Anyone paying attention to all the cloud technologies discussions over the last 12 to 18 month has heard of OpenStack. Companies that are looking to reap the rewards of cloud computing often will hear things such as open source, avoiding vendor lock-in, IaaS, time-to-market, flexibility, capex vs. opex and control. So where does OpenStack fit into the conversation?

OpenStack is a cloud operating system that controls large pools of compute, storage and networking resources throughout a data center, all managed through a dashboard that gives administrators control while empowering their users to provision resources through a web interface. In general, it is an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) operating system for building and managing cloud computing platforms for public, private and hybrid clouds.

The main task of OpenStack is to provision virtual machines (VMs) and related services.