Cruising the Cloud ecosystem as newbie and avoid getting hit by Lightening.

This Article is taken from my Friend/Mentor Atul Jha‘s Blog post. It is a some of the points which are always good to know.

OpenStack is a maintained by Open-Source Enthusiasts. This is little different setup that normal Office setup elsewhere. Everyone from the community is ready to help you in all possible ways, However, You need to understand that no one is paid/obliged to do so. You need to make sure you do your homework and are absolutely sure what you are asking and if asking that makes perfect sense ?

You can regularly see people posting irrelevant questions on various forums/IRC. In this article we shall deal what homework you need to do before approaching the community. Do not be a “Cloud Hippie” . Cloud Hippie can be defined as a person who  in 30 minutes they want to have there Infrastructure as cloud service running (IaaS).This may be a student whose professor forced him to do it in such short timeline or an IT Professional whose boss who wants him to look for FOSS alternatives to available proprietary products.


Best Practices : Getting Involved.

1. Building blocks of cloud

As far as i know these are the 3 main building block of IaaS. You need to do some homework on doing some basic reading on these three topics before proceeding.

1.1 OS

Please spend sometime, in case you have never used any Linux Distribution and once your familiar with it move to next. In case you think what  am I talking about,  many people want to deploy IaaS without basic Linux Admin skill set. Needless to say, fail rates touch nearly 100% :( . If you want a quick start, you can look at this section on iLearnStack.

1.2 Virtualization

Try to read up on what Virtualization is? What is it all about. Trying to work without understanding virtualization is like trying to run before you can stand up. You need to understand what a hypervisor means. Basic building concepts behind it, and understanding how it is different from a Cloud environment . You can have a head-start here on iLearnstack

1.3 Networking

In a virtualized/cloud environment, if you have the whole infrastructure up but he network in problematic state, you lose everything. This goes on the say the importance on networking in  a cloud-based environment. You need to understand the basics of Linux Networking and Security. You need to understand the concepts of bridging, virtual switches, routing, DHCP and DNS and basic network configuration. On iLearnStack you can start here and look for articles that speak on Networking.

2. Knowing your IaaS

Market is full of alternatives Cloudstack/Eucalyptus/Openstack and others.
You have to understand what exactly you want to achieve, set your priorities in place. You need to clearly understand the differences and the advantages each one has over the others.

2.1 Programming language its written.

It becomes easy to understand how things work if you go through the code. Openstack especially is best understood with the greatest amount of documentation and explanations being embedded in the code. You should understand Python which is fairly simple to pick up given you already know some programming language. However, if you are new, you can start reading our Python-Section on iLearnStack to start with, which deals in a comparative way about learning python.

2.2 Basic idea about each components.

Every IaaS has its own components. If your using Eucalyptus you will find
terms like NC/CC/Walrus & if using Openstack you will find nova/glance/swift/keystone.  Go through the blog, basic install guide try to know some basics about the service you finally want to deploy. You can find the details of the project inside Openstack described in a relevant way on this page.

3. What do you want finally?

So now once you have done your homework.

3.1 Hypervisor (Kvm/Xen)

You will be easily in position to decide what hypervisior you are going to use according to your internal needs.

3.2 Operating system (Ubuntu/Fedora/Redhat)

After reading through basic documentation you can easily decide which distribution it is more easy to deploy and maintain. Remember you also need to get regular security updates, bug fixes as well. :)

4. Getting Help

This is the crossroad. You tried everything still in pain/bleeding. It might be bug, your typo in config file or anything.

4.1 Forum

Most projects has a place where people discuss when they are stuck or even when they have something to share. Trust me in most cases many others would have stuck where you are currently. You can put you genuine questions on

4.2 Visit IRC

This is where the devs sit, don`t ask ASL there.  Trust me not everyone is paid to answer your questions unlike very few. So be polite and ask questions without demanding or cribbing :) . You can join the IRC on freenode at #openstack.

4.3 Go to the mailing list

 Join the mailing list of the project to know more whats happening inside. To receive daily/digest you can follow the instructions on this-wiki-page to set up your subscription.

5. Contribute

5.1 Report bugs, whats wrong/missing.

Every project needs people to find issues. Launchpad or other hosted platform has inbuilt bug reporting tool. :)

5.2 Write a blog explaining your install doc.

Please note any single achievement you have done is incredible, spreading it will help other newbie.

5.3 Help others at IRC/Mailing list.

This is your time to join the flock, help those who are stuck :)

5.4 Evangelism

Spread the word in your area, you might be only one with this expertise. It will be really cool to help and get more inside community. :)
In case i am still not able to make things clear follow big daddy`s guide ” How to ask question in smart way”

About Rahul K Upadhyaya
I am a software developer. My core areas of interest lies in Openstack as a technology,Python as the Programming language and Linux (Ubuntu/CentOS) as my favoraite OSs. When I am not at work, you would find me with my Camera , clicking random weird Stuff and People. You can have a look at the pictures on

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