Editor's Note: What does OpenStack do? Learn more at GoCertify.
In 2010, Rackspace Hosting and NASA launched OpenStack, a joint open-source cloud software initiative designed to enable enterprises to offer cloud computing services that could run on standard hardware. Since then, dozens of major IT companies have gotten on board as sponsors of the initiative.
Over the past six years, OpenStack has rapidly expanded throughout the global marketplace. As more enterprises utilize the cloud computing platform, there is an increased demand for skilled and certified IT professionals.
End users increasingly expect technology to react faster to their demands, particularly in the mobile arena. To meet the need for swift and scalable IT infrastructures, service providers are increasingly utilizing Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) private clouds.
One IT company leading the way is North Carolina-based Red Hat, Inc., a global leader in providing open-source software products to the enterprise community. Founded in 1993, Red Hat is, to a large extent, generally known for their widely-used enterprise operating system Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Red Hat is also, however, the leading contributor to OpenStack.
Red Hat has also been expanding its involvement in OpenStack technology. According to Randy Russell, Director of Certification, the company is simply following the larger IT industry. "This is where IT is heading," Russell said. "The market is trending in this direction.
"Red Hat's specific purpose is to be an enterprise software company. We help enterprises build effective, efficient and powerful IT, and we want to be the industry leader. As a trusted and effective advisor to the industry and customers, Red Hat wants to drive the change. It's not enough to play catch up at the tail end."
In addition to creating, maintaining and contributing to a large number of free software projects around the world, Red Hat is also a leading provider of OpenStack certifications.
Finding the right IT pros to carry out any project is always a challenge, but as a complex and relatively new technology, OpenStack enterprises are constantly struggling to identify and recruit qualified IT professionals. A recent IDG Connect survey of enterprise decision makers found that the greatest challenge an organization faces when adopting OpenStack is the "lack of skill among its IT staff."
This is where Red Hat excels, helping to connect enterprises with qualified personnel. As a third-party qualifying organization, Red Hat offers some of the best OpenStack training and certifications available. Red Hat occupies a significant chunk of the marketplace as a commercial provider of Linux platforms and technologies because their certifications are seen as the gold standard of enterprise Linux.
The Red Hat certification program has three levels: administrator, engineer and architect. What sets Red Hat training apart from that offered by other companies is that each level includes certifications that are highly regarded and valued in the industry.
While official Red Hat training is not required to sit for an exam, it is recommended in that it covers all aspects of the exam and is updated as needed.
There is no faking your way through a Red Hat exam. All exams are hands-on — no essays, no true/false, no multiple choice questions. The exams focus on objective criteria that must be successfully completed. Passing an exam is an assurance to employers that Red Hat certified individuals are not only able to work with the required technology, but that they have already done so.
Red Hat's emphasis on hands-on testing pairs well with training. According to Russell, "Red Hat training has quality instructors, and excellent videos, among other things, but what really matters is that it emphasizes completing real-world tasks. IT is a field that requires hands-on work, and practical testing to prove competency is the best way to go."
In all, Russell said that Red Hat presently offers "approximately 24 specific certifications, not counting not counting different versions of releases." The company is also rolling out new certifications on a regular basis.
For those seeking OpenStack certification, Red Hat offers two credentials:
Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) in Red Hat OpenStack is the foundational certification. Credentialed individuals have demonstrated the skills and knowledge necessary to "create, configure, and manage private clouds using Red Hat OpenStack Platform."
Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) in Red Hat Open Stack takes things to the next level. Credentialed individuals have demonstrated the skills and knowledge necessary to "integrate Red Hat Ceph Storage with Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform and configure advanced networking using the OpenStack Neutron service."
Getting a Red Hat certification and moving into the workforce doesn't necessarily mark the end of one's interaction with Red Hat. The company believes that certification is the beginning of a relationship between themselves and credentialed IT pros.
To accomplish this, Red Hat focuses on building and maintaining engagement with certified individuals by offering useful benefits. In addition to industry wide respect one receives from earning a Red Hat certification, there are a number of additional benefits, including:
- Red Hat Certification Central, an online portal that enables potential employers to readily search for qualified professionals and to verify their credentials.
- Online badging, whereby individuals can share their certification status on social media via a personalized badge.
- Red Hat Summit, which is described as an "ecosystem of innovation." These annual events bring together practitioners, experts, and open-source thought leaders to discuss enterprise solutions, new technologies, and the future of the industry. Events include presentations, hands-on practice sessions, group and one-on-one discussions, collaboration with colleagues and announcements of new products.
- The Red Hat Certified Professional Store offers certified professionals the opportunity to purchase Red Hat merchandise specific to their certifications online. Items available for purchase include apparel, mugs, tech and so forth. Best of all, purchased merchandize can be personalized with your Red Hat Certification.
Industry research indicates that, presently, 90 percent of fortune 500 companies rely on some form of Red Hat technology, and job postings on popular job sites seeking IT pros with Linux certifications overwhelmingly ask for Red Hat Certified Professionals.
As OpenStack, and associated technologies continue to expand around the globe, Red Hat will continue to train, certify and match-up a great many more qualified IT professionals with enterprises looking to reach the next level of their IT evolution.