Learn the latest on OpenStack distributions and development

Last updated:March 2016

Editor's note

A joint effort of cloud computing giant Rackspace and NASA, OpenStack was developed and released in July 2010 as an open source IaaS platform for cloud computing. OpenStack's free availability under the Apache 2.0 license and its ability to run on standard hardware have made it an appealing option for administrators looking to build their own private cloud.

However, widespread adoption has been slower than many open source advocates had hoped. OpenStack is notoriously difficult to deploy and management tools aren't nearly as robust as those offered for proprietary options. Even so, OpenStack has continued to evolve over the last six years, in large part thanks to the work of both amateur and expert developers whose contributions have strengthened the software's ecosystem and increased its interoperability between cloud services. Newer commercial OpenStack distributions are beginning to turn the tide -- helping simplify set up and integrating with familiar products.

Cut through the complexity to learn more about OpenStack's basic components, capabilities and challenges to decide whether OpenStack -- or which distribution of OpenStack -- is right for you with this guide.

1The building blocks of OpenStack

The first step to any OpenStack deployment is an inclusive installation, but it's infamously complicated implementation process has given many users pause. Fortunately, there are some best practices you can go by to reduce the headache of deployment. Once installed, OpenStack has numerous capabilities that make creating and managing a cloud environment simple and effective. Take a look at these tips to get OpenStack up and running in your environment and to take advantage of all that it has to offer.

2Some common OpenStack setbacks

Although OpenStack is an effective cloud computing platform, like all other software, it isn't without its drawbacks. OpenStack has been plagued by a number of issues as of late, from a difficult, time-consuming installation process and low enterprise adoption rates to less than robust features. Some of these problems have glaringly obvious solutions -- for example, a more tailored OpenStack training program to bring administrators up to speed -- while others can only be solved by changes to OpenStack's core components. Hopefully, as time goes on, OpenStack will continue to evolve and adapt in an effort to meet the needs of businesses.

3Different OpenStack distributions

Since it is an open source platform, there are a wide variety of OpenStack distributions. From VMware Integrated OpenStack to OpenStack on Red Hat and more, finding the format best suited to your needs and skill set can be a challenge. This section will help those considering an OpenStack implementation evaluate the different approaches vendors take to cloud computing, and what features their OpenStack distributions have to offer.