OpenStack Summit 2016 reinforced my thoughts about OpenStack and its proliferation into mainstream IT organizations. First, OpenStack is much more than the glorified science project that some pundits put forth in 2015. Second, OpenStack is still not the frictionless consumption for every organization as some OpenStack vendors would have you believe. OpenStack is probably somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, with a majority of the interest lying in the OpenStack private cloud, containers, and Kubernetes.
The barrier to entry has decreased significantly since the days of extrapolating from industry journal articles. However, maintaining and sustaining a viable OpenStack ecosystem requires professional service-level skills. The devil is in the details, especially with all the customization, configurations, and permutations that OpenStack allows. It's one of those situations where great power requires great responsibility. For example, Day 1 OpenStack installation is now relatively easy, and is packaged as such. But where you go on Day 2 depends either on your organization's skill level, or what it can afford to pay. For some, that means nowhere, unless you have the proper support for training and gaining expertise. With that in mind, I'd like to share with the thwack community one of the best sessions at OpenStack Summit. It happened to be a hands-on workshop focused on getting started with OpenStack. It was delivered by Rackspace OpenStack Evangelist, Ken H.u.i. (Updated: apparently "h" "u" "i" is not allowed), and Red Hat Sr. Software Engineer and author, Dan Radez.
If OpenStack is on your list of deliverables as a proof-of-concept or in production this year, my advice is to get as much hands-on training and practical experience as you can possibly get. I also suggest leaning on the OpenStack community. There are many wonderful tech evangelists who are happy to share their time, knowledge, and expertise.