What is OpenStack? 

Briefly, OpenStack is an open-source cloud platform predominantly used by private cloud vendors and commercial companies offering public cloud services that deploy OpenStack as part of their infrastructure.

Its fundamental aim is to assist enterprise organizations with the management of their cloud platform infrastructure. It also provides the platform from which enterprise solution architects can design and deploy IT infrastructure “in the cloud.”

The openstack.org website notes that OpenStack “controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a data center; all managed and provisioned through APIs with common authentication mechanisms.” OpenStack also provides system administrators with a web-based dashboard, command-line tools, and a RESTful API to manage these resources. And it allows users to provision resources through a web interface.


OpenStack: A brief history

Before 2017, OpenStack originated as a joint project between Rackspace Hosting and NASA. During and after 2017, the responsibility for this project moved to the OpenStack Foundation, an NPO incorporated in 2012 to promote the OpenStack product and provide a home for the large online community linked to this project and product.

It is a popular cloud platform, with over 740 organizations having associated themselves with the open-source platform. It is widely used in data centers offering private cloud services. Additionally, the OpenStack installation supports the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model, such as those provided by such as our OpenStack IaaS solutions at Accrets.com.


Why OpenStack training? 

Apart from implementing OpenStack as the foundation of their private cloud offerings, our technical experts also offer OpenStack training for individuals intending to seek employment in the cloud architecture industry and deploy an OpenStack instance in an on-premises private cloud.

Why is this information important and relevant to this topic? 

Succinctly stated, while it is possible to self-teach the art and science of installing and managing an OpenStack platform deployment, it is far better to attend one or more formal training courses. Certified trainers, who are also experienced users, design their courses to provide an in-depth how-to guide, including tips and tricks to ensure a successful deployment, ensuring that the compute, storage, and networking resources are optimized throughout the OpenStack’s lifecycle as part of a cloud platform architecture.


Benefits of Using OpenStack

Now that we understand what and why OpenStack as well as why OpenStack training is an integral part of the successful installation and management of a private (or public cloud instance based on the OpenStack open-source cloud platform, let’s consider some of the benefits of using this platform.

1. Open-source software

Why is using open-source software preferable to paying for proprietary cloud platform software? 

The argument for and against open-source software versus proprietary software is not new. And it probably will not resolve itself in the foreseeable future. There are pros and cons of both, and the question to ask when determining whether to use open-source software or proprietary software is what will work best for the use case. And in this use case, the merits of open-source software outweigh the disadvantages. 

Open-source software is supported by a community of developers who write bug fixes and new features during the day-to-day running of an OpenStack cloud platform instance. These bug fixes and new features are uploaded to the OpenStack GitHub account and released as part of a new version. Therefore, users will benefit from the community expertise as it were. 

Secondly, there are no licensing costs attached to using open-source software. Ergo, you can use it without charge and restrictions. Juxtapositionally, proprietary software carries a licensing or purchase price, and there are usually restrictions attached to its use. 

Note: While there are no costs attached to the use of open-source software, technical consultants and software developers are entitled to charge for their services. It is essential to be mindful of the differences between the software usage costs and the third-party consulting and development costs. 

Thirdly, open-source software is highly customizable where proprietary software is not. If your company needs a feature that is not currently available, you can either develop it yourself or contract an OpenStack developer to write the code for you. 

2. Robust security

Manoj Aggarwal of iamwire.com notes that one of the reasons why OpenStack is so popular in the cloud-computing sector is that it has superior security features. These features are designed to protect your data to prevent cybercriminals from breaking into your virtual cloud instance to steal your data. 

Not only is the OpenStack software highly secure, but there is a team of security experts behind the brand and product who are responsible for maintaining and improving the security protocols.

The unfortunate reality is that 2020 saw a drastic increase in the number of attempted and successful cyber-attacks. And current and forecast trends show that these metrics are set to spiral upwards. 

Statistics report that the damage caused by cybercriminals is projected to reach $6 trillion (USD) annually by 2021. Additionally, Gartner reports that global spending on cybersecurity will reach $133.7 billion (USD) by 2022. While there are a large number of statistics describing the increase in cyberattacks, the last one worth noting (that is relevant to this discussion) is that, according to the University of Maryland, hackers attack company and individual systems every 39 seconds, on average 2,244 times a day while it takes about 7 months on average to identify a security breach. 

Consequently, it is essential to partner with a cloud platform solution that prioritizes cybersecurity over time.

3. Deployment instance that is easy to access and manage

There are three primary ways that an OpenStack deployment can be accessed and managed. 

Command-line tools: Once the OpenStack Command Line Interface (CLI) has been installed and configured, you can use it to deploy, optimize, and manage the compute, storage, and networking resources needed across the data center. 

Web-based GUI dashboard: System administrators can manage the OpenStack deployment through a web-based dashboard. An OpenStack deployment consists of a wide variety of components that provide compute, hardware lifecycle management, storage, networking, workload provisioning, orchestration, and application lifecycle management. And as described above, users with the appropriate permissions can deploy new resources as needed. 

APIs for software developers: Lastly, OpenStack has a number of RESTful APIs available to software developers to access operations tooling like monitoring services, resource optimization, billing, and business logic, and testing or benchmarking. 

Final words

In summary, as emphasized by Manoj Aggarwal, OpenStack is cloud software that provides data centers with “exceptionally high-quality solutions for private, public, and hybrid clouds.” Not only is OpenStack the de facto cloud platform software for new data center installations, but you can also quickly move to OpenStack if your data center is using other cloud software because it is compatible with other software for cloud platforms and services.  

Additionally, should you wish to deploy a virtual private cloud (VPC) instance from which to manage your business operations, it is essential to connect with a company with IT engineers with the skill and experience to set up an optimized CloudStack instance. Moreover, it is also vital to undergo CloudStack training to ensure that you or your system administrators can deploy, maintain, and optimize a CloudStack instance.  

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