Due to the growing demand for resources driven mainly by the increasing number of devices with Internet access, it’s hard to find organizations or companies today that aren’t benefitting from the advantages of cloud computing. Acquiring and maintaining expensive hardware and software resources, as well as optimizing these resources in the most optimal way possible, poses a set of challenges that the cloud can alleviate relatively easily and quickly.
That is why leaving the delivery of IT services (servers, storage, database, networks, etc.) over the Internet to cloud computing is currently the smart thing to do for faster innovation and flexible scalable resources.
OpenStack is considered one of the best options in this area to implement both public clouds (where the infrastructure and resources forming part of the cloud environment are available to the public) and private clouds (where the infrastructure or set of resources are used by a single client or organization) offering an infrastructure as a service (laaS). That is, it focuses on offering all the necessary components in terms of storage, networks, images and virtual machines to configure your cloud infrastructure. This is because it is the largest free software cloud computing platform currently available, its main distinction being its open-source nature.
While beginning the arduous task of implementing a cloud using an open-source project involves having to face numerous challenges, the many advantages to be obtained from OpenStack make it completely worth the investment of time and capital. Among its main benefits, we can highlight:
- Elasticity: ability to, in a matter of seconds, enlarge or reduce infrastructure according to the changing needs of our environment.
- Pay-per-use: pay only for the resources being used based on their usage time irrespective of the scale of infrastructure.
- Automation: one of the major benefits of OpenStack lies in the ease with which tasks can be automated. This is partly because it has its own application programming interface, which any developer can use to create solutions and share them with the community.
- Open-source project: having such a large-scale product which allows users the freedom to consult and modify the code, is one of the main incentives for choosing this option.
- Its community: as already mentioned, the open-source nature of OpenStack is a double-edged sword. Lack of technical support poses a major challenge considering the size of OpenStack, but it has an extensive active community for answers and support, and even allows users to contribute their own knowledge.
In fact, in the right hands, it can provide a great many benefits. First however, we must pass the first hurdle, namely the initial configuration. Going into a little more detail, OpenStack is a complex service comprised of a large set of open-source software tools that can be installed individually or together. It currently has a wide range of these modules, including Horizon (graphical interface), Keystone (module for managing user authentication and policies), Nova (manages and runs on a variety of hypervisors), Cinder (provides block-level storage devices), Neutron (manages all networks) and Glance (image management module).
These projects cater to a wide variety of use cases and configurations, but always working together to ensure OpenStack works properly. While manual installation is the best choice to learn to create configurations or to find out how OpenStack’s various parts communicate with one another, lack of automation in a production environment is simply not acceptable. One of the main characteristics of the cloud is that it has to be constantly available, so you need a way to restore it in the event of an error. It is for this reason that, over time, the community has developed various methods to deploy OpenStack automatically:
- DevStack: this is undoubtedly the best option for a first approach because it enables a complete OpenStack environment to be set up quickly and easily from a simple script.
- OpenStack-Ansible: it’s impossible to talk about automation without discussing automatic configuration tools. While there are deployment methods using tools like Chef or Puppet, Ansible stands out from the rest for how easily it can configure systems, deploy software and orchestrate tasks. This makes it extremely simple to deploy and configure an OpenStack environment from playbooks and roles provided by Ansible.
- OpenStack charms: DevOps toolset that allows OpenStack to be deployed at virtually any scale. It is based on the open-source tool JuJu, used to deploy and orchestrate applications in different environments from so-called charms (files in yaml format that can be used for simple, direct configuration).
- Kolla and Koll-Ansible: implements OpenStack using Kolla containers, run through Ansible. Kolla is used to build docker images, while Kolla-Ansible is used to provision those images.
- OpenStack-Helm: deployment is done in containers using Helm, focused on Kubernetes packet management.
Entering the cloud world with OpenStack is a path full of uphill struggles and dilemmas. Installation challenges, lack of technical support, dependence on the community, as well as upgrade processes that can compromise our infrastructure’s availability, are the order of the day. However, OpenStack has enough advantages to balance things out and provide a high-quality cloud solution to interested organizations, as well as meet the needs of curious individuals who merely seek to play around with the infinite possibilities afforded by a product of this caliber.
OpenStack keeps growing year after year thanks to its passionate, dedicated community and numerous investments made by companies that believe in the project’s great potential. In view of these expectations, it’s no wonder that as the years go by, we will see the possibilities of this solution increase, as well as partnerships with other cloud providers attracted by its virtues.
[*] At Teldat we thought it would be interesting to have external bloggers, and thus broaden the spectrum of information that is transmitted from Teldat Blog. This week, Silviu Sofrone ,a student at the University of Alcalá de Henares, writes about The advantages of OpenStack.
Source & other points:
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Alok Shrivastwa. Hybrid Cloud for Architects. Packt Publishing; 2018.
Chiradeep BasuMallick. Top 10 Private Cloud Hosting Solution Providers in 2021. Toolbox.com; 2021. Disponible en: https://www.toolbox.com/tech/cloud/articles/top-private-cloud-solutions/
Manuel Serrano. ¿Qué es Openstack y por qué deberías saber de su existencia? Virtualizadesdezero.com; 2021. Disponible en: https://virtualizadesdezero.com/que-es-openstack/
Thomas. The Benefits and Challenges of Building an OpenStack Based Cloud. Eurovps.com; 2021. Disponible en: https://www.eurovps.com/blog/openstack-cloud-benefits-challenges/
Siddheshwar More. 6 OpenStack Deployment tools that are awesome for your Project. Opcito.com; 2016. Disponible en: https://www.opcito.com/blogs/6-openstack-deployment-tools-that-are-awesome-for-your-project-and-why