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How is OpenStack functionally different from vCenter?

asked 2015-02-13 10:06:17 -0500

LayneTrain gravatar image

From what I understand, OpenStack is an abstraction layer for hypervisors. It acts as a "cloud OS" in that it allows you to automate processes associated with the management of compute, storage, and networking resources.

Aside from the fact that vCenter is focused on managing ESXi hypervisors, how is OpenStack different from vCenter in terms of features? It looks like there is some functionality that caters toward databases specifically?

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answered 2015-02-13 12:19:00 -0500

larsks gravatar image

OpenStack focuses on providing an API for managing your virtual infrastructure, while vCenter typically focuses on providing a user interface for doing the same. While there is web UI available for OpenStack, the real meat of the product is the set of documented web APIs for doing everything from allocating storage, to creating networks, to booting servers with everything attached. This makes it easy to hook openstack into your automated infrastructure.

The other major difference, of course, is that OpenStack is an open source product, with all the concomitant advantages vs. a commercial product. Whether these are important in your environment is largely a business decision.

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Thank you for the breakdown. So, if I understand correctly, OpenStack is more of a platform for other open source management applications rather than an actual suite of management tools?

LayneTrain gravatar imageLayneTrain ( 2015-02-13 12:22:56 -0500 )edit

I don't know that I would apply either the phrase "management tools" or "platform for other open source management applications" to it. It is a different way of managing resources.

larsks gravatar imagelarsks ( 2015-02-13 13:44:48 -0500 )edit

answered 2016-08-25 14:15:45 -0500

updated 2016-08-25 14:17:41 -0500

VMware was conceived as a Enterprise Virtualization Platform. OpenStack was conceived as a way to spin up a bunch of VMs really fast for temporary use by NASA and RackSource.

I rather like the observation that OpenStack exposes APIs from which to build a virtualized environment; whereas VMware exposes a user interface from which to operate a virtualized environment.

Many, if not most organizations, simply want to use virtualization to improve various business metrics, like cost, resource utilization, availability, etc. and lack the resources, time, and leadership commitment to build a cloud from OpenStack. For them, large and small, VMware is a better bet.

Note: this is not a blanket condoning of the VMware pricelist. It's not cheap, but neither is a small army of developers required to build an OpenStack implementation.

For those few with grander ambitions, the attraction of OpenStack as a an opensource platform for building a new business model over which you have profound levels of control via development of is undeniable. But as many will attest, simply loading legacy apps on an OpenStack cloud is an invitation to disaster.

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answered 2015-02-13 12:15:30 -0500

smaffulli gravatar image

I would suggest you to start from to see what services are available with OpenStack and compare that to vCenter.

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Thank you for the link.

LayneTrain gravatar imageLayneTrain ( 2015-02-13 12:23:02 -0500 )edit

answered 2015-02-14 08:19:04 -0500

jeffrey-olsen gravatar image
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Asked: 2015-02-13 10:06:17 -0500

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Last updated: Aug 25 '16