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  • Here’s the latest on OpenStack

    I think an update is in order to my original OpenStack blog post . Over the last six months, we’ve seen Icehouse, the software’s ninth release, come out of the gates, along with a very successful summit in Atlanta. So, let’s do a quick recap to see where it stands now. By the numbers There’s some really interesting information that has come out of surveys from the Atlanta summit . This is really interesting information on the size of installs, environments and what versions are currently in use. OpenStack components I mentioned in my previous post how OpenStack is written in Python (basically 2.x, but there’s some momentum to rewrite everything to 3.x within the next few major releases). One of the strengths and challenges of such a large and encompassing cloud management platform is that it does a lot of things.  All of these things are split out into modules: compute (“Nova”), object storage (“Swift”), block storage (“Cinder”), networking (“Neutron”), dashboard (“Horizon”), identity service (“Keystone”), image service (“Glance”), telemetry (“Ceilometer”), orchestration (“Heat”) and database (“Trove”).  You can easily search online for more information on each of these, so I won’t get into the details here. This modular architecture may allow the community to work in a more agile way, but also comes back to pose challenges, as everything basically still needs to communicate with each other to provide a unified, seamless platform. Platforms Another thing you might notice from the recently published numbers is that Linux rules as the underlying operating system of choice.  So, if you want to gain a certain level of respect, and be able to show or prove you know your stuff, you’ll also need to have some advanced skills in Linux. Along with Linux being the leading operating system, KVM is the leading choice for hypervisor, with VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V (on Microsoft Windows) quite far behind on use. Interfaces There are several basic ways you can interface with OpenStack that come packaged: dashboard (web browser interface), command-line, Python API and a REST API (for custom interface development). For the most part, I typically lean toward the command-line interface, but will fall back on the dashboard when I’m not sure what command to use. Deployment Setting up OpenStack, even in a controlled environment, can be quite a big task.  Fortunately, if you’re looking to get something up relatively quickly, maybe for a proof-of-concept, there are some great tools out there.  Tools like Red Hat’s packstack or devstack can get you up and running quickly with OpenStack. Personally, I’m a bit of a Red Hat fan, so I’m partial to following anything it does.  If you’re somewhat familiar with Linux, you may know about Fedora (this is free, and more of a Linux desktop version) and CentOS (a free Red Hat Enterprise Linux clone), which are both supported by Red Hat and work with packstack. These automated installers are very useful, but remember that to consider yourself at the master level, you’ll want to install from scratch.  I honestly haven’t tried this yet, but it’s just a matter of time before I do, in order to gain the whole experience. I find I learn the most when something doesn’t work as expected or I have to actually troubleshoot or read the documentation, or even install files before I can really grasp how it all works. Is OpenStack “better”? I’ve never been a big fan of trying to pick which technology is better.  A few years ago, it seemed to be a debate whether Linux or Microsoft Windows was “better.”  I was never interested in these opinion-based debates, rather, I like to use the best fit. In the private cloud space, VMware seems to have the bigger market share.  I saw a recent reference on Twitter that compared VMwar e and OpenStack like this: If you have money, use VMware; if you have time, use OpenStack. Now, nothing is that simple, because most organizations have a limited amount of money, and they also have to consider that OpenStack can have integration challenges since it’s not as polished.  It can be quite costly when something isn’t done right from the start, and considering that it might be beneficial to have a Python programmer help with any integrations, time isn’t the only factor you need to consider before implementing an OpenStack-based private cloud. It’s honestly hard to imagine OpenStack becoming a major player in the public cloud arena against the likes of Microsoft, Amazon or Google, for example. Industry convergence Just like Hadoop, quite a few companies were maybe too excited to launch their own distribution.  As reality set in, we saw one recent big partnership between Intel and Cloudera. There was also a relatively big acquisition by Red Hat (of eNovance), so there may be other shake-ups including an acquisition of RackSpace (one of the original project founders). Resources Make no mistake, if you think OpenStack is easy to grasp, you’re not wrong. But mastering it can be a challenge. After all that, if you’re still with me, Pluralsight is launching an introductory course to help you along with your learning experience.  There’s nothing like having an experienced professional lead you through your training, and using their own insight to help you succeed. A very interesting resource that was announced at the Atlanta summit is a new publication called Superuser .  It’s definitely worth checking out to supplement your learning experience. With the next release, Juno, planned for mid-October, OpenStack continues to move forward.  With most technologies, any hint of slowing down in updates can be a sign of weakness, but this doesn’t appear to be a problem with OpenStack. Only time will tell if it’s here to stay. To access Pluralsight’s latest OpenStack course, click here .

