IBM Blue Box: Our OpenStack storage models by use case

5 min read

IBM Blue Box: Our OpenStack storage models by use case

IBM Blue Box delivers a private cloud experience with the simplicity of a public cloud, providing our clients with a pathway forward to hybrid cloud. Last month, we announced the upgrade of our OpenStack-powered Dedicated and Local solutions to the latest Mitaka release. Now, our customers can choose from even more storage options, all tailored to satisfy the high performance and high availability that hungry workloads crave.


In light of this new feature, we’ve had a number of clients new to OpenStack ask the question, “Which storage model best suits my OpenStack adoption strategy?”

Picking the right storage option for your enterprise

Selecting the storage option that fits your enterprise use case is vital to realizing an effective hybrid cloud. To introduce you to some of the ways OpenStack storage can be leveraged, allow me to showcase our four storage options:

  • Ephemeral storage, managed by OpenStack Nova (Compute), is the default option for creating OpenStack virtual instances. Ephemeral storage data is sized by a user, who creates a custom size, or “flavor.” The data is stored on a compute disk, because this type of stored data is not required to persist. Users of ephemeral data also have the option to transition their storage from an Ephemeral disk to a Cinder disk, for persistent data storage.

  • Block Storage, powered by OpenStack Cinder, provides persistent storage for virtual servers. Cinder is accessible from the Horizon Dashboard and from the OpenStack API. Users can expand block volumes, attach them to and detach them from virtual servers, and they can create snapshots from their Cinder volumes. Cinder storage offers an ideal option for running high-performance, low-latency applications, such as databases.

  • Hybrid Ceph Block Storage provides a block storage option that increases capacity fourfold, while delivering exceptional performance (IOPS). It’s architecturally the same as our standard block storage offering, allowing customers to experience the same capabilities at a lower cost.

  • Object Storage, powered by OpenStack Swift, durably stores distributed, unstructured data content at Petabyte scale. Each stored object, such as a VM image or snapshot, is associated with metadata that can be programmatically accessed through the OpenStack REST API. For data redundancy purposes, Swift mirrors data across multiple physical disks, and it maintains three copies of objects it stores by default. Its durability makes it ideal for backup/DR planning, archiving, and retention, while its accessibility makes it ideal for users requiring concurrent access.

Choice with consistency

IBM Blue Box enables the benefits and flexibility of an effective OpenStack storage environment, providing the ability to choose a storage consumption model that will address your unique requirements. Furthermore, it’s not uncommon for enterprise IBM Blue Box customers to deploy a combination of storage options in their environment. Whether you’re running IBM Blue Box Dedicated on our SoftLayer infrastructure around the world, or IBM Blue Box Local in your data center of choice, we deliver options, scale, and 24/7 OpenStack expertise to our clients. We’ve designed our storage options within our overall architecture to reflect the same level of consistency you’ll find in our cloud management and support services.

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