OpenStack skills are in hot demand. You need to look no further than current IT job openings, with the number of positions for OpenStack professionals doubling since last year – outpacing other cloud infrastructure jobs by a huge margin.
With OpenStack quickly becoming a preferred choice among enterprises for building private and hybrid clouds, demand for OpenStack expertise is suddenly outweighing supply. This imbalance has the potential to impact some organizations’ cloud deployment plans. The OpenStack Enterprise Adoption survey found that while a large majority of global enterprises plan to use OpenStack, 45 percent cited the lack of internal IT skills as the number one barrier to adoption.
Some believe this shortage in skills has big financial implications. According to the latest Cloud Price Index by 451 Research, running an OpenStack distribution is typically 20 percent less expensive than commercial competitors, but in the long run, the total cost of ownership (TCO) could be higher. The research firm believes this is because there are not as many skilled OpenStack engineers for hire, driving companies to pay substantially more for the required set of skills.
While the estimated TCO is currently on the high end, I believe this is merely temporary – and I’m not alone in this thinking. According to Owen Rogers, senior analyst at 451 Research, “As more OpenStack engineers enter the market and the technology becomes more mature too, then it’s perfectly likely the tipping point will go the other way and it will become better value than some of the more commercial technologies.”
We saw a similar situation in the early years of Linux, with much pent-up demand for strong Linux expertise in order to keep pace with the rapidly increasing install base. At Red Hat, we launched a Linux training certification program in 1999 and were curious to look back and compare Linux adoption and training volume with the Red Hat OpenStack Platform certification training we offer today.
Based on that review, we are seeing that OpenStack is out-trending Linux when it comes to certification. In the fiscal year that recently ended, we saw the number of certified OpenStack professionals increase seven fold, and we certified more individuals in the fourth quarter alone than in first and second quarters of the fiscal year combined.
As OpenStack continues to mature and the product becomes easier to use, the barriers related to finding qualified engineers will gradually fade. And of course, greater adoption of the technology will fuel additional growth in the talent pool.
Ken Goetz is vice president of Global Learning Services at Red Hat, a sponsor of The New Stack.
Feature image via Flickr Creative Commons.