Introduction to OpenStack



OpenStack is an open-source cloud infrastructure solution for public and private clouds. It is composed of several modules that control large pools of compute, storage and networking resources throughout a datacenter. To  facilitate handling of theses components OpenStack implements a dashboard (Horizon)

OpenStack was originally developed in 2010 as a joint project of Rackspace and NASA. In September 2012 the control of OpenStack is transferred to the OpenStack Foundation to promote the development, distribution and adoption among the community, and nowadays more than 500 companies are part of this project, some of them as big as AT&T, IBM, Red Hat or Intel. OpenStack is provided under an Apache 2.0 license.



OpenStack consists of many components, developed as independent projects, that can be combined in custom deployments that only expose the functionality required for the intended applications.

There are 2 kinds of component of OpenStack as regards governance:

Core components, that are common to most deployments and are developed and released in a unified way;

And “big tent” components, that are developed and released independently, but adhere to OpenStack processes: open source license, open community, use of the OpenStack build model.

Core Components:


The following list shows a brief description of the main components. For more information about components you can visit  openstack software:

  1. Compute (Nova): It is the main part of an IaaS System. It is designed to launch instances and manage them, and it also takes care of control between services.
  2. Object Storage (Swift): An object storage system, it offers cloud storage software so that you can store and retrieve arbitrary data with a simple API. The main feature is that it is built for scalability and optimizability. It is highly recommended to store unstructured data that can grow without bounds.
  3. Networking (Neutron): This is the project that provides network connectivity as a service between devices managed by OpenStack services.
  4. Block Storage (Cinder): It’s designed to present block storage resources to end users that can be consumed by Nova.
  5. Identity (Keystone): It’s the identity service for authentication and authorization. It currently supports token-based authN and user-service authorization, in future versions it will support oAuth, SAML and  openID.
  6. Image (Glance): This project is designed to manage images and snapshots, that can be stored using Swift.
  7. Dashboard (Horizon): Horizon is the canonical implementation of Openstack’s Dashboard, which provides a web based user interface to OpenStack services including Nova, Swift, Keystone, etc.


OpenStack is developed and released in 6-month cycles, although big tent components are released independently from Openstack releases.

This is a brief summary of what we consider important for anyone who wants to enter the world of openstack. If you seek to expand on this knowledge we recommend stopping by the official website of the project.


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