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OpenStack architecture in depth

Is there any orignal OpenStack research paper that talks about the design more specifically, or any other resources available from which I can learn about the OpenStack architecture more in depth? I found sources that have broad information about the specific openstack components (nova, swift, cinder, neutron, etc.), but the information here is limited. I'm looking for a walk-through of how certain operations are processed by openstack; such as what are the sequence of events that occurs when a write request is made from an application to persistent storage (for both cinder, and swift), and for creating a compute instance. Do applications need to be written specfically for openstack? If not how does openstack abstract the writing to persistent storage for an application? Any data on performance benchmarks run on openstack and comparative results?