Article Written by David Marshall
Many organizations are using VMware, OpenStack and other technologies to take their clouds in-house, building private cloud infrastructures to reduce their costs and dependence on providers like Amazon AWS. Anyone who has already ventured on a private cloud project has more than likely encountered the enormous complexity of the field, at every level: business, architecture, infrastructure, virtualization, and workload management.
With that in mind, I recently spoke with the team at Stratoscale - the maker of Symphony, a tool that sets up a private cloud with AWS-like capabilities on your local machines in minutes - and found out that they have set out to make private cloud more accessible, not just for cloud infrastructure specialists, but also for ordinary IT and DevOps professionals who want to better understand how they can leverage this technology. To do that, they have created something that has totally blown me away! They have taken it upon themselves to build a Private Cloud Wiki. After spending quite some time navigating it, I'm dubbing it a 'must visit knowledge hub' that collects all the relevant information on private cloud technology from around the world, and organizes it in a meaningful structure:
This project was quite the undertaking.
The wiki started with an intensive 6-months worth of research where the first stage was building a tree of over 200 sub-topics around private cloud technology including: private cloud architecture, strategy and economics; private cloud platforms like VMware vRealize and OpenStack; Cloud Management Platforms; virtualization strategies for private clouds; and modern data center architecture including hyperconvergence technology.
The Stratoscale team told VMblog they collected over 100,000 web pages that cover these subjects, hand-picked the most relevant ones for each category, and divided them into "content types" such as How To, Case Studies, Real Life Examples, Vendor Information, Product Comparisons, and so on.
The wiki is still in its infancy with around 60 content pages, but I'm told that new category pages are being added on a weekly basis.
Making Sense of the Space
If you search Google for any of these specific topics, you'll get a bunch of products, some articles, pages from StackOverflow and similar sites, mixed up with pages that contain only a few lines, are unclear, out of date, or useless for other reasons. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to sift through all that and really learn about the space.
Plus, there's no context. If you search for "private cloud deployment" you won't be able to move up a level to learn about "private cloud operations and management", and see other related subjects like "private cloud security" and "private cloud orchestration", or drill down to learn about specific types of private cloud deployments, e.g. how to deploy OpenStack vs. VMware.
The Stratoscale wiki provides all of that and adds another layer of meaning above the basic indexing that Google provides.
When asked if this was simply going to be a Stratoscale effort or a one-sided conversation, the answer was unequivocally "no." A central realization behind the wiki is that even though the company employs some of the world's top cloud computing experts, Stratoscale early on realized that they aren't the only ones writing about the space, and in many parts of this field, there are others who are more specialized. They decided to bring all these community voices to the front stage and let visitors choose from a large variety of views and opinions - even those of their direct competitors.
This is a democratization of technical knowledge which can save a lot of time for the many professionals who are adopting and deepening their knowledge of modern cloud infrastructure. I'm going to continue to watch this wiki grow and I plan on using it as one of my own educational resources.
Check it out at: http://wiki.stratoscale.com
About the Author
David Marshall is an industry recognized virtualization and cloud computing expert, a seven time recipient of the VMware vExpert distinction, and has been heavily involved in the industry for the past 16 years. To help solve industry challenges, he co-founded and helped start several successful virtualization software companies such as ProTier, Surgient, Hyper9 and Vertiscale. He also spent a few years transforming desktop virtualization while at Virtual Bridges.
David is also a co-author of two very popular server virtualization books: "Advanced Server Virtualization: VMware and Microsoft Platforms in the Virtual Data Center" and "VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center" and the Technical Editor on Wiley's "Virtualization for Dummies" and "VMware VI3 for Dummies" books. David also authored countless articles for a number of well known technical magazines, including: InfoWorld, Virtual-Strategy and TechTarget. In 2004, he founded the oldest independent virtualization and cloud computing news site, VMblog.com, which he still operates today.
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