OpenNebula: Components


OpenStack has some main components: Interfaces & API, Groups and Users, Networking, Storage, Hosts and Clusters.

  • Interfaces & API. The two main interfaces for interaction with OpenNebula are the Command Line Interface (CLI) and the Graphical User Interface (GUI). The Graphical User Interface is also known as “Sunstone”. OpenNebula offers different APIs for Developers to extend the functionality or built on top of OpenNebula. These APIs are currently available as Amazon Web Services (AWS) APIs and OCCI Implementation.
  • Groups and Users. OpenNebula allows different groups and users. It is also possible to integrate with different services such as LDAP and Microsoft’s Active Directory. Multi-tenancy is possible by default, which eases billing and accounting. OpenNebula comes with the following standard users: administrators, regular users, public users and service users. Administrators are in charge of administrative tasks within OpenNebula, regular users can use the functionality of OpenNebula in the self-service Portal. Public users are restricted users that may only use a subset of the functionality and service users are users that can use the APIs or Interfaces in OpenNebula.
  • Networking. The Networking interface in OpenNebula is fully extensible, which allows almost any integration in existing data centers. There is also support for VLAN and Open vSwitch.
  • Storage. OpenNebula supports different storage systems such as the file system storage, distributed network storage or block storage.
  • Hosts. OpenNebula supports the following hypervisors: Xen, KVM and VMware on the host. A host has three main components: the host management, the cluster management and the host-monitoring component. The host management is implemented by the “onehost” and allows common operations on hosts such as initial setup or the machine lifecycle management. The cluster management allows placing a host in a specific cluster. This is implemented by the “onecluster” command. Host monitoring is done with the information driver (IM). Monitoring allows administrators to gather information about the health of a host.
  • Clusters. Clusters are a pool of hosts that share networking and data stores. A Cluster can be compared to a zone. Clusters are typically fulfilling different needs such as the production/testing differences.

OpenNebula allows the grouping of different Hosts into a virtual data center (VDC) within a cluster. Different Hosts can also be grouped into zones that allow better administration for similar hosts.

Header Image Copyright by European Southern Observatory

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OpenNebula: Overview


This post is part of the Open Source Cloud Computing series. For an Overview, please click on the Tag.

OpenNebula is an open source Software for Infrastructure as a Service Solutions, which started as a research project in 2005. The first public release was available in 2008. Ubuntu, Debian and OpenSuse currently support OpenNebula. The project is funded by European Institutions. OpenNebula provides Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 and Elastic Block Storage (EBS) APIs, as well as OGF OCCI (Open Cloud Computing Interface) APIs. OpenNebula also provides a self-service Portal to their users. OpenNebula has several third-party tools for Software Stack automation and it is easy to integrate a marketplace for applications in OpenNebula platforms. Administrators have their own portal, which is called “Sunstone”, and OpenNebula provides a Unix-inspired command line interface (CLI). OpenNebula Marketplace allows virtual appliances to be managed and run in OpenNebula environments.

Billing is basically easy as there is a fine-grained accounting and monitoring system available. Account Controls and quota management allows administrators to set limits on compute, storage and network utilization. To enable this, OpenNebula supports multi-tenancy built into the system. OpenNebula can be extended by popular directory services such as LDAP or Active Directory.

OpenNebula distinguishes between clusters and virtual data centers. Clusters are a pool of hosts that share data stores. Clusters also support virtual networks dedicated to load balancing, high availability and high performance computing. Virtual data centers are isolated virtual infrastructures where an administrator can manage the compute, storage and network capacity. OpenNebula is built for high availability with a persistent database as a backend.

A key challenge for OpenNebula is to allow the management of large enterprise data centers. To fulfill these needs, a complete life cycle for virtual resource management is possible and can be extended with a hooking system. The virtual infrastructure can be controlled, monitored and accounted to the correct tenants.

Header Image Copyright by Bob Familiar

Open Source Cloud Computing Platforms


In the next blog posts, I will describe some major Open Source Cloud Computing platforms. I will cover the 4 major platforms, including:

  • OpenStack
  • Eucalyptus
  • OpenNebula
  • CloudStack

This series will run alongside the self service IT series. By the end of the series, I will compare these 4 platforms with the self service attributes I will evaluate during the series. So keep on reading all of them 🙂