OpenStack Basics | OpenInfra Live Recap

The latest episode of OpenInfra Live, the weekly show hosted by the OpenInfra Foundation, is now available on-demand.


OpenInfra Live is a weekly hour-long interactive show streaming to the OpenInfra YouTube channel every Thursday at 14:00 UTC (9:00 AM CT). Episodes feature more OpenInfra release updates, user stories, community meetings, and more open infrastructure stories.

For the uninitiated, OpenStack’s role in programmable infrastructure can be a little hard to understand unless you know its capabilities and how it works. Furthermore, to some people, OpenStack looks very similar to virtualization or simply like existing public cloud offerings. To fully understand this cloud platform, we will start at the origins of cloud technology and end at how today’s OpenStack works.

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Ben Silverman, an OpenInfra community member with over eight years of OpenStack experience, revived his OpenStack basics overview—a 2017 Summit session with more than 70,000 views.  

Silverman grew his OpenStack knowledge after running into challenges around finding documentation around how to install OpenStack. After visiting an OpenStack Summit and meeting with the community and ecosystem of vendors, he got a clearer understanding. To contribute back to the community, he began doing beginner sessions to cover what cloud is, what OpenStack is, how it works and how to get involved in the community. 

What is cloud and what are the different types of cloud

While the definitions for the different models to orchestrate clouds have been around, including places like the OpenStack Marketplace to find a provider to support an organization’s business goals, Silverman provided a deconstructed explanation with a metaphor we can all relate to: pizza. 

He says that on-premises is like a homemade pizza, made from scratch where you do everything yourself, including the purchase of hardware and operating system setup.

With the fundamentals of cloud models covered, Silverman continued to explain how OpenStack, the third most active open source project in addition to Linux and Chromium, fits into the picture. 

What is OpenStack? 

Silverman acknowledged that most people have heard the common definition of OpenStack as open source software for building clouds.

“[OpenStack is] programmable infrastructure that allows users to have one platform for virtual machines (VMs), containers, and bare metal,” he said.

He emphasized the importance of having one platform for VMs, containers, and bare metal because “you’re not going to get that anywhere else.” 

“To put it simply, [OpenStack is] software written by tens of thousands of individuals from hundreds of companies,” he continued. “It is not a single product; it’s a set of projects that make up foundational services like compute, networking, and storage but also cover areas like telemetry, containers, security, and billing.” 

Who uses OpenStack? 

Silverman joked that people have been talking about OpenStack being dead since 2010 when the project launched. He emphasized that all of the above companies—one of which everyone has at least seen / heard of before—are running OpenStack in production. 

“If OpenStack died as many times as they have said it’s died, it holds the record for dying and coming back to life,” he said. “It keeps growing, expanding and reaching out to new people. These logos show that [OpenStack is not going anywhere.” 

Silverman continued to discuss how OpenStack works and how you can get involved in the global community

Next Episode on #OpenInfraLive

When we talk about Large Scale, it usually refers to scaling out to hundreds of thousands of commodity nodes. But there is another dimension to Large Scale OpenStack: using OpenStack to build supercomputers to use in research and HPC. In this episode, operators of OpenStack supercomputers and HPC centers will discuss the unique challenges this use case brings.

Tune in on Thursday, August 26 at 1400 UTC (9:00 AM CT) to watch this #OpenInfraLive episode: Large Scale OpenStack: Discussing Software-Defined Supercomputers.

You can watch this episode live on YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook. The recording of OpenInfra Live will be posted on OpenStack WeChat after each live stream!

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Catch up on the previous OpenInfra Live episodes on the OpenInfra Foundation YouTube channel, and subscribe for the Foundation email communication to hear more OpenInfra updates!

Allison Price