Resources for Boosting Your OpenStack Expertise

I recently spoke at OpenStack Days Mountain West on the OpenStack expertise Rackspace has earned operating the world’s largest OpenStack clouds (Check out the slides here).

During the event, I spoke with a number of users in different stages of their OpenStack journey. Some were just getting started while others had been running OpenStack for a while. Yet all had a similar challenge — finding and retaining OpenStack expertise.

In some cases, attendees were testing the waters in their labs or had recently started OpenStack deployments and were learning what it means be a cloud operator. For these folks, the challenge was finding out where to learn the skills they needed. Sometimes, it was simply just knowing what they didn’t know. Others couldn’t find or couldn’t afford to hire good OpenStack talent.

Folks further along the journey were figuring out how different operating an OpenStack cloud can be as it starts to scale beyond a small to medium number of servers. The task made even more difficult due to the challenges of retaining talent, many of whom learned OpenStack at one company and then were poached by others. One user I met had lost almost his entire OpenStack team to other companies trying to jump start their own cloud deployments.

Rackspace wants to help in both cases. It is our mission to help make all OpenStack users successful by sharing our experience and expertise as the co-founder and standard-bearer of the OpenStack project.

We primarily do so through our OpenStack public cloud and by offering a fully managed OpenStack private cloud as a service solution. Both allow customers to leverage Rackspace’s expertise without having to train up an entire internal team, get into bidding wars to hire top talent or to worry about losing people and leaving customers with an orphaned cloud.

Rackspace also shares our experience and expertise by getting out into the community and sharing what we know through talks, workshops, videos, blog posts and white papers. We recently revamped the OpenStack Private Cloud pages at the Rackspace.com web site in the hopes that the new page will become a destination for members of the OpenStack community who want to learn from our experiences.

OpenStack resources page

OpenStack users should monitor our resources page, where we’ve recently added a number of white papers written by experts on our OpenStack product, engineering and operations teams. Below are the most recent technical white papers on the site; I  encourage users to visit the page regularly, as we’ll be uploading more white papers over time.

  • CONTAINERIZING THE CONTROL PLANE: AN ENHANCEMENT TO OPENSTACK — Learn why Rackspace took an alternative approach to the standard method of deploying and updating OpenStack control plane services. Find out the benefits of running OpenStack services in containers and how it affects scalability.
  • SCALING OPENSTACKCLOUDS WITH NOVA CELLS  Cells have become an invaluable feature that help scale the Rackspace public cloud. Learn about the compelling advantages for streamlining compute capabilities in OpenStack Nova cells offer, and read recommended practices for using them to scale an OpenStack cloud.
  • MANAGING RESOURCE ACCOUNTABILITY WITHIN OPENSTACK — Many enterprises want a showback system for their OpenStack cloud to extend the costs of infrastructure directly to consumers. Learn about an open source tool Rackspace developed to help a customer with showback for its OpenStack cloud.
  • SHIFTING TO CONTINUAL UPGRADES: REALIZING CI/CD IN OPENSTACK — Learn how Rackspace helped one of the world’s largest banks shift to devops and CI/CD by leveraging OpenStack’s capability to handle both bare-metal and compute nodes.
  • CLOUD FLEET MANAGEMENT: A NEW SET OF MENTAL MODELS AND TOOLING — The day Rackspace deployed OpenStack for our public cloud was also the beginning of our evolution to cloud fleet management. Learn how Rackspace manages our fleet of tens of thousands of servers and hundreds of thousands of VMs.
  • ENHANCING SWIFT OBJECT STORAGE FOR HYPERSCALE ENVIRONMENTS — Rackspace wrote Swift to be the object storage technology for our public cloud. As it grew, we solved scaling limits by rewriting portions of Swift. Learn how the rewrite helped Swift scale.
  • RACKSPACE: DRIVING OPENSTACK FORWARD — Learn why enterprises from all sectors are choosing OpenStack. Learn what Rackspace has done historically to advance OpenStack and how we are continuing to drive it forward to help ensure our customers get the best outcomes.

Hopefully, these white papers will help you to increase your knowledge of how to run OpenStack in production. As mentioned earlier, check back on our resources page for more white papers. I will also be publishing more blog posts in the future highlighting new papers.

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Kenneth Hui is a Senior Technical Marketing Engineer and Cloud Solutions Architect at Rackspace. Ken has 20+ years of experience in the IT industry and is passionate about helping customers with their cloud computing journey. He lives in New York City where he can indulge in his love of great food from all around the world. You can follow Ken on Twitter @kenhuiny.

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