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OpenStack is the most popular open source cloud computing platform that enables the management of distributed compute, network and storage resources in the data centre.


While the reference virtualisation stack, consisting of qemu/kvm and libvirt enables hardware virtualisation and the management of virtual machines (VMs) on a single host, in most of the cases compute, network and storage resources are distributed across multiple hosts in the data centre. This creates a challenge with centralised management of those resources, scheduling VMs, etc. OpenStack solves this problem by aggregating distributed pools of resources, allocating them to VMs on-demand and enabling automated VM provisioning through a self-service portal.

OpenStack consists of the following primary components:

  • Keystone serves as an identity service, providing authentication and authorisation functions for the users and enabling multi-tenancy.
  • Glance is an image service, responsible for uploading, managing and retrieving cloud images for VMs running on OpenStack.
  • Nova is the primary compute engine of OpenStack, responsible for VM scheduling, creation and termination
  • Neutron provides network connectivity between VMs, enabling multi-VM deployments.
  • Cinder is a storage component that is responsible for provisioning, management and termination of persistent block devices.
  • Swift is another storage component that provides a highly available and scalable object storage service

There are also many other OpenStack components and supporting services available in the OpenStack ecosystem, enabling more advanced functions, such as load balancing, secrets management, etc.


The most straightforward way to get started with OpenStack on Ubuntu is to use MicroStack since the entire installation process requires only 2 commands and takes around 20 minutes.

Apart from MicroStack, multiple different installation methods for OpenStack on Ubuntu are available. Those include:

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