Building an OpenStack Cluster For Your Home Lab | Part 1: Introduction

Building an OpenStack Cluster For Your Home Lab | Part 1: Introduction
OpenStack Logo from the OpenInfra Foundation


Having worked with OpenStack since the Havana version released in October 2013, it has now been over a decade since becoming involved with OpenStack at a professional capacity. This ranges from roles of a support and operations engineer, deployment engineer, to pre-sales focused roles similar to what a solutions architect, and implementation architect perform on a day to day basis. Depending on the time of the day, I may have been both the architect and the implementer of the platform.

I remember picking up my first OpenStack book available at the time since then, OpenStack documentation was not as curated or widely available as of present day, but I vividly recall trying to make sense of it all and I was nothing short of an dizzying blur of knowledge coming from all directions. At the time, I have already been in the Linux Systems Engineering space for 10 years and had significant exposure to both Open Source and Commercial private cloud infrastructure, hell, I spent 3 years as a network security administrator seeking to get my level of enterprise networking to be at the same level as my Linux skills and even then, trying to make sense of the entire OpenStack ecosystem felt like drinking water from a firehouse, but again we're Systems Engineers we should be used to that right ?

That being said, since my introduction to OpenStack in 2014 and after exposure to vast number of scenarios when planning, deploying, and maintaining OpenStack over the years, OpenStack as a whole still remains one of the coolest collection of software that I have worked with but also remains just like Kubernetes and OpenShift a very complex software ecosystem which claims reliability, resilience and scalability at the cost of near-infinite ways to configure it. This has made it challenging for those coming from a traditional Linux/Unix Administration and Virtualization background as it still does have a very steep learning curve, however I assure you that once you have mastered OpenStack, there is very little in the world of virtualization and/or enterprise compute that you will not be able to conquer from a technical perspective

So what a cool way to kick off this blog by attempting to bring my collective experience on the subject in a multi-series blog posts going in-depth on the process from conceptual architecture, planning, deploying, to testing and utilization of an OpenStack environment for a home lab environment ?

Here is what I am thinking at a very high level. This list will be updated so that it remains consistent with the content which I plan to publish:

  1. Multi Series Introduction (This post)
  2. OpenStack Introduction
    1. OpenStack History
    2. OpenStack Challenges
    3. OpenStack Components
    4. OpenStack Distributions
    5. OpenStack Deployment Tools
  3. Conceptualizing your OpenStack Home Lab Environment
    1. What are your goals for deploying OpenStack ?
    2. Which OpenStack features do you desire ?
    3. Networking, Compute, and Storage requirements
  4. Planning your OpenStack Home Lab Environment
  5. Deploying your OpenStack Environment
  6. Validating and Troubleshooting Your OpenStack Environment