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BSD in the CLOUDS by Olaoluwa Omokanwaiye

There is a saying in my culture – “The clouds are wide enough for every bird to fly without hindering another”. The meaning of this profound proverb is that there are more than enough opportunities for everyone without any problems whatsoever, and in the case of our discourse about the Cloud, it does play.

It is the greatest time for open source professionals and the BSD Community. This “Cloud Technology movement” in computing world is already obvious. Cloud vendors are experiencing growth rates of 50% per annum as more us- ers are demanding cloud services. RightScale conduct- ed its fourth annual State of the Cloud Survey of the latest cloud computing trends at the beginning of this year 2015, with a focus on infrastructure-as-a-service. From the survey of some 930 IT professionals asked, it showed that there’s a greater adoption of cloud infrastructure and related technologies. The respondents included technical executives, managers and practitioners and represented or- ganizations of varying sizes across many industries. Again this showed that more and more companies are moving into cloud use for one service or the other. Even tech giants are providing and making more of their services available in the cloud. Moreover a large percentage of the applications and technologies used by individuals always have a cloud feature to work online or even provide back-ups, think of your favorite online application like a word-processor such as Google-docs, or file-sharing application like Drop Box and Google Drive, or the tool you use for organising like Keep or Evernote and even your favorite photo app. In fact, most developers see it as a must and an added advantage adding a cloud feature to their products.

Just as the proverb I began this article with, presently, there are more than enough opportunities for the entire BSD

community, BSD professionals, as well as BSD service startups concerning cloud technologies and here’s why:

I predict that the following statements are, or soon will be, true:

• The next billion dollar business is in the cloud;
• More companies are firing up BSD in their data center and clouds;
• BSD-savvy professionals are in high demand;

Let’s take each of these points one at a time to discuss.

The next billion dollar business is in the cloud

The article “Here’s Where Amazon and Google Could Make Their Next $100B” caught my eye a few days ago showcasing a report put together by the tech industry research outfit, Forrester, predicting the future of the cloud computing business. Forrester’s report, drew from interviews with vendors and customers across the market, fo- cused mainly on “public cloud services” – Internet services, like those from Amazon and Google and Microsoft, that allow businesses build and operate software without setting up their own hardware. The new report predicts that this market will grow to $191 billion by 2020. That’s 20 percent more than they predicted in their previous report, back in 2011.

“The adoption among cloud among en terprises, which is really where the money is, has really picked up steam,” John Rymer, vice president at Forrester, said, “It’s a big shift. The cloud has arrived. It’s inevitable”

, he further added.

Rymer and Forrester identified the cloud, especially the public cloud (offering cloud to all), as being a “hyper-growth” market. The report further shows that, this “hyper-growth” market made up of “cloud platform services” like Amazon EC2, will be a $44 billion market by 2020, backend business services will reach $14 billion, and cloud software ap- plicationswillhit$131billion.“Alotofbusinessesarenow saying: ‘I want to move my operational application, back office applications, into public clouds,’” John Rymer said, he also said, “…in the past, so many people said: ‘I’m never going there. Now they’re actually working at it.”. And as though that was not enough Bloomberg Business recently published an article, “Cloud Boom Boosts Google, Amazon With $90 Billion Stock Surge”, revealing the success of the cloud shift everyone was talking about, and how Google and Microsoft and Amazon are already benefiting from as evidenced in their stocks, all hitting record high. For exam- ple, Amazon Web Services division, soared from 78 percent from a year ago with sales of $2.09 billion. As of this writing, Amazon’s stock gained as much as 10 percent to $619.45, Microsoft added 11 percent to $53.16, and Google soared 12 percent to $730, as revealed by Bloomberg.

Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai already said,

“Every business in the world is going to run on cloud eventually.”

More companies are firing up BSD servers in the cloud, for cloud services and even more will start from the well known names like Digital Ocean, Open Stack, Google and Amazon to others like CloudSigma and BSDvm, more and more companies are serving the latest BSD versions (especially the FreeBSD 10) in the cloud, both for customers and developers.

For example, the back end of WhatsApp, a mobile ser- vices platform acquired by Facebook in October 2014 at a final price that topped $21.8 billion runs on FreeBSD 10. FreeBSD appeals more to some developers for the back end of heavily trafficked systems, given its reputation as a stable, 30-year old version of Unix. Offering FreeBSD, has made DigitalOcean, for example, ahead of the major cloud suppliers when it comes to appealing to developers.

The customers desire and demand to have their favourite OS in the cloud as well, to enjoy the many benefits and advantages that BSD offers such as the robust community, the OS stability, security, ease of use, the many ports available among many other benefits.

And guess what? The reviews about the BSD services are just splendid. One person said in one review, “we can all now enjoy FreeBSD on AWS…, this was a long time coming. And finally wait is over”, another said, “Works flawlessly. Deployed in a minutes”, while yet another said, “I got my FreeBSD instance up and running with just a few clicks, … performance is great”.

BSD-savvy professionals are in high demand

To fill up these data centres and help operate the cloud servers you need capable people. Take for example, the Linux Professional Institute (https://www.lpi.org) certifies Linux Professionals and the BSD Certification Group (http://www.bsdcertification.org/) certifies BSD professionals. Both organisations are non-profit organisations committed to creating and maintaining global certification standards for system administration on Linux and BSD based operating systems respectively and help candidates gain the necessary skills.

