OpenStack is an open source platform for creating and managing large groups of virtual private servers in a cloud computing environment. The platform supports interoperability between cloud services and allow businesses to build and deploy private cloud services in their own data centers.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) worked with Rackspace, a managed hosting and cloud computing service provider, to develop OpenStack. RackSpace donated the code that powers its storage and content delivery service and production servers. NASA contributed the technology that powers their high performance computing, networking and data storage cloud service.
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 provisioning for relational and non-relational database engines.
- Sahara – provides data processing services for OpenStack-managed resources.
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.
OpenStack officially became an independent non-profit organization in September 2012. The OpenStack community, which is overseen by a board of directors, is comprised of many direct and indirect competitors, including IBM, Intel and VMware.
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