Open SourceThe Benefits of OpenStack for Next Generation Data Centers

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By John Griffith, Principal Software Engineer, NetApp SolidFire.


OS1Slide 1: A brief history of OpenStack for storage


In six short years, OpenStack has become a credible operating system for creating public and private clouds. Today, OpenStack is one of the fastest-growing open-source software platforms in the world, with revenues expected to exceed $2.5BN by 2017, according to 451 Research. More than 500 companies have contributed to developing OpenStack and its many components, including storage. This slideshow addresses the two types of persistent storage for OpenStack cloud—Cinder for block storage and Swift for object storage—and how IT administrators and their organizations can benefit from each.


OS2Slide 2: Know your options


The IT industry has shifted from classic monolithic and static operational models into cloud computing’s new era of dynamic, agile workflows. Now’s the time to look beyond traditional storage architectures and consider products that were built specifically for next-generation workload performance, application development, and delivery of IT as a Service. When it comes to storage for OpenStack, especially for performance-sensitive applications, one size doesn’t fit all, so you’ll need to choose the right type of storage to fit your organization’s unique needs.


OS3Slide 3: Block storage—Cinder


Cinder is the service that provides persistent block storage resources that can be consumed by OpenStack Compute (Nova), a cloud computing fabric controller that is the main part of an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) system. Cinder’s pluggable driver architecture facilitates the creation and management of block storage devices. Cinder virtualizes pools of block storage devices and provides end users with a self-service API to request and consume those resources without requiring any knowledge of where storage is actually deployed or on what type of device.


OS4Slide 4: Object storage—Swift


Swift is a scalable, redundant Object Storage system that runs on standard server hardware. It provides a distributed scale-out object store across nodes in an OpenStack cluster and its data resilience depends on data replication integrity. Currently, running Instances (Virtual Machines) on an Object store isn’t feasible. Object stores, including Swift, are eventually consistent by design and intended for low change rate, lower performing IO. Swift’s ability to provide scale-out storage on commodity hardware makes it a more attractive option for external storage, such as a SAN. It can be deployed independently of a compute cloud or as a standalone service. It is ideal for cost-effective, scale-out storage and provides a fully distributed, API-accessible storage platform that can be integrated directly into applications or used for backup, archiving, and data retention.


OS5Slide 5: Object or block storage?


The OpenStack storage system you deploy ultimately depends on the application you’re running and on your business requirements. OpenStack began in 2010 by offering only Swift object storage, but soon after, Cinder block storage was created to fulfill new requirements in virtual infrastructures. Although Swift can complement Cinder block storage by functioning as a backup location for primary data files or longer-term archive, object storage is ill-equipped to support high-performance, production-quality use cases. In fact, block storage aims to virtualize various block storage devices and abstract them into an easy, self-service offering that allows end users to allocate and deploy storage resources quickly and efficiently on their own.


OS6Slide 6: The Future of OpenStack


OpenStack has evolved significantly since its inception. Deployments in production have grown to 65 percent in 2016 compared to 59 percent in 2015 and just 32 percent in 2013, as reported in the OpenStack Foundation’s annual User Survey. The report describes OpenStack as a mature and highly flexible platform that has become an innovation engine for companies in all industries, enabling users to operate both legacy systems and cloud-native apps through a single framework. The April 2016 Survey explains that users are aligning around OpenStack, as its APIs have become the standard for enterprise IaaS—demonstrated by the platform’s ability to increase operational efficiency, accelerate organization’s ability to innovate, and compete by deploying applications faster.

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