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OpenStack® Glance Stores Images like a Phonebook Stores People


Guest Post: Rick Evans, Sr Evangelism Technologist, HP Helion


In OpenStack discussions, I sometimes hear the OpenStack project “Glance” referred to as “image storage” … or words to that effect. Technically this is incorrect. Glance stores the metadata (description data) for all the images it has under management. The image data itself is stored in other sub-systems.


I think of Glance as a catalog of images… analogous to the catalog of an online store. The Glance API provides a list of all the images that are available. And the Glance API lets me instantiate a new Virtual Machine from one of those images in that list. Additionally, the Glance API enables me to take a snapshot of a Virtual Machine. The snapshot image themselves get saved as an object in Swift, or a file on a Cinder volume, or possibly in other file storage systems. Furthermore, a description of that image will get listed (remembered) in the database (catalog) of images.


While it is true that Glance has a database, that database is not used to store the image itself. But that database only stores the meta-data (the descriptive data) for the images... just like your entry in the phonebook.


Get more information on OpenStack Glance:



Senior Manager, Cloud Online Marketing
About the Author


I manage the HPE Helion social media and website teams promoting the enterprise cloud solutions at HPE for hybrid, public, and private clouds. I was previously at Dell promoting their Cloud solutions and was the open source community manager for OpenStack and at Rackspace and Citrix Systems. While at Citrix Systems, I founded the Citrix Developer Network, developed global alliance and licensing programs, and even once added audio to the DOS ICA client with assembler. Follow me at @SpectorID

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