The LPI Certification has the Linux Essentials Profes- sional Development Certificate, Linux Server Professional Certification (LPIC-1), Linux Network Professional Certification (LPIC-2), Linux Enterprise Professional Certification (LPIC-3).

The BSD Certification Group has two levels of certification – the BSD Associate (BSDA), an entry level certification on BSD systems administration and the BSD Professional (BSDP) designed to be an advanced certification for senior system administrators with at least three years of experience on BSD systems. These exams are thorough and based on psychometric making sure they reflect the needs of the IT community and industry. Once a candidate is well prepared either by professional training and self study accompanied with lab practise, the exams are nothing to be afraid of. Also the objectives and list of study materials can be found on their websites.

The value of these certifications cannot be over-emphasized as more organisations are requiring proof of professionalism from applicants, employees and consultants.

Indeed.com is an excellent job board where Linux/UNIX/ BSD professionals can find job vacancies (from network Engineers to System Administrators, Security Specialists, support technicians and many more) – these job offers always request for *NIX/BSD skills either specifically or as an added advantage. Applicants are also encouraged to upload their resumes ahead, so employers can find them easily. Now imagine what happens when an employer sees in your resume that you are certified by a standard body like LPI or BSDCG coupled with the experience you have in the field, at that point your certification speaks for you.

LinkedIn is another place, one of the best business platforms where BSD and Open Source Pros can find jobs or to find companies interested in their skills. At this point, the *NIX/BSD experts need to be heavily involved in cloud technologies, and market themselves, (thankfully there’s social media). If you think it is not that obvious that professionals with such skills are a necessity, just read Google Cloud Platform web page: Google says that, for the operating system images in the table listing given, (which incidentally included FreeBSD10) that support for the OSes including BSD can be gotten with the re- source listed under Support channel. It further says that, “Compute Engine does not manage these operating systems and any questions or costs would be determined by the corresponding operating system community.”

First, I think, it is good that a tech giant, like Google (that is gaining increased ground in the cloud industry), provides support for the BSD OS. Even though its com- pute engine does not manage BSD OS, it emphasizes by saying (and here’s the catch and opportunity for the BSD community and experts) – “…any questions or costs would be determined by the corresponding OS community” (for BSD, that would be the BSD community). This shows that the cost and advise to provide these services are determined and controlled by the BSD savvy professional. Now that is a great opportunity. For instance, BSD savvy experts can offer the services required in this regard, either by building startups, or by forming partnerships with these cloud-offering organisations or even by being part-time or full-time employees to the cloud organisations to fill in this gap and also make some money.

As we know, Amazon is another giant in the cloud business. This further confirms the significant space the BSD OS holds and the community members (like Colin Percival, a FreeBSD contributor and FreeBSD security officer, whose name came up in the reviews) involved in bringing the BSD cloud instance live for customers on the AWS infrastructure. As mentioned earlier, customer reviews about the FreeBSD instance in the AWS cloud space are terrific. Amazon is one of the big players and is growing. Having the required BSD skills to deploy and manage such in the AWS cloud platform is a big advantage, giving a BSD professional an edge over others as it is readily demanded but often scarce.

Aspiring BSD professionals can start developing them- selves now, resources are readily available online – tutorials, training resources, forums, online programs and a whole community available to assist. BSD Conferences are also held consistently around the globe. Diligent practice is a must on the part of the aspiring BSD pro. You can work with virtualization software or work directly on an available system either personal or in the cloud, now easy and affordable. Certification programs are sure advantages.

Just as resources are vast, so are the opportunities, lets be a part of it and seize the opportunity this moment. God bless the BSD and Open Source Software community. God bless you.


This article was written by Olaoluwa Omokanwaiye for BSD Mag Vol. 09 No. 10 (74). Olaoluwa is a Linux professional and a BSD user and BSD magazine beta-tester. He works with the Linux Pr fessional Institute Master Affiliate in Nigeria.

He started using the *NIX OSes many years back when he got inquisitive and curious with operating systems other than the popular proprietary ones. He is happily married to Eniola, an architect and interior designer, and they have an adorable daughter, Grace-Lois that is already tinkering with her dad’s Android tablet.

Olaoluwa Omokanwaiye has been passionate about open source technologies since his sophomore year. Today, twelve years later, he has worked with the Linux Professional Institute since 2008 in promoting and providing training and certification opportunities to a wide range of clients from server administrators to air traffic control personnel. A keen advocate of open source systems, he is presently working with a team that’s looking to set up an innovation hub at a prestigious university in Nigeria. He is married to Eniola, an architect, and their 1 year old daughter is fast becoming a pro at tinkering with her Dad’s Android tablet. In his free time Laolu watches Marvel movies, follows up on new developments in robotics and plucks a few strings on his violin. Connect with Olaoluwa on LinkedIn at ng.linkedin.com/in/olaoluwa twitter at dnachild.

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Dima Sichkar

Great article and very inspiring! BSD is my passion and now even more with cloud movement. My mind has been reframed into cloud perspective with this article. Thanks Olaoluwa for this.

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