OpenStack vs CloudStack

12 Jan 2021 by Joel St.Germain

OpenStack vs CloudStack

Comparing features, strengths, and weaknesses of both platforms


The cloud has become a hot topic for businesses of all kinds, from the local small business all the way up to global enterprise clients. Even so, it remains a broad topic that covers a lot of IT territory. As you begin to consider switching your own business to the cloud it’s essential that you understand what makes each service unique and how they compare to one another. In this article, I’ll be comparing two popular platforms, OpenStack and CloudStack.  For each of these, we’ll look at key benefits and features, variances between both of them, ease of use, and deployment. 


What is OpenStack? 

OpenStack is a cloud system that controls large amounts of storage and networking resources throughout a datacenter. All of this data is managed through APIs with a common authentication mechanism. A dashboard is provided, which gives administrators control while permitting their users to deliver resources from a web interface.

Along with the standard infrastructure, there are additional components available to users that can provide fault management and service management as well as other services to ensure the high availability of user applications.

Features

OpenStack gathers virtual resources to both build and manage private and public clouds. "Projects" are tools that comprise the OpenStack platform. These projects handle the core cloud-computing service of networking, storage, and identity services. There are many more available projects which can be mixed and matched to suit a client’s specific needs.

During virtualization, resources such as CPU and RAM are abstracted from many different programs, split by a hypervisor then distributed as needed. OpenStack uses a consistent set of application programming interfaces (APIs) to extract those virtual resources into hidden pools which are then used to power the standard cloud computing tools with which users and administrators interact with.

Main Software Involved

There are two main types of software used to create this cloud environment: a base operating system and a program known as virtualization. Virtualization creates a layer of resources extracted from hardware, whereas the base operating system carries out the scripts' commands.

You can think of OpenStack as managing resources to build clouds. It doesn't virtualize resources but uses them to build the cloud. It doesn’t execute any commands, rather, it relays them to the base operating system. OpenStack, Virtualization, and base OS must work together to create a fully functioning cloud.

What is CloudStack?

Apache CloudStack is an open-source infrastructure that allows any IT service provider to offer public cloud services. In addition to public clouds, CloudStack can also be used by those businesses that wish to offer their private cloud and hybrid cloud services to users.

CloudStack has a computer function that assigns virtual machines (VMs) to an individual server; this manages switches to create and manage logical networks, block storage systems, and a cloud computing management interface. This cloud computing management interface can support all of the software components. CloudStack also allows administrators to release and manage large networks of virtual machines that can run many hypervisors such as VMware, KVM, and Microsoft Hyper-V.

Features of CloudStack

CloudStack includes all the features most organizations want along with an IaaS cloud. These consist of computing orchestration, Network-as-a-service, and user and account management. Users can easily manage their cloud with a simple web interface or command-line tools. CloudStack also provides an interface compatible with Amazon.

What do OpenStack and CloudStack have in common?

Even though OpenStack and CloudStack were made with different purposes in mind, they still have similarities.

·        They have similar base technology and design

·        Both can be used to make both public and hybrid clouds

·         Both OpenStack and CloudStack have an easy to understand and user-friendly interface.

 

Differences between OpenStack and CloudStack

Before we delve into the main differences between OpenStack and CloudStack, we have to understand it is not a fight, but a push for improved cloud control. OpenStack is a cloud system which manages sizeable pools of storage, networking resources, and servers around a datacenter. These are all controlled within a central dashboard. CloudStack, on the other hand, is an open-source app that is used to control a vast network of applications. It is extremely accessible as compared to OpenStack.

Ease of Use

OpenStack has improved and become easier to deploy over the years compared to the past, whereas CloudStack has been relatively simple for the past two years. Its initial deployment has not changed much as compared to OpenStack.

Cloudstack is easier for day to day use. CloudStack also has some unique features such as storage independent computers and admins to create security zones across regions. This makes them perfect for day to day use and resource availability. CloudStack is also perfect for centralized management and massive scalability. It allows for effective management of numerous different servers all over the globe from a single portal. It is considerably more user friendly than its counterpart OpenStack.

OpenStack, on the other hand, is not as user friendly. It faces difficulty because installation and architecture procedure still need a lot of time to distribute. Installation sometimes requires additional knowledge before it can properly be utilized. As CloudStack is relatively new compared to OpenStack, it lacks a large community base and isn't backed by the industry. However, this may change in the future has CloudStack is a refined product with heavy user adoption.


Feature Sets

If we consider core feature sets, both are extremely similar. CloudStack works very well in computing and network orchestration, whereas OpenStack has some PaaS features that can be more appealing.

Forum Support/ Community

When we consider the communities of both OpenStack and CloudStack, both are very different. OpenStack is a huge community with many extremely talented users. This could be appealing to someone looking to lean on the expertise of the existing community. However, having a larger community occasionally results in muddled responses. As the number of users increases, so does the number of answers to issues and/or topics on the message boards.

CloudStack, on the other hand, has a much smaller community that strives to be cooperative with one another. This is beneficial to users that are looking for more dialed in, one on one interactions with community member. However, the challenge of attracting more contributors and companies to help improve the software remains a challenge.

Differing Concepts

OpenStack and CloudStack are completely different even if they can solve similar problems. An easy analogy through which you can understand this is "do you want to play with Lego’s or Hot Wheels". One is a set of building blocks where you’re free to create as you see fit (OpenStack), whereas the other one is a completely finished product ready for you to play with as soon as you open it (CloudStack).

OpenStack is modular software. It is compostable, meaning that you can select and combine different components to get your own unique cloud. This allows full freedom for the individual, and you can easily scale the size of your clouds. For example, if you have to make a smaller cloud, you may only require around three nodes, whereas if you need a larger cloud, you may need around ten nodes.

Cloudstack is less flexible as compared to OpenStack. Most of its modules are bundled in one binary with the exceptions of some network controllers. But CloudStack is relatively simpler and easier to implement as compared to OpenStack.

Which is utilized more?

OpenStack is a more full-grown product as there are more than a hundred and fifty firms are all subscribe to OpenStack. Some examples of firms are Yahoo, Dell and IBM. OpenStack is currently the head in cloud platform control and continues to develop as time goes on.

However, OpenStack is more challenging to distribute. It usually requires to be controlled from several CLI consoles. It is considerably more complex. Fortunately, there are a lot of installation and configurations templates that are available online.

Cloudstack is, in comparison, much simpler. Its distribution is much more straightforward as compared to OpenStack. It comprises of a single virtual machine operating the control server and the other acts as the cloud substructure. It is so simple that you could distribute the whole thing in a physical host.  The deployment is extremely smooth.

Verdict

Both CloudStack and OpenStack have their advantages and disadvantages; we cannot clearly state one is better than the other without knowing what they’ll be used for. They each have their own advantages and disadvantages, the key is knowing what those are and understanding how that relates to your IT needs. There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to the cloud. The best option is to research both programs and decide which one suits your business the best based on what you’re trying to accomplish. Engaging with an experienced IT consultant during the decision making process is a good starting point to ensure that you have all the information needed to make the decision that’s right for your IT needs. Intimately understanding what each platform has to offer and how it can benefit you is the first step in making an informed decision. 

 

Author

Joel St.Germain

CEO and Founder - Datacenters.com

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