OpenStack: The Next Generation Cloud Technology

OpenStack is a pilot project launched by Rackspace and NASA, which was founded in July 2010. The purpose behind the project was to provide open source software that enables any organization to create and offer cloud computing services running on standardized hardware. The project aims for simple implementation, massive scalability, and a rich set of features.

Cloud computing experts from around the world contribute to the project.

Cloud computing is nothing but a computing model, where resources such as computing power, storage, network and software are abstracted and provided as services on the Internet in a remotely accessible fashion. An infrastructure setup based on the cloud computing model is generally referred to as the “cloud”.  The following are the broad categories of services available on the cloud:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Backup as a Service (BaaS)

OpenStack is a cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a datacenter, managed through a dashboard or via the OpenStack API and supports all types of cloud environments. OpenStack works with popular enterprise and Open Source technologies makes it ideal for heterogeneous infrastructure. OpenStack Training provides you in-depth knowledge in setting up cloud environments.

It is an open source Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) initiative for creating and managing large groups of virtual private servers in a data center.

Components of Openstack

There are basically eleven components of OpenStack (two of which were just included in the last Icehouse release), below is a quick breakdown of what they are called in OpenStack speak, and what they do.

Openstack cloud technology

OpenStack has a modular architecture that currently has eleven components:

Nova – provides virtual machines (VMs) upon demand.

Swift – provides a scalable storage system that supports object storage.

Cinder – provides persistent block storage to guest VMs.

Glance – provides a catalog and repository for virtual disk images.

Keystone – provides authentication and authorization for all the OpenStack services.

Horizon – provides a modular web-based user interface (UI) for OpenStack services.

Neutron – provides network connectivity-as-a-service between interface devices managed by OpenStack services.

Ceilometer – provides a single point of contact for billing systems.

Heat – provides orchestration services for multiple composite cloud applications.

Trove – provides database-as-a-service for relational and non-relational database engines.

Sahara – provides data processing services for OpenStack-managed resources.

All of the above components are managed through a dashboard which gives administrators control while empowering their users to provision resources through a web interface.

More specifically though, it is a collection of open source software that allows us to perform certain functions on the cloud.

The goals of the OpenStack initiative are to support interoperability between cloud services and allow businesses to build Amazon-like cloud services in their own datacenter. OpenStack, which is freely available under the Apache 2.0 license, is often referred to in the media as “the Linux of the Cloud” and is compared to Eucalyptus and the Apache CloudStack project, two other open source cloud initiatives.

Conclusion

Hundreds of the world’s largest brands rely on OpenStack to run their businesses every day, reducing costs and helping them move faster. OpenStack has a strong ecosystem, and users seeking commercial support can choose from different OpenStack-powered products and services in the Marketplace.

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