VMware & OpenStack Differences in Technology & Philosophy: Q&A with Boris Renski of Mirantis - Page 2
VSM: What do people need to understand about OpenStack?
BR: Despite common belief, OpenStack is not a product; it is an organization, presently owned by RackSpace (and soon-to-be spun off into an independent, non-profit foundation). The sole purpose of this organization is to provide an umbrella trademark and a governance structure for several open source software projects, licensed under Apache 2.0. In this sense, it is very similar to the Apache Foundation.
All projects under the OpenStack umbrella are united by a common theme: building a piece of software meant to deliver some component of an IaaS cloud. All OpenStack projects are split into core, incubated, and community:
- Core projects are those that formally fall under the OpenStack umbrella; i.e., they are subject to OpenStack community governance process and are officially endorsed by the community, with regularly scheduled releases.
- Incubated projects are those that have been voted to be included into core during one of the upcoming releases.
- Community projects are those that add some value to the OpenStack ecosystem, but are not governed or officially endorsed by the community. I won’t go into the details of the actual OpenStack projects here; there is already a good overview on the OpenStack website.
VSM: Can you really compare VMware with OpenStack? Isn’t it apples and oranges?
BR: While there are clear slices of functionality across OpenStack projects and VMware products that compete in some ways, the general approach and philosophy of the two ecosystems are vastly different. I believe that seeing the differences in philosophy is more relevant than a side-by-side feature comparison.
I can see comparing the two by narrowing OpenStack down to Compute, Image Service, Dashboard, and Quantum. Things like Swift Object Store or the virtual load-balancer have to be excluded from the comparison because, to my knowledge, VMware does not have a competing offering in these areas. The scope of functionality of the above-mentioned projects would land OpenStack somewhere between Layer 2 and Layer 3 of the VMware product portfolio, as I explained before. That said, while it is ultimately an awkward exercise to attempt to pit VMware and OpenStack against one another, I put together a side-by-side comparison of key features of the two ecosystems, within the intersecting slices of functionality.
VSM: What are the philosophy differences between VMware and OpenStack?
BR: There is probably no better way to characterize the philosophy differences than Lydia Leong, Gartner, did in her post referring to VMware as ‘cloud-out’ and OpenStack as ‘cloud-in’.
VMware was propelled forward by the adoption of virtualization in the enterprise. As virtualization continued to become increasingly commoditized, VMware gradually pushed up the stack. New value-added features were layered around the hypervisor in pursuit of maintaining the market momentum that was initiated by the virtualization disruption. The vast majority of VMware revenue today is still driven by vSphere, which is basically a Virtualization 2.0 market play (as Randy Bias of CloudScaling refers to it). Ultimately, VMware today is not about cloud, it is about datacenter automation. It is not about IaaS, it is about virtualization offerings focused at very specific enterprise pain points. VMware does not sell elastic compute or elastic storage; it sells things like the virtual machine recovery manager or the chargeback module. The difference with OpenStack isn’t just the technology; it is in the fundamental approach to tackling the infrastructure automation puzzle.