The art of simplifying the complex
There is beauty when we learn – not necessarily joy – because wisdom and knowledge can come from pain. However, on April 27, 2016, a group of 20 people got together to learn about two of the most exciting (and complex) products that the Open Source community has to offer: BOSH and Cloud Foundry.
My coworker and friend Sergey Matykevich and I had this wonderful opportunity thanks to our company, Altoros, a long-time Cloud Foundry supporter and adopter. We traveled many miles (Sergey lives in Minsk, Belarus, and myself in Buenos Aires, Argentina), but all that effort was exceedingly compensated with the reactions, curiosity, participation and feedback we had from the attendees.
Schedule and content
We decided to divide the course in two well-differentiated training sessions. The first part of the day (from 9:00 to 12:30) was going to be all about BOSH, then, after lunch, go full Cloud Foundry (13:30 to 18:00).
Here is a brief recap of the agenda (T: Theory, P: Practice).
- (T) BOSH introduction
- (P) How to install BOSH
- (T) BOSH architecture
- (P) Creating a BOSH release
- (P) BOSH manifest schema
- (T) Cloud Foundry introduction
- (P) Main CF operations
- (T)(P) Cloud Foundry services
- (T)(P) How to create a custom buildpack
- (T) Service broker internals
For the theory units, we prepared some custom presentations that explained the basics, so that attendees could understand the concepts that they will later use in practice. I did almost all of the theory, while Sergey conducted the Practical units. He used a new, very cool web-based training platform that Altoros is going to launch soon, and the attendees were the first ones to test it!
After lunch, all attendees also used this platform to complete the lessons while Sergey led them and answered all of their questions.
Expanding the community
Many of the attendees had never used Cloud Foundry. Some of them were new to what Cloud Foundry is.
By the end of the training session, we asked for some feedback. There were two of the notes that I really like.
The first attendee told me that one of his coworkers has been working with Cloud Foundry for a couple of months, but, after taking this One Day Training session, he probably knows more than his coworker. Although this might be an exaggeration, this demonstrates the reason why assisted courses are good: added value and efficiency!
The other case was a cloud engineer that was making research to recommend a PaaS product to his company. He told us that a direct Cloud Foundry competitor was pushing really hard, but after seeing what Cloud Foundry was capable of and, moreover, who used it and who supported the Foundation, he was really going to go for Cloud Foundry.
Many others were eager to try Cloud Foundry on their own and see what the platform can do for their respective companies.
Show, tell, and DO
One particular and marvelous success was when every concept we explained in the theory units was understood by simply issuing some commands and seeing how BOSH/Cloud Foundry responded. Everything seems to be clear after some keyboard action. That is actually why we value so much the practical part of any training session. When doing so, sensory and motor memory go together to create ideas and stronger neural paths, and a much more permanent bond between the student and the knowledge.
Attendees were really excited when they could deploy a simple application to Cloud Foundry and then create, bind, and use a MySQL service from that application. It was a sense of enlightenment for them to understand that there is a simpler way to perform daily tasks that are usually hard and time-consuming.
All in all, we had a fantastic experience. If at least we managed to get one person interested enough to participate in the community and bring the knowledge back to his company, we’ll be more than happy.
Teaching is, for me, one of the most rewarding experiences that a human being can go thru. If you happen to be in Barcelona, Spain this October, you will have another chance to learn about BOSH and Cloud Foundry at the OpenStack Summit Barcelona 2016. But there is another opportunity, very, very soon! On May 23-25th, at the Santa Clara Convention Center (California), the biggest event for the Cloud Foundry Community will be taking place: the Cloud Foundry Summit 2016!
And since we want more people involved, more people working with Cloud Foundry, we invite you to a series of training sessions that will be fantastic for those who want to learn about Cloud Foundry and BOSH.
We hope to see you there, until then, keep learning!
About the author: Juan Pablo Genovese is a Field Cloud Foundry Engineer at Altoros. He has been developing software for 19 years, and as a Jack of All Trades, has also been into DevOps work. Juan Pablo is focused on training new DevOps at Altoros and identifying the needs of the community. His professional interests include high performance / high availability solutions with cloud technologies, as well as designing architectures that meet customer expectations.