What is OpenStack?

On its website, OpenStack defines itself as “a cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a datacenter, all managed through a dashboard that gives administrators control while empowering their users to provision resources through a web interface.”

That’s quite a mouthful. If you knew all that, you’d know what OpenStack was!

Think of OpenStack as an operating system for a private or public cloud infrastructure in a multi-cloud environment. It gives you visibility into and control over a large number of compute, storage and networking resources on a single dashboard, and it can be and is being used for a wide range of workloads across multiple industries.

There are several famous case studies of OpenStack deployment by large companies like Walmart, Target, T-Mobile and even Oath/Yahoo. Walmart, for example, developed an OpenStack cloud health monitoring product called Galaxy, a multi-cloud tool that validates the health of OpenStack clouds. T-Mobile uses OpenStack to manage its 6,000 bare metal and VMs.

Who is OpenStack?

OpenStack is championed by a growing community of cloud tech members and is promoted in its hashtag form as #RunsOnOpenStack. It is one of the many tools for building open infrastructure, alongside Kubernetes and more than 30 other technologies.

OpenStack, the organization, regularly holds the famed OpenStack Summits, now renamed to Open Infrastructure Summits, that regularly hosts in excess of 20,000 guests. Keynote speakers include some of the most influential people in the tech industry from across the globe.

The OpenStack Foundation is less than seven years old, but already has a community that’s nearly 100,000 members from no less than 187 countries. As such, it is one of the most diverse groups in open source, not to mention one of the largest.

The foundation is sustained by contributions Platinum and Gold members, Infrastructure Donors and Corporate Sponsors. Among the well-known Platinum members are Tencent Cloud, AT&T, Huawei, Intel and Red Hat.

How Does OpenStack Work?

The purpose of OpenStack is to make clouds easier to manage and achieve greater scalability. To that end, OpenStack is made up of various elements that communicate with each other using each service’s APIs, or application programming interfaces. You can add, remove and replace services as required.

OpenStack Cloud Software
OpenStack Conceptual View
OpenStack Software Diagram