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The cinder project provides block storage so you can mount volumes for instances to access, the glance project provides a service for storing and retrieving operating system images (they can be publicly accessible or private per tenant), the swift project provides eventually consistent object storage and retrieval. Images can be backed by object storage or on the controller node's file system. There are plenty of considerations for storage in OpenStack - read this page for more info. http://docs.openstack.org/trunk/openstack-ops/content/storage_decision.html