Thursday, January 23, 2014

OpenStack: The Building Block for Private Cloud

I am back after an extended break from blogging about data storage topics. As I am no longer working at Quantum, I am free to blog about the recent developments in data storage without any concerns.

Last year, I started using cloud servers on Digital Ocean for PeerCube and worked with Amazon Web Services during Coursera's Introduction to Data Science course. Since then, I became very interested in private clouds and methods to establish and manage them.

With the rise of server virtualization, users and applications ability to spin up and spin down pre-built images as needed, and the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud, there are fewer reasons for IT administrators to actively manage pooling and allocation of IT infrastructure resources. While there are several commercial (VMware vCloud) and open source platforms (Apache CloudStack, Eucalyptus, OpenStack) that let you build Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) private cloud, I am particularly excited with the developments happening in OpenStack community.

I was sold on OpenStack as soon as I was able to install a DevStack environment on an old laptop and spin up images within couple of hours. Since then, I have been exploring OpenStack documentation and source code to understand this platform better with private cloud as a specific application in mind.

OpenStack Components

The modularized architecture of OpenStack includes following service components:
  1. Compute (Nova)
  2. Object Store (Swift)
  3. Block Storage (Cinder)
  4. Neutron, formerly Quantum (Network)
  5. Image (Glance)
  6. Identity (Keystone)
  7. Dashboard (Horizon)
In the next blog post, I will elaborate on each services components. Being from data storage industry, I am very interested in learning about the storage service components of OpenStack in-depth.

As I realized that I learn best by writing and sharing, future blog posts will be my journey toward understanding OpenStack and how to use it to establish and manage private clouds.

Book Resources


  1. Each component of the OpenStack has been released under the terms of the Apache license, making it a bit more permissive than the GPL. It also means that you can make any changes under a different license. With an open format and completely modifiable source code, it makes a lot more sense to invest in moving to the Cloud.

    Ruby Badcoe @ WilliamsDataManagement

    1. Agreed. Private Cloud is the way to go to empower users to spin up/down and manage their own instances and creating a scalable internal infrastructure. And, OpenStack licensing and open source enables it quite well.