OpenStack Swift

Powering the world’s largest storage clouds

OpenStack Swift

Powering the world’s largest storage clouds

The open-source cloud storage project

Swift is a widely-used and popular object storage system provided under the Apache 2 open source license. Swift is designed to store files, videos, analytics data, web content, backups, images, virtual machine snapshots and other unstructured data at large scale with high availability and 12 nines of durability.

Along with SwiftStack, contributors include IBM, RedHat, HP, and Rackspace. Swift powers storage clouds at Comcast, Time Warner, Globo, and Wikipedia, as well as public clouds like Rackspace, NTT, OVH, and IBM SoftLayer...just to name a few.

"Swift…one of the more forward-looking projects…was built to be composable, meaning it was built to be used with or without other OpenStack components. So, a shout-out to the Swift team for thinking ahead…if [customers] just want object storage, they’re able to bring in Swift.”

- Mark Collier, Chief Operating Officer, OpenStack Foundation

ProxyFS project


The SwiftStack team has released a filesystem, called ProxyFS, that adds file services natively to OpenStack Swift. The goal is to better support classic applications that cannot be modified to use object APIs and greatly reduce the need for filesystem gateways.

With ProxyFS the same data is accessible via SMB / NFS as well as AWS S3 and OpenStack Swift APIs. ProxyFS is interaged in SwiftStack as File Access.

Lead contributor to the Swift project

SwiftStack is the lead upstream contributor to the OpenStack Swift project with around 20% of community activity in 2015. The Project Technical Lead (PTL), John Dickinson, is a member of the SwiftStack team and cuts the upstream releases.

SwiftStack’s active involvement in the Swift project is in part due to our commitment to ensuring that the functionality which touches your data is open source. With SwiftStack, you’re not locked into anything that’s proprietary. You own your data.

What in SwiftStack is Swift?

SwiftStack is a complete, enterprise-ready storage product with OpenStack Swift at the core. SwiftStack delivers needed and innovative functionality outside the datapath, while OpenStack Swift components are in the datapath. This gives enterprises private cloud storage that’s easy to deploy, scale, integrate with existing systems, and maintain over time.

Easiest way to get started with Swift

OpenStack Swift is freely available for anyone to use, but it does take a highly-technical team of engineers to design, test, deploy, and manage a Swift cluster. Since Swift is kept pure in SwiftStack, you can test it out and get started for free by simply creating an account and installing software on at least one node. Our founder, Joe Arnold, shows how easy it is to get going in this video.

Learn about the functionality of Swift

SwiftStack has created many valuable resources to help you learn more about the functionality in OpenStack Swift.

O’Reilly book on OpenStack Swift - This book is written by Joe Arnold and the rest of the SwiftStack team and is freely available here.

Crash Course on OpenStack Swift - The SwiftStack team has created a series of 8 short videos to help you learn the workings of OpenStack Swift. Watch these videos here.

Further details on OpenStack Swift - The SwiftStack documentation walks you through the architecture of OpenStack Swift.

Getting involved in OpenStack Swift

To get involved with the OpenStack Swift development community, please come introduce yourself at:

#openstack-swift on freenode IRC

Other Resources

Solution Brief

Accelerating Swift with Intelligent SSD Caching


White Paper

Accelerating Swift with Intel Cache Acceleration Software

Infographic: 5 Years of Swift


5 Years of Swift