Essential Guide

Working with OpenStack storage: Tips on Cinder, Swift and the cloud

Everything you need to know about block, object and cloud offerings from the open source OpenStack storage platform.

Introduction

OpenStack, a series of open source storage, cloud and computing projects, had a hard time getting a solid footing in the world of enterprise infrastructures largely because of its do-it-yourself nature. Many IT professionals were and still are wary about implementing OpenStack because it takes a special skill set to work with the technology, and should anything go wrong, there's no vendor support available. However, its DIY aspect is what lured IT administrators to try OpenStack. Open source platforms are customizable; if anything doesn't work well in a specific environment, an administrator can change the code to fix the problem. In addition, because OpenStack storage isn't tethered to a vendor, IT departments can save money by using commodity hardware.

As OpenStack continues to develop, more enterprises are using it as a platform to build their private clouds, including well-known companies such as Bloomberg and BestBuy.com. Vendors are increasingly getting behind OpenStack projects as well. Inktank, for example, sells a commercially supported version of Ceph, a unified systems option for OpenStack storage. Red Hat, along with Dell and Hewlett-Packard (HP) to name a few, also sell their own distributions of OpenStack storage.

Even so, working with OpenStack storage and OpenStack-based clouds can be overwhelming for any IT professional. This guide will help with the decision to transition to an open source platform. You'll learn the basics of OpenStack storage, tips for working with OpenStack block and object storage (code-named Cinder and Swift, respectively) and how the technology fits into an open source cloud implementation.

1Overview-

The different sides of OpenStack storage

Storage is a significant part of the larger OpenStack platform, and between the different storage types and vendor-supported offerings, it can be a lot to take in. The following links define the important projects that are part of the OpenStack storage picture.

2Block vs. object-

Classifying OpenStack storage: Cinder and Swift

Currently, OpenStack storage comprises block and object storage options while an OpenStack file system project is in the works. There are, however, still specifications and compatibility concerns to be aware of. OpenStack Block Storage, also known as Cinder, can only be used in environments employing OpenStack compute. OpenStack object storage, or Swift, not only has its own application programming interface (API) but supports the Amazon Simple Storage Service API. The following links dig a little deeper into how Cinder and Swift work and explain how they're best implemented.

Tutorial

Understanding the storage side of the OpenStack platform

Find out how OpenStack Storage's Swift and Cinder fit into the larger open source OpenStack cloud computing platform. Continue Reading

Tutorial

OpenStack Block Storage vs. traditional block: What's different?

OpenStack Block Storage differs from integrated stacks of traditional block storage, according to IDC analyst Ashish Nadkarni; it's more akin to storage virtualization. Continue Reading

Feature

Walking through an OpenStack object storage implementation

MercadoLibre's "Swift" OpenStack object storage makes use of clusters of commodity servers to store typically static data. Continue Reading

Tip

OpenStack storage tips: Working with Swift object storage

Senior cloud architect Beth Cohen offers tips on how to use OpenStack Swift object storage in the most efficient and economical ways. Continue Reading

Answer

SwiftStack co-founder on data placement with OpenStack Swift object storage

OpenStack Swift uses regions, zones, servers and drives for data placement; it places three copies of each object in unique-as-possible locations. Continue Reading

3Cloud application-

Working with an OpenStack-based cloud

It's becoming more common to see OpenStack storage in private cloud implementations, and OpenStack APIs are now competing with market leaders for use in public cloud environments. But, as with any open source technology, many IT shops lack the skills needed to effectively deploy and work with it. To solve that problem, some vendors have begun leveraging OpenStack technology to create Private Cloud as a Service offerings.

Tip

What's driving OpenStack storage use for the cloud?

Not all the buzz around OpenStack is hype. OpenStack APIs, including the Quantum virtual network interface, could make it the biggest competitor to AWS somewhere down the road. Continue Reading

Feature

OpenStack demand leads to Private Cloud as a Service

Storage as a Service-based private clouds give enterprises the benefits of cloud -- faster development times and self-service portals -- without the management angst. Continue Reading

Tip

Build your own private cloud with OpenStack

While building a private cloud with open source software may not be for all companies, OpenStack has features that make it worthwhile to develop in-house. Continue Reading

Feature

OpenStack storage cloud in action

MercadoLibre blazes an open source cloud storage trail using OpenStack components for object storage, block storage and computing to set up a private cloud infrastructure. Continue Reading

Tip

Comparing open source cloud environments: OpenStack vs. CloudStack

When it comes to OpenStack and CloudStack, IT managers need to understand the differences between the open source cloud computing management architectures. Continue Reading

4Vendor initiatives-

Latest updates from vendors leveraging OpenStack

Part of OpenStack's growing popularity is due to increased vendor support. Among the top players is Red Hat, which sells its own distribution of OpenStack that includes management software and a partner program; it also launched an educational initiative with Intel aimed to accelerate OpenStack adoption. In addition, HP, IBM and Inktank offer OpenStack-based products of their own. Find the latest developments below.

News

Red Hat, Intel help OpenStack with new educational program

Red Hat and Intel have collaborated on "On-Ramp to Enterprise OpenStack," an initiative to help accelerate the uptake of OpenStack in enterprises. Continue Reading

News

Red Hat updates its OpenStack distribution with federation across cloud providers

Red Hat launched CloudForms 3.0 and welcomes cloud providers to its OpenStack Cloud Infrastructure Partner Program. Continue Reading

News

OpenStack's future with IBM SoftLayer

Find out IBM's plans to integrate OpenStack into SoftLayer, along with the rest of the roadmap plans for the Infrastructure as a Service it bought last June. Continue Reading

News

HP introduces new OpenStack-based software with aims to simplify management

HP has rolled out a new CloudSystem for OpenStack-based private clouds, but IT pros claim it's still uncommon to find such environments among enterprises. Continue Reading

News

Inktank's Ceph Enterprise certified for Red Hat's OpenStack in recent upgrade

Inktank Ceph Enterprise 1.1 software-based storage upgrade features certification for Red Hat's OpenStack distribution and an improved graphical manager. Continue Reading