OpenStack Learning Challenges – Drawing the Owl

It’s a funny meme that we see regularly. It can be the “How to make a Turducken” or “How to make reindeer cupcakes” or some kind of before and after craft process that is made to look seemingly simple by the expert who is doing it. My example I use regularly is one called “How to draw an owl”.


The reason why this is funny and frighteningly close to home is that when we are exploring new technologies, we often have trouble getting onboard with something new. I pride myself on being able to learn new things quickly, but in almost every case there is something along the way that doesn’t work during the learning process. This can be daunting as we start down the road on a new product.

We see this happening all the time as people try to take the first steps by installing OpenStack:


This can be a frustrating part of the process for sure, and I see this challenge everywhere I go, both for operations teams and for development teams.

In the Current Status podcast (Episode 11) I had a chance to discuss OpenStack in general, and the focus of a lot of the content was around the importance of it along with the challenges of learning OpenStack because of the many different flavors, distributions, deployment tools, and base environments. Not only is OpenStack a fundamentally different than what many VMware and Hyper-V administrators are used to, but the ways we deploy and manage OpenStack are incredibly varied.

We had a lot of fun chatting, and touched on a lot of areas around challenges with OpenStack and adoption.

OpenStack Learning Resources

The trick with learning is to find the right way to learn that matches your style. For some, this means an in-person classroom situation. For others, it may be online videos, or perhaps one-on-one with a mentoring partner to really have a more direct teacher-student connection. Regardless of your preference, there is probably something that can help you with OpenStack. Let’s take a look at a few of them here.

OpenStack Meetups and User Groups is filled with exciting technology communities that are informally supported, often vendor-agnostic, and provide a great way to connect with others who are established with a software or system that you are looking to get involved with. OpenStack Meetup groups are in nearly every city, and even if there isn’t one already, you may be able to start one where you are.

OpenStack User groups are also popping up in many cities. These are the official OpenStack supported user community meetings that help to bring more people together to

OpenStack Summit

Attending the OpenStack Summit is a phenomenal way to become very close to this community. While there may be a cost issue with attending the event depending on your situation, the great thing is that the sessions and keynote presentations are uploaded to Youtube for free viewing after the event (Paris and Atlanta).

You may also see the #vBrownbag team there delivering tech talks (Paris and Atlanta) which is another great way to consume some OpenStack goodness as the 10 minute tech talk format opens the door for many vendors and community members to share information.

Online Video Training

I would be remiss if I didn’t shamelessly plug my Pluralsight course Introduction to OpenStack and there is more in the works to be brought to this great platform. If you need help getting started with Pluralsight, I also have a number of 30-day unlimited usage trial coupons that I can share. Feel free to add a comment below and I will email you with your trial code.

As mentioned above, there is also the #vBrownbag which has an OpenStack track where we saw a great series called Couch to OpenStack where a number of contributors worked on helping folks build a small lab as we walked through what each of the programs are, and how to do some basic administration in an OpenStack environment.

Classroom and Virtual Classroom Training

At there is also a training section which gives a list of available companies and resources for traditional classroom training. Some are aimed at certification-oriented training such as that offered by Red Hat, and you will also see distribution-agnostic content which is geared towards general OpenStack operators.

More resources are popping up every month as we see more people growing the OpenStack education community. This is a good sign of the strength of the community and the momentum that is building around OpenStack.

Books and Blogs

Another great resource you can learn with is the OpenStack Cookbook which is currently being updated to be reprinted with updates of the Juno release. Not only will you have the book as a great reference guide for building your Opebstak cloud, but you can also use the OpenStack Cookbook multi-node lab which runs using Vagrant and VirtualBox (LINK LINK). I use the cookbook as a quick way to spin up a lab, and for those who want to learn about orchestrating your OpenStack deployment, you can view the open source code right in the Github project.

The blogging ecosystem is also a great way to gain access to resources. There are really too many to list, and I wouldn’t want to leave anyone out by accident, but I suggest you do some searching and you may be surprised by how vibrant the OpenStack blogging community is.

OpenStack Growth – Why Learning About it is Important

If you are a VMware administrator, you should understand how Microsoft Hyper-V works, right? The reason is that you have not only know why your current solution works, but what comparable solution are available to deliver the best business value. As OpenStack grows and becomes a more viable option for today’s organizations, we all should embrace the learning process so that when it does become something you have to work with that you are ready for it.

While I seem like an early adopter to a lot of people, I consider myself late to the game compared to many people. The reason is that OpenStack was at the 5th release (Essex) already when I jumped in to begin my learning journey. One thing that you can see out of this though, is that there is never a time when it’s too late to begin learning about OpenStack.

People and process is the most important part of the why OpenStack is important really. While the technology is of obvious importance, the real value of OpenStack comes with what problem it is solving. Being able to create better operational practices for your organization is what it is really purpose-built for.

If you are looking for help to begin your OpenStack journey, feel free to reach out. I am happy to do anything I can to connect you with the right resources and people to make OpenStack something that is part of your toolkit.

