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New Cloud Training Course: Open Source Cloud Platforms

Not long ago, we discussed the benefits of distribution flexible training and the clear edge this gives to Linux professionals and businesses, from small web hosting providers to giant financial institutions. The Linux distribution market offers a variety of choices that resonate with companies looking to avoid vendor lock-in, and allows them to retain the flexibility to use the best tool for the job.


Indeed, there are many benefits to the open source model and we’ve recently seen a shift taking place in an emerging market: cloud computing. We at the Linux Foundation have been thrilled to see several open source cloud management platforms being developed collaboratively over the last few years. OpenStack, Eucalyptus, OpenNebula and CloudStack are all powerful platforms that can solve real cloud management challenges.  They also provide businesses with the variety of options that will help foster a competitive marketplace where the consumer wins. 


The toughest choice when confronted with such a healthy ecosystem of cloud platforms is to pick one for training purposes. The Linux Foundation is not in the business of selling software licenses or providing support, and our objective is to remain vendor neutral. While individuals at LF might have their opinions, we never push any of our members’ products (we collaborate with everyone in open source!).  As we look to build out our cloud artchitecture training offering, this leads to a different question: what should we teach?


A strong amount of cross-pollination is happening in the cloud community, with OpenStack and Eucalyptus providing Amazon EC2 compatibility at the API level, and CloudStack doing the same thing with CloudBridge. Want to leverage OpenStack’s storage and network management tools as part of OpenNebula? Adding OpenStack Swift and OpenStack Networking to the mix is now being considered in some environments, as well as pieces of other management platforms. Those are just a few examples of what can be done: users are not limited to one specific cloud solution.


The level of sharing and integration between cloud management platforms is increasing. OpenStack, due to the fact that it’s not an out-of the box product but rather a fabric that holds together a diverse set of components, seemed like an ideal project to integrate in our trainings.  However, that doesn’t mean we won’t later launch additional cloud related courses when we see an opportunity. 


With that said, we’re taking our training to the cloud and announcing our newest course offering, LF520 - OpenStack Cloud Architecture and Deployment, which will be based on open source components, but also seeks to provide more.  OpenStack, OpenVSwitch and the KVM hypervisor will have important roles, but we’ll also dive into cloud design, scalability, orchestration and configuration management; all topics that transcend cloud management platforms and provide a deeper understanding of the options offered to you.


Likewise, the variety of hypervisors available today - all supported by OpenStack - are reflected in the class material. Xen, KVM and others are covered, while KVM is what we focus on in the practical exercises. The statement we make on LF520 - OpenStack Cloud Architecture and Deployment course page is that cloud management with OpenStack is not about picking a single product, but rather about understanding what needs people have in the cloud space, increasing choice and multiplying the possibilities.