OpenStack Storage Options: A Deep Dive into Cinder, Swift, and Manila

OpenStack has emerged as a powerful and flexible open-source platform for building and managing cloud environments. One of the key aspects of any cloud infrastructure is storage, and OpenStack provides several storage options to cater to different needs.

In this blog, we will explore three primary OpenStack storage services: Cinder, Swift, and Manila.

Cinder: Block Storage Service

Cinder is OpenStack’s block storage service, designed to provide persistent block-level storage devices for virtual machines. Think of Cinder as the foundation for your virtual infrastructure, offering the ability to attach and detach block storage volumes to instances as needed.

Cinder provides a variety of storage backends, allowing users to choose the most suitable option based on their requirements. This flexibility is crucial for accommodating diverse workloads and optimizing performance. Common backends include local disks, iSCSI, Fibre Channel, and more.

The key features of Cinder include snapshot management, volume cloning, and support for various storage types, ensuring scalability and adaptability. By decoupling storage from compute resources, Cinder enables efficient management of storage resources and ensures high availability and reliability.

Swift: Object Storage Service

Swift is OpenStack’s object storage service, ideal for managing and storing large volumes of unstructured data. This makes it particularly well-suited for use cases such as backup, archiving, and content delivery. Unlike traditional file systems, Swift uses a flat namespace, where objects are stored in containers accessible via unique URLs.

Swift is designed for scalability and durability, making it an excellent choice for storing vast amounts of data. It ensures redundancy and fault tolerance by distributing data across multiple storage nodes. This distributed architecture enhances performance and resilience, even in the face of hardware failures.

Key features of Swift include support for large-scale data storage, seamless integration with other OpenStack services, and a RESTful API for easy access. Its ability to scale horizontally by adding more storage nodes allows organizations to expand their storage infrastructure as their data requirements grow.

Manila: Shared File System Service

Manila is OpenStack’s shared file system service, offering shared file storage capabilities for both virtual machines and bare-metal servers. With Manila, users can create and manage file shares, providing a scalable and shared storage solution for applications and workloads that require file access.

Manila supports various backends, including NFS and CIFS, allowing users to choose the file-sharing protocol that best fits their needs. The service provides features like snapshot management, access controls, and multi-tenancy support, ensuring security and flexibility in shared storage environments.

Manila simplifies the process of managing shared file systems, making it easier for administrators to allocate resources and for users to access shared files seamlessly. This makes it a valuable component for applications that require shared access to data, such as collaborative projects or content management systems.

High level comparison chart

Use CaseBlock-level storageObject storageShared file storage
Storage TypeBlockObjectFile
Snapshot ManagementYesNoYes
Multiple BackendsYesNoYes
Distributed ArchitectureNoYesNo
ScalabilityVertical scalingHorizontal scalingVertical scaling
Protocols SupportediSCSI, Fibre Channel, etc.RESTful APINFS, CIFS, etc.
Multi-Tenancy SupportNoYesYes


Understanding the distinctive features of Cinder, Swift, and Manila is crucial for making informed decisions when building and managing OpenStack storage solutions. Cinder excels in providing flexible and persistent block-level storage, Swift stands out for its scalability and efficiency in handling large volumes of unstructured data, while Manila offers a robust shared file storage solution for applications requiring collaborative access.

By carefully assessing the specific needs of your cloud environment, you can leverage the strengths of Cinder, Swift, or Manila to create a storage infrastructure that aligns with your organization’s requirements, ensuring optimal performance, scalability, and data management. As the landscape of cloud technologies continues to evolve, staying informed about the unique attributes of OpenStack storage options positions you to adapt and optimize your storage strategy accordingly.

About Taashee

Taashee (CMMI-SVC v1.3 Maturity Level 3 Appraised and ISO 9001:2015 | ISO 27001:2013 Certified) provides OpenStack solutions that effectively leverage our decades of combined experience in open source solutions. Our clients come from a vast plethora of industry sectors, each with their unique needs, and Taashee has been known to integrate all available technology, even going as far as developing new solutions to address those needs.

Consult our OpenStack experts by writing to us at and we will get you started right away!


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