Essentials of OpenStack Administration Part 1: Cloud Fundamentals
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OpenStack and cloud computing is a way of automating and virtualizing a traditional data center that allows for a single point of control and a single view of what resources are being used.
Cloud computing is an important part of today’s data center and having skills to deploy, work with, and troubleshoot a cloud are essential for sysadmins today.
Some 51 percent of hiring managers say experience with or knowledge of OpenStack and CloudStack are driving open source hiring decisions, according to the Open Source Jobs Report from The Linux Foundation and Dice.
The Linux Foundation’s online Essentials of OpenStack Administration course teaches everything you need to know to create and manage private and public clouds with OpenStack. In this tutorial series, we’ll give you a sneak preview of the second session in the course on Cloud Fundamentals. Or you can download the entire chapter now.
The series covers the basic tenets of cloud computing and takes a high-level look at the architecture. You’ll also learn the history of OpenStack and compare cloud computing to a conventional data center.
By the end of the tutorial series, you should be able to:
• Understand the solutions OpenStack provides
• Differentiate between conventional and cloud data center deployments
• Explain the federated nature of OpenStack projects
In part 1, we’ll define cloud computing and discuss different cloud services models and the needs of users and platform providers.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud Computing is a blanket term that may mean different things in different contexts. For example, in science it refers simply to distributed computing, where you run an application simultaneously on two or more connected computers. However, in common usage it might refer to anything from the Internet itself to a certain class of services offered by a single company.
Users and platform providers typically mean different things when they discuss the cloud. Users think of a place on the Internet where they can upload things. For platform providers, clouds are infrastructure projects that allow data centers to be much more efficient than they were previously. The latter is the focus of the Essentials of OpenStack Administration class.
You may have also heard of the following terms:
￼• Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
• Platform as a Service (PaaS)
• Software as a Service (SaaS)
￼The three terms refer to three common service models offered by cloud vendors such as Amazon or Rackspace, where IaaS is the most basic but flexible one, and the others progressively mask the "dirty details" from the user, trading flexibility for ease-of-use.
Platform Providers have goals when providing IT services, such as:
￼• Delivering excellent customer service.
• Providing a flexible and cost-efficient infrastructure.
If a provider fails to deliver excellent customer service, customers will look for alternatives. Cost-efficiency is always the bottom line. No one wants to spend millions on infrastructure that is static.
Infrastructure service customers will also have some requirements of their own:
• Stability, reliability, flexibility of the service...
• ... for as little money as possible.
The phrase “wire once, deploy many” sums up the goal of an infrastructure provider. From the customer perspective, all of the various components are presented through an easy-to-use software interface. The use of this interface allows the customer to start new virtual machines, attach storage, attach network resources, and shut the instances down, all without having to open a ticket. This allows for more flexibility for the customer. The infrastructure provider can then focus on providing good customer service, lowering costs through consolidation and on meeting the ongoing resource requirements of one or more customers.
Catering to Both Providers and Customers
As you can see, both platform providers and their customers have very similar requirements. The key to cater to both is automation: it facilitates both flexibility and cost-effectiveness. We will get into a lot more detail on it later on.
Read the other parts of this series:
The Essentials of OpenStack Administration course teaches you everything you need to know to create and manage private and public clouds with OpenStack. Download a sample chapter today!