Question : I’m looking to either sit a Cisco UCS course or an Openstack course; I don’t deal with any of these technologies today however looking to start consulting on these two. Is Cisco UCS still relevant in today’s enterprises? If so, I’ll take up a UCS course before moving onto an Openstack course. Is Cisco UCS still relevant in today’s enterprises? If so, I’ll take up a UCS course before moving onto an Openstack course. If you could shed some light, that would be fab. Thanks Greg.
TL:DR – I think OpenStack is the a better long term choice but that Cisco UCS is a good short term choice. Having specific skills
Thoughts on Cisco UCS Skills
Cisco UCS business is small but fast growing piece of x86 servers market with roughly 5% overall market share. In the Enterprise, this penetration is much higher as customers are willing to pay a premium for blade servers and other value added features of UCS products, some reports suggest as much 40% of blade server sales are Cisco UCS.
Learning about x86 servers is a excellent career progression. I believe that there will be rapid adoption of virtual network appliances on hypervisors and cloud platforms where knowledge of CPUs, memory and disk drives will be a core competency. If you don’t know it today, you will need it soon.
Thoughts on the negative side. it is expensive to get Cisco training and hard to get access to hands on practice needed. The total number of companies using Cisco UCS servers is still small today and this might limit your future employment choices if you were to choose HPE servers etc. Also, skills in configuring an x86 servers doesn’t seem to have good long term career value as we see many companies migrating to the public cloud.
For these reasons, Cisco UCS skills would be an excellent choice for a short term career plan. Those skills can be used immediately by an employer and its clear that you have some precise skills that you can sell for a salary.
Thoughts on OpenStack
In my view, OpenStack will be the dominant cloud platform for private cloud infrastructure in the next five to ten years. Today ? Not so much. As a career choice, its a longer term decision.
There are a limited number of Enterprises running OpenStack today. Its complex, confusing, changing and looks a lot like Linux did in circa 2003/2004, that is, it needs a few more years to mature, simplify and for spread of skills. This means there are limited places where you can get a position but you have much less competition for roles that exist and likely to earn over the average.
OpenStack has many components (see below) and you will need a lot of time to master all of them. You should consider starting in a specific area.
While most Enterprises are using VMware vCenter/ESX for virtualization, my view is that orchestration and automation will be done using OpenStack because enterprises need multi-vendor support that VMware doesn’t provide.
The Etherealmind View
My perspective is that OpenStack is a better long term career choice but the payoff is harder to understand because OpenStack is changing and customers are few. Cisco UCS training is likley a strong short term prospect that won’t do you any harm as you will need to understand x86 servers for long term career progression.