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OpenStack for edX: Inside, and Out

Project: OpenStack for edX

Our courses teach various facets of distributed computing, so each and every one of our students needed to have a fully scaled-out, distributed environment to play with (and break!). We wanted a highly-available LMS deployment for thousands of students, and this is the icing on the cake, we wanted to deploy all of this on OpenStack, the hottest open source cloud technology available. How did we build all this so that students get a great online learning experience, without it costing them a fortune?

In this talk, I will explain the thinking behind some of the early design decisions, including why we chose edX and OpenStack. I will go into the detail of how we re-purposed community tools, and in some cases wrote our own, and will cover the technical details of firing up clusters of VMs for students (but only when actually needed!), and being able to get a terminal in front of students with as little friction as possible.

Deena Cooper

Deena is a skilful researcher, educator, and workshop facilitator with extensive experience in government and higher education. She started her professional career as a psychologist in 2005, where she honed her skills in developing people. Now Deena is using her skills in understanding behaviour and cognition to help develop technology that benefits people, and she is passionate about promoting open source to do this. Deena's work as an Instructional Designer with hastexo allows her to continue to bridge the gap between psychology and technology.

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