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Hi,

You might like to read the Architecture section of the OpenStack Operations Guide (http://docs.openstack.org/ops).

Especially, there is a section on compute nodes here: http://docs.openstack.org/trunk/openstack-ops/content/compute_nodes.html

Essentially, for a single server learning and working with devstack - almost anything will do - you could even use a virtual machine if you wanted :) How much hardware you put in it just determines what scale you're operating at.

Good luck!