Kevin Jackson, a UK-based Rackspace Senior Cloud Architect , and Cody Bunch, a US-based Rackspace Principal Architect, joined forces earlier this year to work on the second edition of the OpenStack Cloud Computing Cookbook. This is an update to the first edition Jackson wrote based on the Essex release of OpenStack. I caught up with both authors to ask a few questions on how this collaboration came about.
How long have you been working at Rackspace?
Kevin: I’ve been with Rackspace since November 2012 and have not looked back since!
Cody: I joined in 2007, so six years in total.
Cody, why did you approach Kevin?
Cody: For me it was a combination of things. The biggest one is I’d seen an internal announcement that we’d employed Kevin Jackson. I’d found the first edition of the book helpful in getting myself bootstrapped into OpenStack, even if it was a bit out dated. I asked if he had plans to update for Grizzly, and well, here we are.
Kevin: I had already written the first book in 2012 and had planned on updating it, but had not planned when. Then Cody approached me at the right time wanting to get involved in updating the first edition. The first edition, based on Essex, was still being referenced and used by many people and it was clear that supporting an older version of OpenStack wasn’t feasible or practical and not used in the real world.
What is your background with OpenStack?
Kevin: I’ve been using OpenStack since the beginning of 2011 where I was tasked with investigating various cloud platforms at my previous job. We chose OpenStack back then and I’ve been using it ever since.
Cody: My background? I’ve been working with OpenStack since the Folsom release as part of the Rackspace Private Cloud group. This started in a QA / testing role, and then evolved over time into a consulting / professional services architect role.
Who is the book aimed at?
Kevin: The book is aimed at people who are relatively new to OpenStack but have some awareness of how OpenStack fits together and what they want to achieve with OpenStack.
Cody: It isn’t intended to be a guide, but answer questions on how to achieve various tasks: from the first installation to using OpenStack. It complements the OpenStack Operations and Security Guides that are available.
What challenges did you face?
Kevin: We originally thought that going from first edition based on Essex to Grizzly would be a few months’ work but it wasn’t quite as straight forward as we first thought. A lot of the first edition had to be re-written with new screenshots/captures having to be produced and updated command line switches, etc. We also didn’t work as smartly as we could have in the first couple of months. With two of us working on the same book we weren’t initially consistent with our approach, however, after utilizing GitHub to synchronise our Vagrant code and scripts we built out a platform that allowed us to both write chapters but keeping everything consistent.
Cody: The biggest challenge was the massive delta in features between Essex (the first edition of the book) and Grizzly (the current edition). From there, there were some minor challenges such as =working out some interdependencies in various sections.
Working in different time zones and arranging the of the content provided some challenges, however, once we started using Git and Vagrant, the book started progressing much quicker. This did lead to some interesting editing towards the end of the writing process however.
Is there anything you would have done different?
Kevin: I should have doubled my estimate as to how long it would have taken and not under-estimated the amount of work that had to be put in to bring it up to speed with the Grizzly release.
Cody: Use Git and Vagrant much much earlier in the process.
Will you write another one?
Kevin: I’ll keep an eye on OpenStack developments and use that as a benchmark as to what work would be involved. For the sake of my marriage, I think it would be wise I said no – but we’re in a very good position to be smarter at updating this book which could make future editions less arduous to update.
Cody: I wouldn’t not write another one. That said, I think a short break is in order before I consider another project of this size.
We are delighted to have both Kevin and Cody working at Rackspace, working with and helping our customers embrace and move their infrastructure to an OpenStack or Hybrid Cloud environment.
You can visit Kevin and Cody live and in person at OpenStack Summit Hong Kong from November 5 through November 8. Rackspace will host book signings in our booth on the expo floor from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, November 5, Wednesday, November 6 and Thursday, November 7. Be sure to swing by and meet the authors, grab a copy of the book and chat about OpenStack.
Can't make it to the Summit? To secure your copy of the 2013 Grizzly edition you can visit:
Kevin Jackson is part of the Rackspace Private Cloud Team and focuses on assisting enterprises to deploy and manage their Private Cloud infrastructure. Kevin also spends his time conducting research and development with OpenStack, blogging and writing technical white papers.
Cody Bunch is a Principal Architect for the Rackspace Private Cloud focused on Enterprise Cloud Solutions. He joined Rackspace in 2007 to focus on Windows Engineering and customer support. Today he focuses on integrating infrastructure and applications with OpenStack, specifically targeting solutions for enterprises.