Welcome to ipSpace.net Online Course

From Next-Generation Data Center

This page will help you get started and (hopefully) get the most out of the course. It's a work-in-progress, and would definitely benefit from your feedback, so please send me as many remarks, comments or questions as you like – either via email (preferably to ip@ipspace.net) or via our Slack group (see [Main page] for details).

Course Overview

The online course has three major components that I'm responsible for:

  • Material you have to study on your own (it doesn't make sense to waste everyone's time to go through the existing slide decks again);
  • Live sessions, including presentations from guest speakers, design discussions, and answers to your questions;
  • Optional design assignments.

I can only hope you'll add the fourth component: discussions with other like-minded attendees (the really interesting stuff that happens during the breaks). You entered a community with dozens of like-minded engineers – chat with them, exchange ideas, ask them how things worked out for them, and find solutions to common problems.

First Things First

We’re using a Slack discussion group to chat about the course. I’m also using the Slack team for news and announcements. You’ll get an invitation to join the team a day or two after registration (I still have to send them out manually).

This wiki has all the information about the course. You’ll find quick links on the Main Page which also contains a list of recently changed article. This page has a more detailed list of changes.

The first hour or two of any classroom course are spent on introductions along the lines of “please tell everyone who you are what you’re most interested in.” This is an online course, so we’ll do it the online way. Please create your user page in this wiki. Tell your colleagues who you are, what you want to get out of the course, and what challenges you want to be able to solve after completing the course.

Self-Study Materials

The moment you register for the course you get access to self-study materials that will give you the fundamentals and the technology background you need to benefit from the live sessions. You'll notice that there's way more material than we could possibly consume in a week-long course (another reason why I decided to use self-study approach), so please start studying as soon as possible.

Some of the self-study material is mandatory; you might have a hard time following the live sessions if you don't understand those topics. Other material is for students who want to know more or get alternative views (particularly the podcast episodes).

Obviously you don't have to suffer through hours of videos covering technologies you already know – the self-study material is there to help you prepare for the discussions, and you're the only one to judge how much preparation you need.

While studying the materials you might stumble upon something where you'd say »I don't get it« or »it doesn't make sense« or »this can't be right«. Simple solution: send me an email, or even better: start the discussion in our Slack group.

You might also get more fundamental questions while studying the materials. Save them for our live sessions, you're probably not the only one who has that question.

All ipSpace.net content you need for the course is available on my.ipspace.net. If you're an active subscriber you might have a bit of a hard time finding it (because it doesn't show on the first page of my.ipspace.net); in that case use these links:


Live Sessions

We’ll have a live session focusing on a different topic (almost) every week. The dates of the sessions are listed on the Live sessions page. All sessions start at the same time as live webinar sessions (unless noted otherwise): 10AM US East Coast, 7AM US West Coast, 4PM Central Europe (this might be 14:00 or 15:00 GMT depending on whether the daylight saving craziness is in effect or not).

I apologize to participants from the US West Coast – I know 7AM is an early start for a heady technical session, but do keep in mind that it will be a late afternoon session for participants from Middle East, and a midnight session for anyone from Australia.

Most live sessions will start with a presentation from a guest speaker which is supposed to take approximately one hour (but I know some of them will be longer, particularly if you ask as many questions as I expect you will), following by design discussions and answers to questions you got while studying the self-study materials. Expect the sessions to last 2-3 hours.

While I can probably answer most of the questions ad-lib, do send me the major topics you want to discuss in advance. As always, email and Slack comments work, but I’d really appreciate if you would try to add them to the list of discussion questions yourself to practice you MediaWiki skills.

I’ll try to keep the design discussions a bit structured, and cover the questions related to topic of the week first, but we can take as long as needed to cover all other questions you might have afterwards.

We’ll use the same infrastructure for the live sessions as for the webinars – GoToWebinar classroom (note: supposedly it still doesn’t work well on Linux) with a major addition: you’ll be able to either write down your questions or ask them in person. If you decide to use the second option, please invest in a decent headset – microphones built into most laptop computers are awful, and the echo you get every now and then is not exactly amusing. You'll get a GoToWebinar invitation a few days before each live session and reminders from my system two days and four hours before sessions start.

As with live webinars, we’ll record all live sessions and publish them within the next 24 hours.

Design Assignments

I will create a half-dozen design assignments for you to work on. I’m still working on them, and (you guessed it!) I’ll announce them in our Slack group when they’re ready.

The Community

Last but definitely not least, remember that you’re now a lifetime member of a community of like-minded engineers. You can stay in the Slack team for as long as you wish, and you’ll get access to recordings of live sessions from future courses as soon as they’re published.

Being in a reasonably-sized community of people facing similar challenges all around the globe can be an immense asset (trust me: it’s amazing how much I got from the Tech Field Day Delegates community). Whenever you have a tough question ask your peers for advice – I’m positive at least a few of them will eventually chime in and help you out.

However, like with any community, you have to make it work for you. Be active, and help others out. Also, make sure your user profile is up to date – everyone likes to know who he’s chatting with.

Hint: Slack can notify you either when there’s activity in the community or when someone mentions you. It can also push notifications to your desktop or mobile app. I was very skeptical of Slack until I found out how to use their iOS application with my morning coffee.

Beyond Networking

I also want to use this course to nudge you a bit toward open-source tools. That’s why we’re using MediaWiki as the web site platform. Like any other technology it has a learning curve, but as it’s one of the most commonly used web platforms worldwide you might want to invest some time to figure out how to work with it.