OpenStack Cloud Platform – An Introduction with Background

Cloud computing models of services have taken very strong roots in the domain of IT hosting on the market place. Many models of cloud computing have been implemented on hosting services; but all these models of the services were implemented on the basis of proprietary platforms. These platforms were paid versions of software whose license was not free to use like other open sources systems. There was a need for an open source cloud computing software platform that could be used for everybody without any license fee. This project of OpenStack software development was started to release it under Apache 2.0 license.

NASA and Rackspace joined together and started a platform to develop open sources platform for infrastructure as a service or IaaS. They started this project in July 2010 with the name “OpenStack”. The platform development started vigorously and the first version of the software released within just four months after the start of this initiative. This first version of the code was named as Austin; second release was made public 3rd February 2011. Subsequently many versions of OpenStack open source software platform have been released. The latest update this is expected to be release very soon is named as “Folsom”.

OpenStack software platform for cloud computing is based on modular system; it basically integrates two major modules running in NASA and Rackspace Cloud Hosting Company. These two modules are Nebula of NASA and Cloud File of Rackspace. After the integration of these two modules, few other modules have been also developed to make OpenStak more effective, efficient, and secure. This software system covers many components of software; three of them are very major and new components are being developed for robustness of the open source software. These three components are compute or NOVA, object storage or SWIFT, and image service or GLANCE. Few other components which will be integrated very soon are Identity management of OpenStack or KEYSTONE and HORIZON or user interface dashboard.

Compute component or NOVA is a controlling part of this platform, which will control the cloud computing fabric. This software is written in Python and also integrates many libraries for the support to operate this module effectively. SWIFT part or component also called as Object Storage is storage system that is very scalable, flexible, and redundant in its technical nature. This module will completely replace the existing Cloud File of Rackspace Company. GLANCE or OpenStack Storage is very effective open sources solution to the storage needs. It can support different types of storages like Block-Storage and Object-Storage; other than this there are many options for deployments of these storages systems.

Another important feature of this open source software is its great interface dashboard. It provide very easy interface for users to communicate with the different tools and application. This dashboard provide very effective and useful administrative interface with this platform.

This project is now expanding very rapidly and more than 150 contributing members have already joined the group. These companies include many IT giants of the technology sphere.

Author: Maria Dehn

Maria Dehn is a Writer at She has held editorial management positions for numerous print and Web publications. She has more than 17 years of Information Technologies and journalism experience and has written many books on cloud computing. She can be reached at [email protected]

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