Job Interview Questions for OpenStack Developers

The cloud has fueled the popularity of the OpenStack platform, as well as demand for developers and architects who have experience with its compute, storage and networking capabilities. Salaries for professionals with OpenStack skills have risen steadily over the past few years.

When searching for OpenStack candidates, Ruchi Bhargava, director of datacenter and cloud software engineering at Intel’s Open Source Technology Center, focuses on logical thinkers who are familiar with open-source programs. Here are some of the questions she asks during an interview:

How would you perform an upgrade from one OpenStack release to another?

  • What Most People Say: “I’m not sure, because I haven’t done one before. But I’ve heard that OpenStack upgrades are difficult.”
  • What You Should Say: “There’s no doubt that OpenStack upgrades can be difficult. For instance, I was involved in an Icehouse upgrade at my last company. Although we followed the recommended processes, I ended up creating and deploying several Band Aid scripts to minimize downtime and conduct cleanup. However, we were willing to withstand the pain since Icehouse is supposed to provide some support for rolling upgrades of compute nodes between OpenStack releases.”
  • Why You Should Say It: A top-notch developer recognizes when an upgrade is necessary, and how to minimize downtime.

Which project would you want to work on as an OpenStack developer?

  • What Most People Say: “I would focus my efforts on creating an automatic upgrade tool.”
  • What You Should Say: “I would review the use cases before committing myself to a project or developing, testing and deploying any new tool or app. However, it’s my understanding that the biggest areas of need revolve around deployment, minimizing disruptions between upgrades and the need for management and monitoring tools and infrastructure to support native apps.”
  • Why You Should Say It: Reviewing use-cases is a logical first step in creating tools and apps that provide maximum value to the enterprise. Most cloud apps need to be modified to fit a particular customer’s needs anyway, so OpenStack developers need to focus their time on projects that will meet the broader needs of cloud users. 

In your opinion, which OpenStack use case has been most successful?

  • What Most People Say: “Any app or tool that meets the needs of small to mid-size businesses is successful.”
  • What You Should Say: “I’ve read a number of use cases and I’ve been impressed with how OpenStack has helped small to large companies deploy scalable, elastic, secure private clouds. However, I’ve been following the recent cases that utilize OpenStack as a framework for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). The opportunities for the future seem to be huge.”
  • Why You Should Say It: Size is irrelevant. While OpenStack has its limitations, and may not be right for every company and situation, developers need an understanding of what it will take to make OpenStack a ubiquitous cloud operating system.

Describe a project that you would undertake to increase OpenStack’s viability.

  • What Most People Say: “I’d like to focus on a project that increases cloud performance and reliability.”
  • What You Should Say: “I’d like to make onboarding easier to give more organizations the opportunity to utilize OpenStack. Therefore, I’d like to focus on projects that integrate APIs with service management or enterprise tools, or projects that support open integration. And I’ll make sure that everything I create supports third-party standards and interoperability.”
  • Why You Should Say It: Top-notch developers understand that reducing the barriers to entry through the creation of open architecture, open source solutions and the development of cloud standards is the best way to protect the long-term viability of OpenStack, as well as the substantial investments that companies are making in the cloud.

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