To get things started on OpenStack, I am embedding a video by Rob Hirschfeld from Dell who does a nice job explaining OpenStack from a non-technical viewpoint:
YouTube Video: OpenStack from a non-technical viewpoint
As for the general overview, OpenStack was started by Rackspace, NASA, and about 20 other companies including Dell to create an open source alternative to Amazon and other proprietary public cloud vendors. There was no credible open source alternative available at the time thus the incredible growth seen in companies flocking
to the OpenStack project. As of today, there are 144 companies
who have partnered with the community and the latest code release, code-named Diablo, was shipped on September 22, 2011.
The project consists of a series of independent projects that customers can select from to create a custom cloud based on their needs. The projects are:
- Compute ("Nova") – deploy and provision virtual compute instances
- Object Storage ("Swift") – large-scale, redundant storage of static objects
- Image Service ("Glance") - provides discovery, registration, and delivery services for virtual disk images
Two more projects will become core for OpenStack in the next release:
- Identity ("Keystone") – provides unified authentication across all OpenStack projects
- Dashboard ("Horizon") – enables admins and users to access and provision cloud-based resources thru self-service portal
There are a host of other projects that are in development within the OpenStack community that may or may not become core. The complete list is at http://openstack.org/projects/.
As I mentioned earlier, Dell is a founding member of OpenStack and is playing a large role in the promotion of the solution to customers as well as driving the global message about the project. The Dell OpenStack-Powered Cloud Solution
already has 13+ successful deployments and is busy driving new business opportunities.