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How To Explain OpenStack To A 10 Year Old

Mohammed NaserMohammed Naser

Our aim of this blog is to explain OpenStack to you in simple terms. So simple that you could theoretically take your learnings and explain OpenStack to a 10-year-old.

At its base, OpenStack is open-source software for creating private and public clouds. The OpenStack community consists of thousands of egalitarian developers in tight collaboration with users. We are not exaggerating when we say hundreds of the world's biggest and brightest brands rely on open source to keep their businesses running the way they should. OpenStack also helps to reduce costs and increase efficiency. With the right support, it doesn't matter if you're an avid do-it-yourselfer or prefer to have your cloud solution managed by experts, anyone can take advantage of OpenStack powered products.

Our aim of this blog is to explain OpenStack to you in simple terms. In other words, so simple that you could theoretically take your learnings and explain them to a 10-year-old. Or you can take your learnings and inspire to upgrade to OpenStack. If you are, we're here to help.


The origin story is well known. Two small groups of engineers, one from Rackspace and the other for NASA collaborated to create what we know today as OpenStack. This group project began in 2010. That project was to collaborate on open-source software that could run large computer systems. They wanted this open-source software to be transparent and encourage active participation throughout the community.

However, the more people heard about the project, the more people wanted to help out. Since then, the community has continued to grow. Developers from around the world work together on a six-month release cycle with developmental milestones. We at VEXXHOST joined the OpenStack community in its second release, Bexar, in 2011. Above all, it's been exciting to watch the open source community continue to come together and grow.

The OpenStack Ecosystem

In order to familiarize yourself with the platform, it's best to understand the basic individual projects and services that make up the cloud ecosystem. There are many more optional services, but we are going to look at six of their core services to start.

Keystone is an authentification and authorization component. It is in charge of projects and the first element that should be installed. Every single OpenStack powered cloud has Keystone built into it.

Nova is in charge of everything from instance sizing, creation, management location. Nova is fundamental to your cloud and it's considered to be one of the most important aspects of the cloud for a reason. It makes the computing resources of your cloud. We don't need to tell you that it's an enormous role.

Neutron is complicated yet also extremely powerful. Its role is to create virtual networks inside of an OpenStack cloud. You should be thinking everything from creating virtual networks, routers, firewalls, and beyond. It's a powerhouse for a reason.

Glance has the power to upload OpenStack compatible images. These images can either be stored locally or on object storage. Overall, Glance works to manage server images for your cloud.

Cinder is a Block Storage provider for your OpenStack cloud. Thanks to Cinder, end-users receive a self-service API to request and use resources without needing knowledge of where storage is being deployed.

Swift is highly available and distributed. What does this mean? It means that Swift does the work of providing Object Storage as a service to your OpenStack powered cloud.

These are just the start of OpenStack and you can expand your OpenStack environment as needed. Adding more advanced levels of functions to your cloud through the numerous OpenStack projects is just one of many possibilities for your OpenStack powered cloud.

How To Start

With our OpenStack consulting services you'll always have an expert by your side. Whether you're an avid do-it-yourselfer or an IT expert, to ensure success in any transition to an OpenStack powered cloud you need to make sure you find an expert you can trust. Moreover, we're here to guide you through every step of your journey and help you get set up with the very best OpenStack cloud environment to suit your unique needs.

Contact us today to learn about how we can help get you started with OpenStack.

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