Mastering OpenStack as a Stackmasters intern

I was looking for an opportunity to gather practical knowledge on OpenStack and Ansible. As a final year student and a member of the CONSERT lab in University of West Attica, I had already touched my fingers on cloud technology. And since Stackmasters is heavily involved in cloud management and OpenStack in particular, I chose them to apply for my internship. A Stackmasters intern, then!

Mastering OpenStack as a Stackmasters intern

Joining the team as a Stackmasters intern, I anticipated a typical environment like most of the companies offer in the Greek labor market. But I was proven wrong, quickly. Stackmasters, being part of the Starttech Ventures portfolio companies, is way too different. The friendly atmosphere makes you feel at home from day1. The open mindset of the people I had the chance to meet and work with, make up a unique working environment.

Experimenting with the Cloud

Starting with Ansible

My major goal to achieve within my three month stay, as a Stackmasters intern, was to deepen my knowledge on cloud technology!
At first, I started working with Ansible. Having some experience beforehand, I realized really fast that there are many more to get from such a tool. Ansible is a simple agent-less IT automation tool that helps you automate common or even more complex jobs. With Ansible you are able to automate all those tasks in a computer environment; like provision, deployment or even changing the behavior of services and resources. In Ansible’s absence you have to tackle such tasks manually, or with a bunch of scripts. Along with whatever consequences in terms of delays, maintenance and human mistakes this method brings about.

My first project was to understand Ansible’s best practices for structuring a task work; so that I would get the hang of it. And that’s exactly what I did. Following, my mentor Thanassis’ pertinent directions, I started with the basics. And I think I can proudly say that I finally managed to create a playbook that automatically handles the installation and configuration of an Apache server.

OpenStack Services’ turn

While setting up an Apache server seemed up to scratch in the first few days; still I was thirsty for a bigger challenge!
And so after completing my first project, I moved on to OpenStack. I was keen to gain expertise on OpenStack deployments and management of such environments. The first step in this journey was to study the OpenStack documentation guide; so as to manually deploy a small lab. With its core services running on two virtual machines.
And the learning goal? Well, to understand the architecture of a cloud with OpenStack services — Keystone, Glance, Nova, Newton, Horizon, Swift — as its components. Furthermore, to comprehend how each of those services interconnects and contributes to its provided features.

OpenStack-Ansible

I have to admit. I got frustrated with the complexity of such a system. And I was pretty unsure on whether I could go through the project with success.
The team at Stackmasters helped me understand quite a great detail on the OpenStack architecture. And what options I had in order to go on with my project. I got acquainted with a few OpenStack projects, developed by the community to ease the pain of management; such as deployment. Ironically, Kolla and OpenStack-Ansible (aka OSA) were the next things I checked. It felt natural to opt in for OSA.

Then, preparing and applying an OpenStack deployment became easier using OSA. As a next step, I practiced upgrades to the existing OpenStack installation.
Mission accomplished! I had gained a good understanding of how things are run when it comes to OpenStack!

Wrapping up my internship on Cloud Management, as a Stackmasters intern

I have to say, I have had the chance to gain great experiences in OpenStack. Mostly, I got lessons from fantastic professionals in Stackmasters. And I met interesting people at Starttech Ventures.

Thanassis Parathyras, CTO at Stackmasters, helped me into a smooth start and guided me, so that I could gradually delve into the concepts of OpenStack technology and community. Stackmasters team were very helpful for those three months.

The whole experience was definitely of benefit for me. Not only at a professional level, but also at a more personal one. For these reasons, I am confident that the skills I’ve gained as a Stackmasters intern, will have a major contribution to my future career development.

As a final point, what I’d definitely recommend to young IT and Computer Science graduates, is this:

Grab internship opportunities, get hands-on experience and explore how brilliant the Greek startup ecosystem is.

Mastering OpenStack as a Stackmasters intern was last modified: July 15th, 2019 by Nikos Kaftantzis

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