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.
1A basic introduction-
Getting acquainted with OpenStack
OpenStack's modular architecture encompasses a myriad of components, each of which perform a specific, detailed task. OpenStack features, including Neutron for networking and Swift for object storage -- many of which have earned overwhelming support from vendors and users -- work in synchronicity to help create and manage a fully functional cloud environment.
The 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.
OpenStack's installation online instructions and step-by-step wizard, while helpful, leave much to be desired. Fill in the gaps with this guide to installing OpenStack on Ubuntu. Continue Reading
Some 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.
OpenStack has gained traction, but there's not enough talent to implement the technology. In response, more courses and more tailored training have become available to meet that demand. Continue Reading
One startup's failed OpenStack install highlights the challenges that remain in implementing the emerging open source cloud platform. Continue Reading
Different 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.
When it comes to choosing an OpenStack distribution, HP, Red Hat, Cisco and others are all viable options. But enterprises should make their decision carefully. Continue Reading
OpenStack and VMware are both viable options for hybrid and private cloud. So which one should your organization choose? Continue Reading
Key OpenStack definitions
New to OpenStack? Check out these definitions to get a handle on some of the basic concepts of cloud computing.
- OpenStack Innovation Center
- Cinder (OpenStack Block Storage)
- OpenStack Neutron
- OpenStack Swift
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform
- VSphere OpenStack Virtual Appliance (VOVA)
- cloud computing