OpenStack Foundation Hands COA Cert Off to Mirantis
With the world moving to the cloud, expertise in the premier open source software environment known as OpenStack is gaining momentum and importance. To that end, the Certified OpenStack Administrator (COA) credential is key.
Just recently the OpenStack Foundation (custodian of the OpenStack standards and its development and documentation) announced it was handing off responsibility for the COA certification exam to Mirantis. That said, it will retain control and oversight over the COA certification itself.
The impetus for this move is explained in a quote that long-time UNIX community maven and observer Steven J Vaughan-Nichols elicited from OpenStack Executive Director Jonathan Bryce in a ZDNet story. In Bryce's words: "Vendors stepping up to fill vendor-neutral roles in the community is a critical part of any open-source project, and Mirantis is doing exactly that. It's taken a leadership role in providing the resources that the community needs to administrate the vendor-neutral COA exam, which has historically been managed by a third party."
I take this act of delegation as a sign that the COA is maturing. It's also a way for the OpenStack foundation to concentrate on its core mission of taking care of the OpenStack environment itself, along with the COA certification.
Interesting Factoids About OpenStack and Certification
Right now, the COA is the only OpenStack certification available. Aimed at those who take care of OpenStack environments, it seeks to validate IT professionals with six or more months' experience setting up and managing OpenStack environments.
Given the overall focus and thrust of the OpenStack environment, though, it's not at all unreasonable to speculate that OpenStack architecture and developer roles might find a place in the Foundation's certification portfolio in the not-too-distance future. Why say this? This is where the factoids come into play:
An increasing number of organizations and companies are using OpenStack to support cloud-based and -focused applications, services, and online infrastructures. Any number of open source and open networking initiatives make much of their ability to support and exploit OpenStack components and capabilities.
451 Research projects that the size of the OpenStack market will grow to $7.7 billion by 2022, which means that demand for IT professionals to administer OpenStack environments should also remain strong for the foreseeable future.
Since the COA was introduced in 2016, more than 3,000 IT professionals in 77 countries have taken the COA exam. The latest version of that exam is based on OpenStack Rocky. It incorporates coverage of components related to compute (Nova), Object (Swift) and Block (Cinder) storage, identity management (Keystone), networking (Neutron), and VM image management (Glance).
Candidates must understand how to work with these facilities at the command line, and also using the OpenStack dashboard user Interface (Horizon).
The COA home page currently depicts 18 companies and organizations that offer COA certification prep training — including Mirantis itself, but also a variety of education and cloud technology organizations. Given that OpenStack is vendor-agnostic, it's clear that the OpenStack Foundation believes that "the more, the merrier" applies to finding and promoting its training partners.
Climbing on the COA Bandwagon
The exam itself is available directly from the OpenStack Foundation, where you'll find a link to exam information at the foot of the COA page (cost: U.S. $400 or equivalent, online proctored format, 3 hours, valid for 3 years). Candidates may also arrange (and pay for) the exam through any of the COA training partners.
The COA Candidate Handbook (PDF format) is a great resource to learn more about what's involved in pursuing and earning this credential. With the aforementioned nearly $8 billion of projected growth in the OpenStack, you can be assured of finding a market for your skills should you proceed.