Switching Clouds

The last year has flown over. It seems like mere days since I left MSFT for Aditi Technologies. Since my last post (almost a year ago, I must get better at this), I’ve joined HP. Yes HP, yes I know they make printers. They also have an OpenStack distribution (HP Helion OpenStack Community Edition), a public cloud and a development platform.  This is pretty significant if you are in the cloud space. Take note – more on that later.

Switching clouds has been a lot of fun. Spending ~8 years at MSFT means Windows is your world. With OpenStack, Windows isn’t the primary platform. OpenStack runs on Linux. If you have used Windows for 8 years, Linux is a little different. OK a lot different. It’s like you know what you need to get done, but spend 5 minutes looking up the command and another 20 validating your assumption.

Interface differences aside, OpenStack is solving the same problems as other clouds software/platforms. That means you can ask fairly intelligent questions based on previous experiences and not look like a complete idiot.

Anyway, here are my tips in getting started, but going deep with OpenStack:

  1. Use Linux. Yes this is obvious, but if you are coming from the Windows world, you need to live and breathe Linux. I’m about 95% Linux at home and ~65% Linux in the office now – from pretty much 100% Windows before.
  2. Install, then Install again. You can download HP’s distribution from here. That makes getting up and running pretty easy, but it hides a lot. If you really want to learn what is going on and how the services work together, install it all by hand. Then do it again. You can check out the docs from http://docs.openstack.org/. Once you have an install or 2 under your belt, you can start to explore our distribution.
  3. Deploy something real. Only when you try to deploy something a little more complex than the test VM will you really start to figure things out. Go big. For example, try to deploy a SharePoint farm.

No shocking revelations there right?

Of course, if you just want to get started then use the Helion installer. It will configure a nice OpenStack cloud for you in less than an hour. Give it a whirl.