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CloudStack University

05.20.2013
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At Apache CloudStack we recently started an initiative to organize our content into learning modules. We call this initiative CloudStack University. Everyone is invited to participate by contributing content (slides and screencasts), suggesting new learning modules that are needed and even creating exercises and assignments. School fun ! As we were discussing the initiative on the mailing list we started by looking at our existing content: slideshares, youtubevideos and thought about organizing them into a CloudStack 101 course. This is still a work in progress that requires everyones participation to make it a great resource.

In the meantime I have been putting all my CloudStack content on slideshare and I wanted to provide a narrated version of these slides together with hands-on demo to show folks how to do a few things with CloudStack specifically but also related Cloud and OSS tips and tricks. Here comes the CloudStack university screencasts. I will add more of them as I go along and receive requests from the community (reach out on twitter @sebgoa and tell me what you want to see). I wanted to give you a preview of what this looks like. To create a self-paced learning module, I decided to create slide decks that people can download from slideshare and cross-post the corresponding screencasts (for most of them at least) on youtube. People can choose a particular topic, or take the entire series. The idea is that at the end of watching all the screencasts and reading the material people graduate from CloudStack University.

Certainly one can imagine how this could evolve into a full fledge training and certification program. I do plan to create a final exam once I am done with a consistent set of modules :) In this post I wanted to introduce you to some of the first modules I created. I welcome all feedback and suggestions to improve them. Reach out to me on twitter (@sebgoa) or contribute your own modules via the wiki and the mailing lists.

To get started, I show you below the screencast of testing the Apache CloudStack (ACS) 4.0.2 testing procedure. We used this basic procedure as a smoke test for the release and as way to vote on a release. There is far more QA going on for a release, this is just a basic testing to vote on the release. This is definitely geared towards developers, I plan to create a more end-user version of an introduction to CloudStack.

Once you have been introduced to ACS with this testing procedure you can learn the API. CloudStack has a native API as well as an EC2 compatible interface. The following screencasts and slides dives into the ACS API, showing how to do unauthenticated and authenticated calls, create a signature, it finishes with a discussion on REST and nice exercise.


Learning the API and the details of how to create a call by hand is a very nice skill to have. CloudStack has 16 clientson github in various languages, these clients make it extremely easy to use the CloudStack API. However ACS comes with a terrific interactive shell: CloudMonkey. The following module shows you how to install CloudMonkey and how to use it to manage your ACS backed cloud. If you followed the testing procedure, you can use CloudMonkey with your local CloudStack and explore the API.


If you want to participate in the development of CloudStack you can contribute in many different ways, but definitely modifying the source to include new features, fix bugs and add documentation are some of the basic contributions. The following module gives you an introduction to Git the version control system used by ACS. This is aimed at beginners and starts with a demo of gist on github, it then shows a walkthrough of the CloudStack git repo, looks at remote feature branches and finishes with the workflow to create a patch and submit for review.


At ACS we put great care in making sure that everyone in the world can use our software and that means use the UI in their own language and read the documentation in their own language. Translation is a tedious work but very much appreciated by non english speaking users and developers. In this module we show you how to contribute to the translation of CloudStack UI and docs using the Transifex service. We are proud to have over 30 translators who allow us to support the CloudStack UI in 10 languages and have documentation almost complete in 5 languages.


As a final note, Apache Software Foundation is a mentoring organization in the 2013 Google Summer of code. As such CloudStack is participating in GSoC, we are currently reviewing proposals from students and are eager to see the program started. I embed a deck that introduced the various projects we proposed. Stay tuned to learn more about which ones got awarded, notification on May 27th. And remember to keep an eye out for CloudStack University, a great resource for Cloud training.

Published at DZone with permission of Mark Hinkle, author and DZone MVB. (source)

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