Introduction to OpenStack on Pluralsight is live!

There are many celebrations happening today with Canada Day being one of them. It is with lots of joy as a Canadian that I also get to have my own proud moment because of the launch of my recently authored Introduction to OpenStack on Pluralsight!


Introduction to OpenStack

The course is designed to target those who are new to OpenStack or those who need a refresher on the OpenStack ecosystem. It was a lot of fun creating the course content and I put a little bit of everything in there to make sure that you will come out with a good overall understanding of how OpenStack works, how it was created and maintained, and the features of the different projects within OpenStack.

Designed by, and for community, this course is the beginning of much more that I plan to produce to help people along their journey with OpenStack and much more thanks to the great team at Pluralsight.

Thank you, because you made this happen!

Thank you, because you made this happen!

In fact, I want to be sure that you get to share this experience with me because I will be looking for lots of feedback on what kind of content you would like to see as we move into the next courses. This is an exciting way for me to ensure that I am building for the needs of the community which is the real reason that I’m putting this together.

Want to Try Pluralsight?

If you aren’t already a member of Pluralsight, don’t worry because thanks to the team there I have been given 20 free 30-day passes for newcomers to the Pluralsight platform.

Winning is easy because all you have to do is write a comment below and share this post on one or more of your social media channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+) and add the hashtag #IHeartPluralsight similar to this:


I hope that you like the course, and if you do, please make sure to rate it and let me know what the cool parts are that you enjoyed. Your feedback (yes, even the non-positive stuff) is what makes me better at creating the next content.

Thank you! and Thank you to Pluralsight who made this happen for me. I have to also say a big thanks to David Davis and Chris Wahl who both helped me along the way with this, plus they are both wickedly good authors for Pluralsight. So while you’re rocking your 3o-day trial, make sure that you have a listen to the great content that they have created at


OpenStack Speaking Spot at Cloud Expo 2014 in NYC

Conference season is upon us! For many of my friends in the IT community it’s a regular occurrence to take part in technology conferences. I am an oddity in a way because I am actually a customer rather than a vendor, so any of the work that I’m doing here at and at other sites is being done on my own time. So it is very exciting when I have the opportunity to be able to connect with great resources at conferences and to share my experiences as I am doing with the vBrownBag team, the VMUG, and now as an author for Pluralsight.

Guess Who’s Going to be at Cloud Expo June 11/12th?

I’ll be at the Cloud Computing Expo in New York with a speaking spot on Thursday June 12th. Because I’m only speaking on Day 3 of the event, I will actually just be flying in for Wednesday and Thursday but I will be maximizing my learning there among some amazing speakers and vendors who are going to be there.


With the excitement building around OpenStack, and my upcoming Introduction to OpenStack course that will be released at, I will be at the Cloud Expo to speak about OpenStack and the industry shift with open cloud technologies on behalf of Pluralsight.

My session is titled “OpenStack and the Industry Shift with Open Cloud” which will be on at Thursday June 12th from 2:50-3:25 PM. I’m extra pleased to be following Kenneth Hui of Rackspace who is running is session titled “Getting Started with OpenStack”.


The session info is here at the Cloud Expo site, and I look forward to the chance to represent my community and Pluralsight at this great event!


Taking it All In

I like to use this to describe what it feels like to have access to all this information. When I have an opportunity to interact with readers and peers, I want to consume as much as possible in that time because you are all what makes me better at what I do every day 🙂

What it feels like to be at a conference with amazing experts sharing information

What it feels like to be at a conference with amazing experts sharing information

Coming soon: Introduction to OpenStack on Pluralsight

pluralsightThis year just keeps getting more and more exciting for me, and I am proud to announce today that I am working with the team at Pluralsight to bring more content to my audience in a new way!

First, I need to thank all of you for what you’ve done to bring this opportunity. As readers and community members, your feedback and support have been the driving force to inspire me to do more to give back.

At this time I have my first Pluralsight course in the QA process which is titled Introduction to OpenStack. This course is an introductory look at the OpenStack projects and general concepts around the OpenStack ecosystem.

This is especially fun to be able to grow the number of ways that I can spread the word on great technologies like OpenStack, and with my upcoming trip to be a part of the vBrownBag team at the OpenStack Summit in Atlanta May 12-16, I hope to have some Pluralsight goodies to share as well as some of my new stickers to swag up your laptop!

But wait, there’s more!

I know that many of my readers may already be at or beyond the point where they need an introduction to OpenStack, so I can happily say that my next goal is to continue to create and share course content through Pluralsight as well as my continued commitment to open community content sharing through my site.

As more details are available about the course release date and other information, I will be sure to share with all of you. Thank you again for making it so fun to share content, and I look forward to the release of Introduction to OpenStack with and to being able to create and share much more!

Keep watching here for more news and if you aren’t already using, make sure to head on over and take a look at the great library of offerings they have for you.