What is the OpenStack Cloud Computing Cookbook?

As I go through the process of editing the chapters based on the excellent feedback a team of technical reviewers have given us, there are certain themes that are standing out.  One more so is what exactly is the OpenStack Cloud Computing Cookbook, or what is a cookbook in general?

In a traditional setting, a cookbook is a set of cooking recipes on how to bake a cake, make a jacket potato or a lamb rogan josh for example.  These steps include an overview of what you’re about to make, the ingredients, any preparation required and the method by which to create this culinary masterpiece.

These recipes are usually grouped together with some common theme.  It could be starters, mains and desserts or lamb dishes, chicken dishes, etc.

A chef, or keen boyfriend wanting to impress is other half, would find the recipe that they want to follow and go from the beginning of that recipe for that scrumptious Tiramisu. Then voila, after following the 10 steps to create this masterpiece they have their dessert and eat it.

This is the exact same analogy with the OpenStack Cloud Computing Cookbook – or any technical cookbook series: a user locates the scenario they want instructions to follow and, step-by-step, they can recreate the end goal that is laid out for them.  This might be creating a new service role under the OpenStack Identity Service, or deleting SDN networks.

Optionally, and this is the crucial thing, the user can choose to follow from Page 1 to Page 300+ in an attempt to go from bare-metal to more advanced features – but it’s not within the bounds of a cookbook to assume that just because you want a starter, main and dessert that you necessarily have to have chosen a particular starter in order to make the main course more palatable.

What I tried to do with the 1st Edition was to arrange the chapters into a logical flow – the Starters, Mains and Desserts.  In the 2nd Edition we have the following chapters (we’re currently in an editing phase, so these reflect the lay of the land at the time of writing and are subject to change):

  • Chapter 1: Starting OpenStack Identity Service
  • Chapter 2: Starting OpenStack Image Service
  • Chapter 3: Starting OpenStack Compute Service
  • Chapter 4: Administering OpenStack Compute
  • Chapter 5: Starting OpenStack Storage
  • Chapter 6: Using OpenStack Storage
  • Chapter 7: Administering OpenStack Storage
  • Chapter 8: Starting OpenStack Volume Service
  • Chapter 9: Starting OpenStack Dashboard
  • Chapter 10: Using OpenStack Networking
  • Chapter 11: Automating OpenStack Installations
  • Chapter 12: Highly Available OpenStack
  • Chapter 13: Monitoring and Troubleshooting

As you can see there isn’t a chapter on how to plan an installation, what do I have to take into consideration, how to install “OpenStack” (rather than how do I install and configure Keystone, how do I install and configure Glance: these are recipes in the book), how does Glance interact with Keystone and Horizon… if you want a book on these, you need to download or purchase the excellent OpenStack Operations Guide or books that are on Mastering OpenStack.  Guides provide the extra words and reasoning behind OpenStack, cookbooks answer your questions on how to do something.  But the chapters are laid out in the typical order of services that are installed to get OpenStack up and running. One of my pet hates with some documentation is that we ensure continuity from one recipe and chapter to the next so that people wishing to consume from Page 1 to Page 300+ end up in the same place Cody and I expect you to be.

I hope this serves as a useful piece of information for anyone wishing to purchase the book and technical reviewers currently providing feedback to Cody and myself.


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