  • Tech Firms Top List of Best-Paying Companies

    Glassdoor’s just unveiled a list of top companies for compensation and benefits . The point of the survey isn’t to measure “happiness”—there’s another list for that—but instead to shed light on whose employees are the most satisfied with the very basic foundation blocks of employment: pay, benefits and perks. Fourteen of the 25 companies listed are in tech, including four of the top five: Google topped the list, Facebook was No. 3, followed by Adobe and Epic Systems ( Costco held the second spot). Here’s how the tech companies fared: Google (1) Facebook (3) Adobe (4) Epic Systems (5) Intuit (6) Salesforce (9)  Qualcomm (13) Riverbed Technology (14) Verizon (15) VMware (16)   T-Mobile (17) Microsoft (18)  Orbitz Worldwide (22) eBay (25) Google and Facebook always seem to appear high on these surveys, but this is the first time we’ve seen Verona, Wisc.-based Epic make such a prominent appearance. Many reviewers at the company say their jobs are well-paid and the culture is smart and satisfying. However, they warn that work-life balance isn’t always there and the travel schedule of implementers can be grueling. Glassdoor’s Scott Dobroski told the Wisconsin State Journal that the medical software company’s ratings have been on the rise over the past three or four years. “That likely means they’re changing things inside and employees are much more satisfied than they were a few years ago,” he said. Related Stories 5 Great Places to Work for IT Interns Best Places to Work: Twitter’s Culture Rules Software Engineers Earn More at Smaller Companies Image: Maryna Pleshkun/Shutterstock.com The post Tech Firms Top List of Best-Paying Companies appeared first on Dice News .

  • What Are the Next Big Developer Skills?

    The latest data from Dice suggests that employers want software developers who’re experts in well-established technologies such as .NET , C++ , and HTML . But IT is a rapidly evolving field, which begs the question—what will the employers of tomorrow want, skills-wise, from developers? Before taking a stab at that question, it’s worth examining the particular skills currently in demand by employers. On Dice, hiring managers searched thousands of times between January 1 and April 15 of this year for software developers, engineers, architects and leads. Of the most sought-after skills and qualifications for those roles, the top 40 included: 1. Java / J2EE 2. .NET 3. C++ 4. C# 5. Senior 6. SQL 7. HTML 8. C 9. Web 10. Linux 11. WPF 12. JavaScript 13. SDLC 14. Python 15. Test, Tester, Testing 16. Embedded 17. ASP.NET 18. Oracle 19. HTML5 20. PHP 21. SharePoint 22. Unix 23. RWD 24. Mobile 25. Ruby 26. Security 27. Database 28. XML 29. Perl 30. Agile 31. Android 32. CSS 33. Computer Science 34. Network 35. iOS 36. Websphere 37. Spring 38. QA 39. MVC 40. SDET “Today’s biggest needs surround the core, but it will change as the next generation of technologies realize their promise,” wrote Shravan Goli, president of Dice. What are those next-generation technologies? Let’s take a look at some emerging trends: Wearable Electronics: If the rise of smartphones helped define the last decade, the nascent field of wearable electronics—including “smart watches,” as well as bracelets and earbuds capable of measuring biometrics—could very well influence how we live and work over the next 10 years. If those electronics transform into a burgeoning market on the scale of tablets or smartphones, thousands of app developers could profit from building software for even tinier screens, or even no screens at all. Wearable electronics could present some fascinating UI puzzles for anyone willing to take them on. For example, what’s the ideal icon for conveying to a “smart bracelet” wearer that they have 10 urgent emails waiting for them? Can you build a map for display on the inside of a sunglass lens that doesn’t distract a driver from the road? The tech pro capable of executing on such ideas (and many more) may profit immensely in this category. “Internet of Things”: Manufacturers will produce just over 6 billion Internet-enabled devices in 2014, and the general expectation is that billions more will appear over the next several years. Picture all those devices streaming data back to companies for analysis, and you’ll have some idea of the opportunities that await those developers and engineers with expertise in sensors, embedded systems , and Big Data applications capable of digesting unstructured data generated by hardware in the “real world.” Substantial investment in “Internet of Things” startups has already begun . Drones and Robots: Google has acquired seven robotics firms over the past twelve months. Facebook is reportedly interested in flying drones that can help extend the Internet to the developing world. Tech firms’ interest in weaving robots and drones into the fabric of everyday life could generate jobs in everything from robotics design and engineering to software support . In other words, this Top 40 list could look very different in a few years. More Articles More Tech Pros Earning Six Figures Than Ever Need for Tech Pros with Analytics Skills Keeps Growing Tech Consultants: Prepare to Get Paid (and Work Harder Than Ever) The post What Are the Next Big Developer Skills? appeared first on Dice News .

