There are so many misnomas about what you can and can’t do with OpenStack.  I talk to people every day who say “OpenStack is ok, but you can’t……” and more often than not, you actually can.  Here are 5 ‘Swiss army knife’ features that you may not know are possible with OpenStack.

  1. Multi Tenancy / Project Spaces

Slice your cloud resources any way you wish. Set up ‘project silos’ for individuals or groups of users. With an overarching cloud administrator controlling access across project spaces, your single OpenStack cloud can be used by any number of users and teams without impacting each other. Tenancy separation is a default, with the option of creating virtual routers to connect tenancies if required.

  1. Availability Zones (AZ)

Availability zones are used to group cloud nodes, and can contain multiple host aggregates. Host aggregates are typically used to group compute nodes of similar physical architectural type and storage nodes of various IO performance. Being able to group nodes of differing architectural types, I.e., Intel and Power CPUs and HDD and SSD disks, enables your OpenStack cloud to dynamically and automatically launch instances based on metadata defining various architectural types. A typical use case where this level of separation is required is when you have Intel compute nodes hosting ‘standard’ workloads and HPC compute nodes ring-fenced for bid data research and analysis roles. AZs can also be useful when used correctly in High Availability and Disaster Recovery solutions.

  1. Software-defined networking (SDN)

The OpenStack Neutron service provides a full-featured SDN feature set. With full control of virtual networks in the multi-tenant cloud, every network can be defined as individual secure networks. Support for VXLAN and VLAN enhances the security scenarios even further. Also available are options to create Firewalls, Load-balances, Routers and IPSec VPN tunnels. All at a granular per tenant basis.

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  1. Public cloud services

E-commerce is an ever growing revenue stream for public cloud providers. OpenStack was created as a Private Cloud solution. However, when combined with autonomous product, customer management, payment gateway and billing systems such as Atomia and Host-bill, it is entirely possible to turn your OpenStack private cloud into an OpenStack public cloud, offering public hosted services and opening up a new revenue stream for Managed Service Providers.

  1. Distributed Cloud

It is possible to host a central controller in a data centre or an HQ site and install additional OpenStack nodes in remote branch offices to support local workloads. The remote site users will still access their tenancies through the central controller, but they will have the option of launching instances at their local branch cloud node. This scenario is made simpler by OpenStack cloud providers who offer hyper-converged OpenStack nodes; such as ScaleCloud appliances.

If you think you know OpenStack, think again. It is an extremely versatile cloud, and if you exploit every service it has to offer, you can get ahead of the pack.