Adventures with OpenStack – Learning what’s inside

When I heard about OpenStack for the first time I was very confused, so I want to share in my own words (Hope I don’t confuse you more), what is the deal with OpenStack.

OpenStack maybe so many things for different people, but I decided to unveil the doubt and take it for a spin in my lab. I’m still learning and as I have said before, is just baby steps, and I still have not seen the tip of the iceberg, there is still too much to learn.

Lets see if I get this right and make some sense of what I have been studying for the past couple of weeks. This post will be about what is OpenStack, the Core components, how you can play with it and how you can learn more about it and its components. Enjoy!

What is Openstack?

Open stack is a combination of different projects that provide services, these are deployed mostly as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). OpenStack is open source, and free to use and play with. Here is the Description on WikiPedia

To fully understand OpenStack I do recommend a bit of knowledge on the basics of Cloud computing (Check the links at the bottom of the page on how to learn more about it)

What are the components of OpenStack?

By learning more about OpenStack, I found out that there are 6 main components in an OpenStack deployment

– Compute – Nova
– Networking – Neutron
– Object Storage – Swift
– Block Storage – Cinder
– Identity – Keystone
– Imaging – Glance

I’m not throwing the names at the beginning of their functions just to sound smart or anything, so I preferred listing them by their functions, IMO easier to digest right?.

If you want to learn more about the projects, follow this link

Now what is this Horizon thing everyone is talking about?

Well, Horizon is another project from OpenStack, that simplifies its functions, so in other words is the Graphical interface that glues all other projects together (I hope I got it right). It’s important to note that most of it if not all (I don’t see why not), can be done using the CLI. Off course if you are familiar with the Command Line and Linux, you have one foot inside.
More about Horizon

How can you get your hands on some OpenStack?

Initially I though OpenStack was some sort of software that will require you to run it in a very expensive environment, but that was not true. You can run it on your PC, if you have 4GB of RAM to spare if running it using Ubuntu 16.04 it will run fine(DevStack Installation). Or you may run it on CentOS using RDO, then you will need 6GB or RAM + 2 VCPUs (PackStack installation).

How to install OpenStack?

Easy, very easy, if I could do it, anyone can do it… why you may ask? well I’m not a Linux user and my experience is very little, which is changing but I can tell you it was very easy.

Installing Devstack on Ubuntu 16.04

Here is exactly what you have to do:

    • Install the current Ubuntu Server LTS version, using default settings
    • Use sudo apt-get install cloud-init
    • git clone
    • cd devstack
    • Create a local.conf file with the following contents:


  • Open the file with an editor, and near the top of the file, include the line FORCE=yes
  • Run ./

Installing on CentOS RDO/PackStack

This one seems like a bit more straight-forward process, it uses an answer file. I still have not tried it yet, but will soon, due to the ammount of things that get installed using DevStack that are really not needed. The RDO and PackStack installation on CentOS seems that it gives you more control over what gets installed and what gets to run on your environment.
More about RDO

How did I came across OpenStack?

Like other things in my life, by being nosy and trying to find out stuff that I did not understand. But really used the following material:

Look up for the Linux Foundation available courses. This post is not about EDX, but I recommend you to take a look at it. they have really great stuff, and for FREE like the OpenStack class.

Last words and looking forward

I’m currently working on learning new skills and stuff that I have never felt comfortable with. OpenStack, Linux and some Programming are on the list. As always, if there is anything you think I can help with, please feel free to reach out.

About the Author:

Andres Sarmiento, CCIE # 53520 (Collaboration)
With more than 13 years of experience, Andres is specialized in the Unified Communications and Collaboration technologies. Consulted for several companies in South Florida, also Financial Institutions on behalf of Cisco Systems. Andres has been involved in high-profile implementations including Cisco technologies; such as Data Center, UC & Collaboration, Contact Center Express, Routing & Switching, Security and Hosted IPT Service provider infrastructures.

You can follow Andres using Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook

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