  • 10 ways to keep your sanity in IT

    So you’ve decided a career in IT is just the ticket for you. You love technology and hope to one day run an IT staff and save a company millions of dollars with your network, security, and software prowess. And your university has taught you well, the ways of the IT Jedi. What it may not have enlightened you about was how challenging this career would be on your sanity. Anyone who has been in IT long enough will tell you that the field eventually takes its toll on your mental well-being. But, never fear, as there are ways to keep that sanity intact. In fact, I have 10 routes to mental and emotional nirvana that can help you remain on your chosen path for the long haul. 1. Learn to say no. It takes time to come to grips with this one. When you first start out, you will understandably say yes to nearly everything. Why wouldn’t you? Last hired, first fired…right? Because of that, it’s in your best interest to make sure everyone knows you’ll do anything to please. Eventually that attitude will wear you down and you’ll find that saying yes too much will exhaust you and fill you with a sense of bitterness and anxiety. Learn early on to say no. This doesn’t mean you refuse everything. Instead, pick your battles and agree to those things that can actually benefit you without wearing you down. 2. Take breaks. It’s very easy to take your lunch at your desk or while you’re driving to the next appointment. Don’t even be tempted to start down that dark path. It is crucial that you step away from the grind for a period during each day — just to reset your mental meter. Lunch is the perfect time for that. Leave the office and do not return until your break is over. It might be a hard routine to start, but eventually, that break might be the thing that gets you through the day. Beyond your midday break, make sure to give yourself small moments throughout the day to recharge your batteries. 3. Leave work at work. I used to have a ritual that saved me from imploding on a number of occasions. I always wore a watch. When I had the watch on, it was work time; when the watch was off, I was off the clock. Each day when I left the office to go home, I would take the watch off, symbolizing the breaking of the tie between me and work. That silly gesture was actually quite effective at helping me to not bring my work, and its associated stress and tension, home. 4. Get a massage. If you know anyone who regularly visits a massage therapist, there’s a reason why they do it. Not only is it amazing therapy for your muscles, it’s an effective means of ridding your body of tension. Find an outstanding massage therapist and employ their services regularly. If you have the time, make sure to get that massage before you go home. You’ll arrive at the house completely relaxed and free of the tension brought about by a nerve-wracking day. 5. Listen to music. If at all possible, play music throughout the day. I’ve managed to be very fortunate in that I was always able to play music while working. Had it not been for my ability to have music surrounding me, there would have been days you’d find my mental capacity utterly shattered. Just make sure to be mindful of those around you. If you must, use headphones. What you will find is that music will always put you in a good place — even when you’re working in a not-so-good place. 6. Sleep. Sometimes it’s tempting to avoid getting the right amount of sleep. The truth is, no matter how epic your all-nighters may be, they will take their toll on your mental and emotional health. This is especially true if you’re working under very stressful conditions. If that is case, it is crucial that you’re getting seven to eight hours of rest per night. As tempting as that all night LAN party may be, do yourself a favor and turn in. 7. Laugh . It may be cliché, but laughter really is the best medicine. There will be situations that are completely maddening. The only way to get through them is to laugh them off. Sure, it may seem like the absolute wrong reaction to such a situation, but sometimes the only way to face a stressful time is to laugh. 8. Don’t fight fire with fire. If someone comes to you with accusations or demands, don’t turn it around on them or toss a bucket of gasoline on the flames. When a situation like this presents itself, take it all in and think before you react. If knees jerk too much, everyone in the department will be yelling at one another, and rising blood pressure levels will eventually lead to a trip to the ER. 9.  Breathe. Every so often you just need to stop and breathe. Oh sure, we all breathe without conscious thought, but sometimes we need to take it to the next level to rid our bodies of stress and tension. So the next time you feel the heat rising, take a moment and inhale a deep, long breath and slowly release it. As you release that breath, imagine all of your tension escaping until you’ve blown it all away. It sounds hypnotherapy-cheesy, but you’ll be shocked at how much good it actually does. 10. Walk away. Sometimes you simply cannot win. When that happens, it’s best you just walk away from the issue. Does that mean you’re running from the problem? No. This simply means you step away so you can come back with a clean perspective and a fresh mindset. That alone will help you avoid a landslide of stress. There’s no reason for you to allow your chosen career to crush your soul and spirit. Before that happens, give one or more of these techniques a try and see if they don’t help you get through the day without pulling out your hair. Do you have a go-to stress relief technique? Or do you just hold everything in and wait until you’re alone in the desert to explode? Which is the most effective method for you and why?

  • Going Big with OpenStack at the National Security Agency

    The National Security Agency (NSA) has been taking the heat for several months now, no doubt. And there has been plenty of commentary on the intelligence agency already. Although this blog entry is going to delve into the NSA, I’m not going to share my thoughts on the fundamental controversy of whether the NSA has overstepped its bounds. Instead, I am going to share some interesting details, on what the NSA has been doing with OpenStack. Frankly, it’s pretty neat stuff. Image Upload Teaser Image:  read more

  • Running Systems in Parallel Negates the Value of a Hybrid Cloud

    A hybrid cloud offers the benefit of multiple computing environments that meet different security requirements. Sensitive customer data may be kept in-house, while non-sensitive data is stored and run in a public cloud, for example. But as organizations transition to a hybrid cloud model, the temptation is to run duplicate instances of apps in both the public and private cloud when the goal is to run it all in one location. read more

  • Multiple Perspectives: A Cloud Operating System

    The cloud is an environment for remotely deployed applications to operate. In essence, it serves as an actual operating system (OS) for those deployed applications. For instance, the cloud offers resources in terms of storage, processing power, memory, IO, security and identity services, and everything else required by a general use OS. It’s probably more accurate to use the term virtual operating system to refer to the cloud in this respect. read more