am - 12:30pm
Changing Culture at Time Warner Cable

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Time Warner Cable is the second largest cable provider in the US, and for the past several years we have been on a mission to change the nature of television.  Moving from a world in which we serve our content, at specific times of the day, to a few TVs in your home, TWC has embarked on a plan to serve any content, any time, to any device, anywhere.  However, delivering on this ambitious plan requires a number of significant changes in technology and culture within the company.

In Paris I presented Time Warner Cable’s standup story - how a small team of talented stackers designed and deployed a large-scale, operationally mature private cloud based on OpenStack.  That was the technology story.  This time, I would like to shift the discussion to the cultural implications of bringing OpenStack to Time Warner Cable.

Time Warner Cable is a cable operator that has traditionally relied on vendors for the hardware and software that powers their subscriber services, which has created a culture that relied on long-lead-time hardware installations coupled with annual or semi-annual software release cycles.  As we prepared for our new mission of delivering any content on any device at any time, this clearly needed to change.  Software needed to be developed and delivered to a wide range of devices using modern deploy-often and fail-fast approaches, and the resulting infrastructure needed to be programmatic and on-demand.  The cultural gap between the old and new approaches was indeed wide.

Before bringing OpenStack to Time Warner Cable, a number of software teams trying to deliver on the new mission were forced to resort to less-than-ideal options for achieving their deploy-often and fail-fast goals.  From standing up and managing their own actual hardware to going rogue with public services like AWS, teams were trying to adopt to the new culture with little or no support from the underlying infrastructure.

However, with the introduction of the new OpenStack private cloud, these leading-edge software teams were given the resources that fully supported their new aspirations.  With flexible, programmatic, on-demand infrastructure, these teams are now free to fully adopt their new DevOps culture while staying safely within the well-supported infrastructure walls of Time Warner Cable’s national data centers.  That was to be expected.

What was a bit unexpected, however, was how OpenStack would start to change the culture at Time Warner Cable beyond these leading-edge software development groups.  In fact, there are at least three significant ways in which the overall culture at the company is starting to change based on our OpenStack deployment.  First, the idea of on-demand infrastructure is universally appealing, and now we are working to provide programmatic, on-demand interfaces to all of our traditional infrastructure, including all of our ESXi clusters and our Oracle databases.  Second, the tools and technologies that the OpenStack team brought into the company are finding new uses outside of the OpenStack team.  More automation with Puppet and Ansible, better operational monitoring with Monasca, and wider adoption of our CI/CD toolchain are helping other groups within the company to automate, monitor, and deploy their software, inside and outside of our OpenStack environment.  Finally, the OpenStack team itself is providing a visible example of how DevOps can be done within a company that has traditionally isolated the Dev and the Ops sides of the business.

As we continue to grow and mature our OpenStack deployment at Time Warner Cable, we continue to provide software teams that are changing their culture with the infrastructure they need to be successful.  But along the way, we are also changing the broader culture at the company, which has been a pleasant surprise.

Speakers
avatar for Matt Haines

Matt Haines

VP, Cloud Engineering and Operations, Time Warner Cable
Matt leads the Cloud Engineering and Operations team at Time Warner Cable.  Using several cloud orchestration and virtualization technologies including Openstack, Matt’s team is transforming traditional data centers into flexible and cost-effective Infrastructure-as-a-Service platforms.   A cable “newbie”, Matt recently joined Time Warner Cable from HP where he led the engineering effort behind the HP Public Cloud.  For more than two... Read More →
avatar for Jason Rouault

Jason Rouault

Senior Director of Cloud Engineering & Operations, Time Warner Cable
Sr. Director of Cloud Services at Time Warner Cable


Wednesday May 20, 2015 11:50am - 12:30pm
Room 211

Attendees (284)