OpenStack: How Does It Work and Why It’s a Good Alternative to Most Cloud Hosting Solutions

img blog How Does It Work and Why It’s a Good Alternative to Most Cloud Hosting Solutions

Companies have several choices when it comes to hosting their applications and services in the cloud . Traditionally, they can choose from the big players like Amazon and Microsoft, but they may not be the best fit for every organization.

For certain companies that require more control and customization over their cloud infrastructure, OpenStack may be a better choice. So, what exactly is OpenStack and how does it work?

What is OpenStack?

OpenStack is an open-source software platform designed to orchestrate and manage large pools of computing, storage, and networking resources. Imagine it as a collection of specialized tools, each serving a crucial role in constructing and maintaining a cloud infrastructure.

In contrast to other cloud platforms, OpenStack is not a prepackaged cloud service that you simply subscribe to; rather, it’s akin to having access to a workshop full of tools where you can craft your own cloud environment according to your specific needs. For instance, you can use OpenStack to create private or public clouds, as well as to manage and provision virtual machines, storage volumes, and networks. You can also configure access controls, set up monitoring systems, and much more.

How does OpenStack work?

OpenStack operates through a series of interconnected components, each serving a specific function within the cloud environment. Here’s a breakdown of some key components of OpenStack:

  • Nova (compute service): Think of Nova as the engine that powers virtual machines (VMs) and containers. It manages the life cycle of these VMs and containers, from creation to scheduling to termination, giving you the flexibility to spin up computing resources as required.
  • Swift (object storage service): Swift provides a scalable and durable storage solution for unstructured data such as images, videos, and documents. It works by organizing data into containers and distributing them across multiple servers, allowing for high availability and reliable access to files.
  • Cinder (block storage service): Cinder acts as your digital storage room, offering persistent block storage for VMs. Need extra storage space? Cinder allows you to attach and detach storage volumes seamlessly, expanding or shrinking your storage capacity on demand.
  • Neutron (networking service): Neutron handles the configuration and management of virtual networks, routers, and security groups, ensuring that your cloud infrastructure has robust and secure connectivity.
  • Keystone (identity service): Keystone serves as the gatekeeper of your cloud, managing user authentication and authorization. It establishes who has access to which resources according to defined roles and permissions to prevent data breaches due to unauthorized access.
  • Glance iImage service): Glance stores and catalogs virtual machine images, making it easy to deploy and replicate instances across your cloud infrastructure. This makes it particularly useful for creating redundant environments for high availability or disaster recovery purposes .
  • Horizon (dashboard): Horizon is the control center of your OpenStack environment. It provides a user-friendly web interface where you can monitor, manage, and configure all the components of your cloud infrastructure, simplifying complex operations.

Who is using OpenStack?

While having an open-source platform for cloud infrastructure management may seem unconventional, many companies have actually adopted OpenStack and reaped its benefits. A few leading companies that use OpenStack for their cloud hosting needs, include:

  • NASA: Utilizes OpenStack for scientific computing and data analysis, harnessing its capabilities to manage complex workloads effectively
  • Walmart: Employs OpenStack to power its private cloud infrastructure, supporting a wide range of retail and eCommerce operations
  • AT&T: Relies on OpenStack for network function virtualization and software-defined networking initiatives to enhance its telecommunications services
  • Verizon: Leverages OpenStack to provide a secure and scalable platform for its cloud services, including virtual private clouds and bare metal servers

Why is OpenStack a good alternative to most cloud hosting solutions?

There are several reasons why OpenStack is a compelling choice for companies looking to build and manage their own cloud infrastructure instead of relying on prepackaged cloud services. Here are some advantages of using OpenStack:

Flexibility and customization

With OpenStack, businesses can tailor their cloud infrastructure to meet specific requirements, whether it’s optimizing performance, scaling resources dynamically, or integrating with existing systems seamlessly. Such flexibility is particularly useful for companies with complex or unique IT needs that a one-size-fits-all cloud solution cannot meet.

Cost-effective scalability

OpenStack is a cost-effective solution for scaling resources. As your business grows, you can add more computing, storage, and networking resources on demand without committing to long-term contracts. The payment model is typically pay per use, meaning you only pay for the resources consumed rather than a fixed monthly fee. This essentially allows you to avoid overprovisioning computing resources and save on unnecessary expenses.

Open-source community support

One of OpenStack’s strengths lies in its vibrant and extensive user community, which comprises developers, contributors, and organizations dedicated to advancing the platform’s capabilities. This community-driven approach ensures continuous innovation, improvements, and support for the platform. It also provides businesses with a wealth of resources, knowledge, and expertise to help them navigate any challenges they may face while using OpenStack.

Better control over data security and privacy

For businesses that handle sensitive data, having full control over their cloud infrastructure can be crucial. OpenStack gives companies complete authority over data security and privacy measures in their cloud environment, reducing the risk of data breaches and maintaining compliance with regulations. For example, they can implement specific access controls, encryption protocols, and data backup strategies that may not be available in other cloud hosting solutions. All this means greater peace of mind for businesses when it comes to protecting their data.

Ready to explore how OpenStack can empower your cloud infrastructure with unparalleled flexibility, scalability, and security? Contact Liberty Center One today to discover customized cloud solutions that drive your business forward. Our team of experts is here to guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have about transitioning to our OpenStack environment.