The OpenStack platform is widely used in cloud computing; you have probably encountered this name while searching for a cloud solution for your business. We at SIM-Networks have been using OpenStack to create our cloud solutions for a long time, which is why we’re familiar with the specifics of this software. In this article, we will outline the basics of OpenStack, the main principles behind this software, the differences between OpenStack and its competitors, as well as some practical use-cases for OpenStack clouds.
OpenStack is a software package by Rackspace and NASA used to create cloud platforms. These instruments are available to every user free of charge and the code is open-source: the software can be modified for any individual needs. OpenStack clouds have commonalities between them; however, each particular product that uses this platform is unique.
Cloud platforms use the virtualization technology through hypervisors: virtual machines are created based on servers, and each of the machines uses a part of the resources provided by the physical equipment. However, virtualization is not enough to create a cloud: hypervisors do not ensure interaction between virtual machines. It is impossible to set up a common storage for multiple machines, control groups of instances or set up a network connection between them without using additional software.
Cloud architecture unites virtual machines into a single system. Each of them uses the resources of multiple physical servers; this kind of system is easy to scale. If you want to change the configuration of an instance, all you have to do is input the desired values in the control panel. This is impossible when using a physical server or a non-cloud virtual server (VPS): a user will have to buy new components or redeploy the VPS.
Other cloud platform benefits include high fault tolerance, decentralized access to resources and data, simple management, increased security due to distributed data storage etc. The main task of OpenStack is to provide those features on the basic level and to provide tools to the developers that wish to create their own IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) platform.