OpenStack is a powerful open-source cloud computing platform that has transformed how businesses manage their cloud infrastructure. Designed to control large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources, OpenStack is a popular choice for building and managing both public and private clouds. In this blog post, we’ll explore the history, founders, use cases, advantages, disadvantages, and top applications of OpenStack.

History of OpenStack

Founders and Origins

OpenStack was launched in 2010 as a joint project between Rackspace Hosting and NASA. The project’s aim was to create a scalable and flexible cloud operating system. The initial components of OpenStack were:

  • Nova: NASA’s compute project.
  • Swift: Rackspace’s object storage project.


Over the years, OpenStack has grown significantly, with contributions from a vibrant global community of developers and companies. The OpenStack Foundation, established in 2012, governs the project, ensuring its continuous growth and development. With regular updates and new features, OpenStack has matured into a comprehensive cloud management solution.

Core Components of OpenStack

OpenStack is composed of several interrelated projects that manage various aspects of a cloud environment:

  • Nova: Provides compute services by managing virtual machines and other instances.
  • Swift: Offers scalable object storage.
  • Cinder: Manages block storage, akin to virtual hard drives.
  • Neutron: Handles networking and IP address management.
  • Horizon: Delivers a web-based dashboard for managing OpenStack resources.
  • Keystone: Provides identity services for authentication and high-level authorization.
  • Glance: Manages disk images.
  • Heat: Orchestrates the deployment of composite cloud applications.
  • Trove: Manages databases as a service.
  • Sahara: Provides big data services.

Usages of OpenStack

Enterprise IT

Many enterprises use OpenStack to build private clouds, allowing them to manage resources efficiently while maintaining control over their data and applications. OpenStack’s flexibility and scalability make it ideal for large-scale IT environments.

Service Providers

Telecom companies and internet service providers (ISPs) leverage OpenStack to create public cloud offerings. This enables them to offer cloud services to customers while optimizing their own infrastructure.

Research and Academia

Educational institutions and research organizations use OpenStack for high-performance computing (HPC) and to support complex research projects. OpenStack’s ability to manage extensive computational resources makes it suitable for such environments.

SaaS Providers

Software as a Service (SaaS) companies utilize OpenStack to host their applications, ensuring high availability and scalability. This allows them to focus on application development rather than infrastructure management.

Pros and Cons of OpenStack


  1. Open Source: OpenStack is free to use and modify, fostering innovation and customization.
  2. Scalability: Capable of scaling from small deployments to massive data centers.
  3. Flexibility: Supports a wide range of hardware and software configurations.
  4. Community Support: Backed by a strong, active community that continuously improves the platform.
  5. Interoperability: Can integrate with various technologies and platforms.


  1. Complexity: Can be challenging to set up and manage, requiring skilled personnel.
  2. Resource Intensive: Demands significant hardware and computing resources for optimal performance.
  3. Documentation and Support: While comprehensive, the documentation can sometimes be overwhelming, and professional support may be needed.
  4. Upgrade Challenges: Upgrading an OpenStack deployment can be complex and time-consuming.

Top Usages of OpenStack

  1. AT&T: Utilizes OpenStack to manage its network and cloud services, enhancing scalability and efficiency.
  2. Walmart: Employs OpenStack for its private cloud, ensuring reliable and scalable infrastructure to support its e-commerce operations.
  3. CERN: Leverages OpenStack to manage the extensive computational resources needed for particle physics research.
  4. China Mobile: Uses OpenStack to power its public cloud services, catering to millions of customers.
  5. PayPal: Implements OpenStack to maintain high availability and performance for its payment services.


OpenStack has emerged as a pivotal player in the cloud computing landscape, offering a robust and scalable solution for managing cloud infrastructure. Its open-source nature, combined with a rich set of features and strong community support, makes it an attractive option for organizations across various industries. However, its complexity and resource requirements necessitate careful planning and skilled management. As cloud technologies continue to evolve, OpenStack is poised to remain a key enabler of flexible and powerful cloud environments. To Ubuntu users, please read


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