Chris J Powell

What is OpenStack?

In the world of Cloud Computing, things are moving so darn fast that it is hard for the best of us to keep a handle on what is coming next.  There are new products, new services and new companies popping up almost every single day.  So if there is so much flexibility and change…how can there be standards and guidelines to ensure that Product A is a comparable product to Product B…I believe that focusing on Standards is key and in the absence of core standards…look to OpenSource!

The concept of OpenStack was started by as CloudStack and was released as an Open Source Component to building a Public or Private Cloud.  A couple of years ago, Citrix bought up the fledgling and donated the code to the Apache Foundation in April 2012 after they had released a version of it themselves, this curated codebase became OpenStack.

Taking a step back and looking at what an Open Standard can do for the creation of a Private, Public or Hybrid Cloud environment is important and in the case of OpenStack it is comprised of a Modular Framework that fits together like a Lego Building:

  • OpenStack Compute (code-name Nova)
  • OpenStack Object Storage (code-name Swift)
  • OpenStack Image Service (code-name Glance)
  • OpenStack Identity (code-name Keystone)
  • OpenStack Dashboard (code-name Horizon)
  • OpenStack Networking (code-name Quantum)
  • OpenStack Block Storage (code-name Cinder)

To build an internal Solution for yourself though…is it possible to take the components alone and create a solution from scratch? Leveraging the abilities of a Linux Server OS does make it much easier and I was able to put together a simple Cloud Solution in about 45 minutes by following the instructions found over at hastexo!.  All I needed was Ubuntu 12.04 which I had installed as a Server Test on another box and then I followed the instructions that were not only easy to follow but pretty robust.

What can having a Private Cloud built on OpenStack do…well…anything that a Public Cloud could do.  Infrastructure as a Service is not a new concept but I talk to many of my customers who are struggling with how do they make the most out of a consolidation project or reap the benefits of a Cloud Infrastructure…sometimes it is just as easy to do much of it yourself and build a fail over site using a Co-Location site.  OpenStack gives many of the components that you will need to be able to take the leap yourself…or if nothing else…it will let you hone your skills for the next wave of change coming!


Chris J Powell

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