OpenStack Training Puts Open Cloud In Users’ Hands

Since its launch nearly two years ago, OpenStack has caused quite a stir in the cloud computing market.

The open source cloud software, which hit the streets in 2010 fueled by a cloud collaboration between Rackspace and NASA, has gained a great deal of attention and the momentum has been astounding.

And, late last year, Rackspace brought the OpenStack open cloud to the masses through an OpenStack Training course designed to bring systems engineers, cloud architects and others up to speed on the OpenStack fundamentals, from Nova, the Compute side, to Swift, the Object Storage side.

“People have been asking for a class for a while,” said Tony Campbell, director of training for Rackspace Cloud Builders. Since the first public OpenStack Training class in Boston last September, which was attended by a dozen students, there have been a handful additional courses offered in different locations, including San Francisco, London and Australia. And Campbell said he’ll hold a course in any location where there is enough interest. The next few courses are slated for San Francisco, London and San Antonio.

Campbell teaches the four-day course which spans a full 24 hours of OpenStack – six hours each day. He said his goal is for the students to leave with the know-how to deploy, run and operate OpenStack on their own in a production environment. The first two days focus on OpenStack Compute, Identity Service, Image Services, and Dashboard, while the second half of the course digs into OpenStack Object Storage.

“My goal is to have all of my students feel comfortable installing OpenStack,” he said.

The course dives in to every angle of OpenStack. Students learn about the history of OpenStack, how to deploy on OpenStack, identifying use cases, management and how to troubleshoot issues that may arise. Through the training, students get up close and personal with Rackspace Cloud: Private Edition, which is how Rackspace leverages and offers OpenStack.

And the training isn’t an instructor with a PowerPoint presentation lecturing at the front of the room. Campbell said it’s the hands-on approach of OpenStack Training that makes the biggest impact. Campbell said the class sizes are kept small so users can get that hands-on and collaborative training from experienced OpenStack engineers.

“The class is really hands on. People log onto the lab,” he said. “It’s night and day to have them actually see it, touch it and feel it.”

Campbell said the feedback has been all positive.

“Students really enjoy the hands-on nature of the class. It’s not a sales pitch. We’re not trying to get them to buy something. We’re teaching them to use something that’s free,” Campbell said.

The classes currently draw early adopters with a strong technical background, mainly system admins and network folks. There have also been a number of private classes including OpenStack Training in Australia and some for Rackspace employees who want to learn the ins and outs of OpenStack.

While the training is currently for OpenStack fundamentals, Campbell said he foresees additional courses in the future, with the possibility of a developer course or an OpenStack certification track. Rackspace will also start training the trainers, so to speak, bringing aboard a crew of partners and making them OpenStack experts so they can teach OpenStack adopters.

“This is just the beginning,” Campbell said.

Campbell said OpenStack training is split into two parts, Compute and Object Storage, each of which costs $1,250. Students can take one or both section. More information is available at

Be sure to check back on the Rackspace Blog Thursday for a first-person account from a Racker who recently took, and survived, the OpenStack Training course.

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