Understanding OpenStack: introductions, overviews, and architecture

A beginner's guide to understanding OpenStack

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The more I learn about OpenStack, the more I see why there is so much buzz about the technology as well as about the community of developers and users. In a poll hosted on Opensource.com, we discovered that many of our readers are curious and eager to learn more about OpenStack. For those new to this technology, OpenStack can be described as a set of software tools for building and managing cloud computing platforms for public and private clouds.

Opensource.com has started gathering resources to help our readers learn what OpenStack is and what it can do:

  1. What is OpenStack?

    For an overview, see our What is OpenStack? page or visit openstack.org.

  2. OpenStack contributions and community

    See Rich Bowen's article: How to contribute to OpenStack.

  3. OpenStack technology and more

    For a deeper dive into the technology (like, the components that make OpenStack scalable) and more on the OpenStack Foundation, begin your discovery with these videos that we recommend.

Recommended videos

Introduction to OpenStack with Sandy Walsh from Rackspace

This is a 30 minute video that is one the best videos I've come across that can help introduce OpenStack to someone completely new to the project. The talk is not too technical and gives a broad overview of the project and the architecture. Walsh talks about what OpenStack is, what it is not, how the project got started, some of the core projects, and he outlines the architecture and scalability of OpenStack.

Overview of OpenStack and the OpenStack Foundation with Mark Collier

This is a 35 minute video with Mark Collier, COO of the OpenStack Foundation, where he gives an overview of OpenStack and goes into details about the community and the OpenStack Foundation.

OpenStack 101 with Joshua McKenty from Piston Cloud Computing

This is a 40 minute video that covers the history of OpenStack, an overview of the project (including debunks), provides a technical overview of each of the component, and covers the project governance. McKenty was part of the original OpenStack release and was the architect and team lead at NASA that build the Nova volume, network, and compute components prior to OpenStack.

OpenStack Basics with Brian Gracely from Cisco

This is a 10 minute video that is very technical. It compares OpenStack to the existing cloud infrastructure and maps out what many technologist are familiar with to the OpenStack architecture.

OpenStack Architecture with Russell Bryant from Red Hat

This is a 45 minute video that is a technical deep dive into the OpenStack architecture. Bryant details each of the core projects:

  • Identity (Keystone)
  • Dashboard (Horizon)
  • Orchestration (Heat)
  • Metering (Celiometer)
  • Object stroage (Swift)
  • Image service (Glance)
  • Networking (Quantum now Neutron)
  • Compute (Nova)



What other resources have you found to start learning about OpenStack?


Bob McConnell

Why are all of your videos about open source only available in a proprietary format? I can't watch them because Adobe does not make a viewer that will run on Slackware Linux.

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I had no problem playing all of the videos using YouTube's HTML5 player. If that doesn't work for you, try installing GNU Gnash or Lightspark. If all else fails, you can use youtube-dl.

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Jason, thank you for sharing all this information about OpenStack in one summary listing. This is very helpful to a novice, like me, who wants to learn more and contribute to the cause.

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No problem. I spent quite a bit of time sifting through many other video's--and believe me, there are a lot of OpenStack vidoe's out there. Glad you enjoyed!

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Thanks a lot, Mr. Hibbets. I as a novice to the OpenStack world learned a lot and actually, it was very helpful to me. I can tell that I'm going to clone the DevStack and start play with it. I got very interested to this great project. So thanks a lot, you directed me to a good way. By the way that was my day-off but it's OK ;)

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