OpenStack and Linux Foundations plan OpenStack skills certification

OpenStack professional skills certification is due next year, thanks to a collaboration with the Linux Foundation and its testing providers.
Written by Toby Wolpe, Contributor
OpenStack Foundation executive director Jonathan Bryce: Starting to be agreement on the common OpenStack skillset.
Image: OpenStack Foundation

To help plug the OpenStack skills gap, the OpenStack Foundation and the Linux Foundation have been in talks about the creation of professional certification for those working with the open-source cloud project's technologies.

The plan is to roll out OpenStack skills certification worldwide early next year in conjunction with the non-profit Linux Foundation and its testing providers, which will administer the online tests.

In September 2013, the OpenStack Foundation launched a training marketplace but skills remain a significant issue.

"One of the things we often hear is that it's hard to find experienced OpenStack talent. Some of that is just new technology. But we've been working very hard to train and get these training programs out, and there's starting to be some standardization around what the common skillset is," OpenStack Foundation executive director Jonathan Bryce said.

"We looked at starting a certification program last year but there were too many things that were still in flux and we just couldn't really get consensus and resources around what the common certification framework would be."

Speaking at this week's OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, Bryce said as the core common OpenStack technologies have become established, they have brought with them agreement about training, skills, and testing.

"This is something that we're working on with the Linux Foundation and their testing providers to create a true certification program and true certification tests. They're going to be globally available in early 2016," he said.

"We're going to continue to work with our training community. Many of them have already agreed to roll this in as part of their training. There will be a validation point at the end. If you do SUSE or Mirantis training, you'll have the opportunity to take the Foundation's independent certification test and get a credential. It's going to tie all that back together and give a common target for all those education initiatives."

Bryce said there will be several different training levels, with some aimed specifically at OpenStack operators.

"This is meant for people who are deploying, operating, and administering an OpenStack environment. It would cover the basics of what is OpenStack, what you can do with it, how you install it, how you monitor it, upgrade it, patch it - all those kinds of things. It's an administrative training focus," he said.

Bryce said the training currently being developed in the community, which is more focused on the end user or the cloud user-developer, may come into the certification program in another round.

"What we have heard from a number of the vendors is that they will roll this in as part of their training and certification portfolio as the baseline training. Then there is an opportunity to do an add-on component that is specific to SUSE or Mirantis or Red Hat that deals with their specific components," he said.

"But this is something where we've got a lot of support from the existing vendors around this. They see the value in having a common baseline there."

OpenStack is an open-source project started in 2010 by Rackspace and NASA to create components for building public and private clouds on standard hardware.

It is now backed by more than 200 vendors, including Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, Intel, Oracle, Red Hat, and VMware, with a large developer community working on a range of loosely-coupled projects. Mirantis is one of OpenStack's founding members.

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