What is OpenStack?
OpenStack is an open source cloud computing platform that can be used to setup, control and manage various components of a cloud like the computing nodes, storage, database and networking resources through a web based administrative dashboard (Horizon). It provides the cloud platform service as an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution through a set of connected services. Users can provision resources quickly like adding new instances through the dashboard. OpenStack allows for achieving great horizontal scalability and is highly configurable. OpenStack can be effectively used to setup and deploy private, public and hybrid clouds. OpenStack is evolving continuously and has all the strengths and resources for the creation of highly available cloud platforms. It has revolutionized the cloud sector through the simplicity and flexibility by which businesses can setup their own private, public or hybrid clouds and utilize rapid provisioning for scalability.
Here are the top reasons why you should use OpenStack in your IT infrastructure.
Global support and collaboration
OpenStack is maintained by a global community and backed by major enterprises like IBM, Intel, Red Hat, AMD, HP, Oracle, AT&T, Cisco, Dell, Ubuntu and so on. Thousands of developers are working hard behind it and its components to enhance and enrich it further. So you will be getting the assistance of the world with OpenStack.
Cost effective and flexible
It is free and open source and uses virtualization over commodity hardware to achieve the distributed IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) functionality. You can create abstract pools of resources for compute, storage and networking easily through a user friendly dashboard. Since the resources are virtual machines you are not spending for the hardware and only for the logical resources. A major cost factor is based o the bandwidth utilization. Most businesses have data that those not need to be exposed and access needed only for in-house or for a closed group. Using OpenStack, the high traffic commercial data components can be deployed in a public cloud and the sensitive in-house data can be deployed in a private cloud that can not only reduce cost but also increases security. Also the distinction between development and production environments can be made by using a low cost private deployment as the development platform and an optimized and quality configuration cloud as the production platform.
OpenStack’s role based access controls ensure high level of security. The identity service called Keystone provides authentication services through user name-password schemes as well as token based mechanisms. Access to the cloud and resources can be configured and controlled at levels of users, roles and projects. OpenStack thus ensures high data security, sovereignty and control through the fine grained access and authentication mechanisms and also by using the closed and on-premise private cloud deployment.
Easy and powerful administrative Dashboard
Through the dashboard component named Horizon, OpenStack provides a powerful, web based and intuitive GUI dashboard to administer the cloud. This enables you to monitor and control your cloud services – the resources for compute, storage, networking, users etc. Administrators can monitor resource usage, the VM instances, user activities, quickly provision additional resources etc with the dashboard. Along with the dashboard, OpenStack provides command line tools and APIs also for accessing and managing the OpenStack cloud.
Distinct and well integrated component services
OpenStack cloud is implemented through the core and the individual component services that are maintained along with OpenStack, like Nova for compute, Neutron for networking, Cinder for storage, Horizon for dashboard etc. Since the entire setup use a pluggable architecture, the services can be configured, scaled and managed independently and needed customizations and business required customizations can be easily performed. The components can be cross integrated with other technologies like Galera Cluster etc for achieving synchronous replication based clustering etc.
Performance and horizontal scalability
OpenStack cloud has all the elements needed for high performance, high availability and horizontal scalability with little cost. Through use of parallel and distributed nodes and by avoiding single point of failures, high availability and performance is ensured. Rapid and flexible provisioning of resources for compute, storage, networking etc. enables the cloud user to utilize the horizontal scalability potential of OpenStack to the maximum benefit of their business.
OpenStack has a reputed customer base
OpenStack’s flexibility and simplicity makes it easier to businesses to choose between the cloud models that best suit their requirements. Deploying sensitive data in a private cloud while placing commercial data in public cloud and managing both simultaneously is no longer a complex or costly project, but can be implemented utilizing the power of virtualization, authentication and security, ease of administration and rapid provisioning of resources through OpenStack. Red Hat, IBM, Rackspace, Intel, etc has developed and released their customized versions of enterprise cloud versions utilizing OpenStack core and components and their own software, middleware, hardware components that suits the needs of a wide variety of business requirements. Along with supporting and funding the project, these businesses are using customized OpenStack clouds for their business needs. This include AT&T’s Integrate Cloud (AIC), Dropbox’s implementation of OpenStack private cloud and the OpenStack implementations used by organizations like eBay, TD Bank, BMW, Walt Disney, Wal-Mart, Verizon etc.
A balanced approach for your IT needs
OpenStack enables businesses to utilize its power and flexibility to plan and implement and a hybrid, highly customizable and controlled cloud infrastructure for the growth of the business. The diverse array of choices for various elements of the infrastructure and the options for fine grained control over them can be effectively utilized for setting up a dynamic infrastructure for the business needs. You can choose which hardware you need, what architecture your resources need, how much resources can satisfy your business computational needs at specific periods of the business, how much performance and availability your customers are to be provided, etc with OpenStack. OpenStack ensures ROI within a reasonable time frame through optimized deployment of your infrastructure. Along with the growing OpenStack technology and community, your business and its infrastructure also grows with minimum effort due to the finest level of adhesion OpenStack provides with your IT infrastructure needs.