Cisco’s OpenSource Cloud Expert Shares His Thoughts on OpenStack Cloud Architecture and Deployment Course

Ivan Melia’s job is to understand open source cloud architectures so that he can advise Cisco on their position in the cloud. He has been observing the momentum of the OpenStack project, and his goal was to become a subject matter expert in OpenStack so that he would be able to fully deploy it in data centers, and consult on open cloud architectures and deployment at Cisco.

Not satisfied with just scratching the surface, Melia enrolled in the Essentials of OpenStack Administration (LFS452) course from The Linux Foundation. We recently caught up with him to ask about OpenStack and his experience with Linux Foundation training.

Where do you believe OpenStack fits into the bigger picture of open source and open source cloud architecture?

“In my opinion, OpenStack enables the true cloud. Cloud has certain concepts and notions that are beyond traditional data centers and OpenStack has a vision to execute on these requirements. OpenStack is one of the very rare projects that has got a set of tools to enable a cloud operation.  I think OpenStack will play a very significant role in the future of the cloud.”

“In general, I’m passionate about open source and I think open source is an important part of the development of industry.  You see how many companies are now backing OpenStack; it’s a sandbox and companies come in and bring their own toys and they want to extract value going forward for their customers and their businesses.  That’s what’s great about open source; it brings people together to work and accelerates development.  We saw the same thing with Linux and the Internet, and you might consider them too as a sandbox or a platform, collaboratively developed with multiple ways of extracting value. That’s important for the cloud.  I do not think the cloud would be what it is today if the majority of things were not open source.”  

Why was it important to you to get OpenStack training, rather than just learning about OpenStack on your own?

“Training helps me have a real skill set and background that puts me in better position to talk about technology and have credibility.  Training for me is an acceleration in the ramp up in building a technology skill set.  Personally, I wouldn’t feel comfortable going out and talking about open source cloud if I didn’t truly understand it and see the bigger picture.  OpenStack definitely plays an important role in the overall open source cloud picture.”

Why did you choose the Linux Foundation for your OpenStack training?

“The key driver for choosing the Linux Foundation was just a general trust that I have and the legacy of Linux around open source.  On a personal level, it was a natural choice.”  

Did the Linux Foundation’s OpenStack course meet your expectations and how will it help you and your company in the future?  

“I was expecting that the training would be in-depth and it was.  It was the perfect amount of theory and practice.  I wanted to be able to deploy OpenStack in data centers, and consult on Open Cloud deployment, and the training was a great value add. I wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing that without the training.”  

“Going forward, the course filled the gap in my overall scope of being a subject matter expert in open source and open source cloud.  I’m the only one on my team that is looking closely at OpenStack right now. I wouldn’t feel comfortable trying to craft a technology strategy or a partnership recommendation without knowing what is really behind the technology, and how the pieces fit together. The four days for the course was a good investment. ”


What did you enjoy most about the course?

“I see the course broken up into four components.  There is a book, there is a presentation, there is practice and exercises, and there is a discussion part.  I think I most enjoyed just being able to talk to the instructor throughout the course so I could put things into my own perspective and benefit more from the material.  Following the slides and doing the exercises is good by definition but I found the moments when the instructor didn’t follow the material really helped me understand the bigger picture.”


Sounds like you had a positive experience with the instructor.  Tell us more about your thoughts on the instructor.

“The instructor was quite good. Because of the trust that I have with the Linux Foundation, I felt comfortable that whoever they selected would be the best.  A key gap for me with OpenStack was just not knowing someone with deep knowledge that I could talk to.  Reading manuals will get you somewhere but it was important to me that I be able to establish a relationship with someone who is closely following the space.  That’s the benefit of instructor led training.  It’s important to me to get an external perspective and create a relationship.”


Did the course help you get the OpenStack knowledge you were after and would you recommend the course to others?

“Yes, I would.  What was helpful was that we had enough time at the end to connect all the dots and ask questions that were more pertinent to each student’s situation so we could understand what we needed to do next. Often times you can’t see how all the pieces fit together into the big picture and the course helped me do that.”


About LFS452 Essentials of OpenStack Administration

Understand and learn how to deploy a private cloud using the OpenStack project, implement a state-of-the-art private cloud design, learn about cloud computing benefits and challenges seen in today’s enterprise environments. View the complete Essentials of OpenStack Administration course overview.

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