What’s it like to be a Summer Intern at the Open Mainframe Project?

By December 19, 2017 January 10th, 2018 Blog

Check out my Summer 2017 Wrap Up!

I am Amit, from Gorakhpur, India a final year Computer Science undergraduate from UIET CSJM University working in Open Source technologies since 2015. I want to share my experience of working as a summer intern at the Open Mainframe Project.

The Open Mainframe Project summer internship program is an integrated experience that brings together students from different background and around the world to work remotely with some awesome developers on a wide range of projects and initiatives related to the mainframe, blockchain, cloud computing and data science. Over the last 2 years, more than 15 interns have joined the Open Mainframe Project Internship Program to conduct projects across multiple ideas, gain exposure to new areas for exploration and study, expand networks, and then present their work at open source conferences around the world. This 10-week intensive paid experience for students from a wide range of backgrounds and areas of interest, ranging from undergraduate to PhD level, is one of the main ways the foundation demonstrates its commitments to Open Source, diversity, and network-building. The length of time and intensity of the experience allows interns to form lasting bonds with each other and with the Open Mainframe Project.

What exactly is the Open Mainframe Project?

The Open Mainframe Project or OMP, is a project hosted by the Linux Foundation that allows students to work remotely. The summer internship program offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source software projects that target the mainframe, letting students engage with technologies such as cloud computing, blockchain and data science. On successful completion of their project, every Open Mainframe Project intern has a chance to present their project work at Open Source Software Conference and a stipend of $6000. Oh yes, a gift (presumably of high value) is also provided on successful completion.

Prerequisites for getting through.

Knowledge: One has to have sound knowledge of the field. The mentors are currently working on the latest technology, so we can’t bluff having knowledge.

Open Source Experience: Having open source source experience is one of the key points in getting selected. One needs to be a student through the Open Mainframe Project selection period, which is announced (mid April), so I was eligible for the Open Mainframe Project since I was still in school.

Internship Experience

What I have really enjoyed this summer is the openness of the other developers to share their knowledge and experiences during weekly CloudStack for z/VM meeting. Ji Chen is one of the most awesome (really really) and helpful mentors. Emily Hugenburch and John Mertic are the most helpful and noble people on earth I can say! They are very humble and down to earth and offered support in every way they could. Each mentor and intern here has a technical background, and it was quite a good experience throughout the internship tenure. Everyone here is so open and eager to learn from each other, and that is truly a huge win for everyone. My project was to define the benchmarks and criteria for what cloud on z/VM looks like which help understand how the mapping of commands between OpenStack and z/VM works to enable better solutions. Apart from this, my project involves thorough study of OpenStack functions in the hypervisor matrix and also got a chance to interview few OpenStack customers from MITRE, LinuxOne Community, NCAT and ADP to understand how these customers employ OpenStack functions in their daily operation and about their expectations over these functions to be an end user or administrator function. The work isn’t a piece of cake, but most people, with decent efforts, can deliver what mentors expect. It’s necessary to stick to the schedule decided mutually when submitting the proposal. Thanks to Herbert Daly who interviewed me for Open Mainframe Internship program. There is a community bonding period (where Intern and mentor get to know each other as well as about the Internship program and review the Project objectives/goals) followed by mid-term and end-term evaluations. Mentors evaluate your work with weekly reports followed by monthly and final reports, to make sure work is progressing towards the project goal. Even the best and most friendly mentor will fail you if you don’t live up to their expectations. We have weekly Go To Meetings, apart from project progress we elaborately discuss about project on the Open Mainframe Project Slack Channel.

Being open source, the doors didn’t close for me after my project was finished. I might not have as much time, but I really hope that I’ll be able to keep a modicum of involvement with this amazing organization in the future.

Technical Insight

I had a chance to interview a few OpenStack customers during the Open Mainframe Project Internship as my project also involved collecting information about OpenStack functions in the hypervisor matrix. Some of the questions I asked during the interview are given below:

  1. What are the daily operations in your work?
  2. What support matrix features you need like create, delete, start, stop, migrate, actions, monitor and healthy checks etc?
  3. What are the important functions (to be an end user or administrator function)?

It gave me an immense learning experience to interview OpenStack customers.  For example, some customers rely on their own monitoring function and work with other toolchain providers who address the support matrix features more or less. Other customers are using a customized version of the z/VM platform which uses their own actions (for performing some specific tasks) like Manage Expirations which deals with managed Linux lifecycle, Manage Quotas which deals with the CPU and more options like showing consoles and logs. I also got to know  how other OpenStack/zVM developers are employing OpenStack functions for their own specific tasks and how they are actually making an impact to the community.

Clearly this isn’t the end for CloudStack on z/VM. As for any other IAAS provider, it’s going to grow and there is much more work is left to do. As a developer this project allowed me to explore OpenStack functions in different hypervisors. If you’re interested in contributing to OpenStack, take a look at a related OpenStack gerrit issue, instance live resize. For the initial iteration, it would be restricted to live resize on the same host and with existing flavors, i.e. you can’t pass random values like CPU/RAM/Disk for the resize. You can also look for additional requirements (actions which are not available in OpenStack) from other IAAS providers like Rackspace, VMWare, AWS etc.

How exactly is remote internship different from the usual internships?

I can work anytime, anywhere! It’s completely up to me, I enjoy the flexibility. Of course the initial period is tough. Coming home after a tiring semester (in my case a nostalgic good bye to college-life), one would prefer to lay around and kill time watching TV series, visiting places, or hangout with friends. So it’s tough to concentrate and work with dedication from home. However, in a span of 15 days, all was set and I was up to speed and managed to recoup lost time.

All in all, I had great fun and will continue contributing even more. This is just the beginning!

Interested in joining the Summer Intern Open Mainframe Project? Learn more here.

Follow the Open Mainframe Project on Twitter @openmfproject for the latest interviews, or subscribe to our quarterly newsletter at https://t.co/Cq8V52lOeU.

Blog post by: Amit Kumar Jaiswal, CTO, Quanonblocks LLP. Amit is an open hacktivist and a recent summer student with Open Mainframe Linux Foundation Intern. Community is everything that matter to him, loves to give talks and sessions varying from Programming stuffs to Community Ideas.

He is a recent Computer Science graduate from UIET CSJM University, Kanpur, India and passionate about Data Science, Cloud Computing and Cryptocurrency.