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OpenStack vs VMware: Which Is Better - Open Source or Proprietary Platform


What is the difference between an OpenStack-based cloud platform and a VMware-based cloud? We gathered a team of system administrators, developers, and product managers to discuss the issue and determine what is better. We looked at the platforms from a user, developer, and manager point of view. We are going to tell you the results of our work.


OpenStack is an open-source solution for creating infrastructure based on public and private cloud services. It is not a virtualization system but rather an orchestrator for managing hypervisors that run virtual machines. Any specialist can clone the repository and set up their own cloud. The project code is written in Python and distributed under the Apache 2.0 license.

If you need to write an additional service, you will write it yourself. If you find a ready-made one, you can copy it and make any necessary additions.


VMware is a proprietary virtualization system. Comparing it with OpenStack-based platforms is not accurate.It can be adapted into a solution different from the native platform, but both solve the same problem and aid in building a cloud infrastructure.

Despite the closeness of VMware, almost any developer can influence the development of this platform, write the support, and ask to add a new feature. But the company can delay this task and do nothing at all. Even if the beta of that feature was announced.

Updates are divided into two groups in VMware-based platform:

  • from the company itself;
  • small patches with APIs that you can implement yourself.

In this case, the solution is similar to OpenStack, where you can pull up new features from the main repository. But nothing can be changed inside VMware.

What Is More Difficult to Develop

The openness/closed nature of OpenStack and VMware affects the operating costs of the companies that use them. That is so due to the number of specialists needed to develop and maintain clouds. Let's discuss this while using a popular cloud solution as an example.


OpenStack was originally developed for private, but not for public clouds. Therefore, the developers had no task to provide a public solution and immediately sell it. If you need to set up a private cloud, there will be no problems. But it won't work to install OpenStack quickly and offer a public cloud as a service. You will need a development team.

The cloud platform in question is OpenStack-based, and developers are engaged in the development of its components. There are commands for virtual servers, disks, storage, networks, etc. Additionally, there are teams of infrastructure administrators responsible for physical hosts and OpenStack deployment, as well as a duty service that handles client tasks.


Even one administrator can set up the VMware cloud. It's like simply downloading software for a qualified specialist. If the developer does not know anything about the internal network, it will be difficult to develop the cloud as a service. Therefore, we have a team that constantly works on client tasks and tries to improve the working processes.

Most VMwarebased specialists are administrators. They primarily ensure that everything works stably, distribute quotas/resources, and respond to customers’ questions. A part of the team are developers who develop various interfaces for the VMware API.

In The World Of Development: Components And Capabilities Of Solutions


ESXi is integrated into VMware as a hypervisor. It is a solution that virtualizes hardware resources. It allows you to execute machine instructions, isolate, and allocate virtual machine resources. ESXi ensures that operating systems work within the framework of their virtualization and do not impact other memory areas.

ESXi or Qemu can be used in OpenStack. KVM is employed in the cloud platform, a popular open-source virtualization solution supporting all major Linux distributions. Clients of the cloud platform can install any of 26 ready-made images on a virtual machine, such as Ubuntu 18.04, 20.04, or 22.04, Fedora 35 or 36, Windows Server 2012-2019, Debian, CentOS, among others.

The VMware-based cloud also supports a variety of distributions by default.

Data Storage

Usually, hardware storage systems use VMware for data storage. We chose vSAN for the cloud based on VMware. This is an object storage with the feature of hyperconvergence, which allows you to combine disks from all virtualization hosts. As a result, clients can use different data Storage Policies within the same cluster. They can also manage the data distribution without changing the hardware itself.

Data storage in OpenStack follows a similar approach. The companies implementing the cloud platform utilizes Ceph as its cloud storage platform. Ceph is a widely used Cloud Storage system that facilitates the creation of objects, block storage, or cluster file systems.

Virtual Machines Interface And Management

Cloud Director is the foundation of VMware. This is a platform that allows users to create their own virtual machines, and configure networks, NAT, and firewalls. We also have a control panel in the cloud based on VMware, so that the client can work with the upper-level interface. You can manage virtual data centers, monitor resource consumption, and request additional services.

There is a Horizon panel in native OpenStack. It is used as an intermediate link like Cloud Director. In the beginning, the quality was rather poor. Therefore, we have developed our own control panel in the cloud platform, which simplifies working with virtual machines.

The cloud platform uses additional modules in addition to the basic components of the OpenStack core. There are several dozen of them.

Almost all components are patched for bugs and complement the functionality of the cloud platform for both ordinary users and developers. As a result, users have a functional interface and the ability to manage the infrastructure through the OpenStack API.

What Is The Final Product?

The technical features of OpenStack and VMware make their own adjustments. Let's look at the final product and compare the cloud platforms.


The openness of OpenStack offers many features for the development of fault-tolerant services.

  1. Cloud servers or virtual machines with payment based on consumption.
  2. Private solutions of public cloud. That is an isolated host, segment, or entire pool based on a public cloud.
  3. A private cloud is a fully isolated cloud on your infrastructure with the ability to be managed from our dashboard.
  4. Certified cloud. Virtual servers are certified to work with government information systems.

You can use backup storage, databases, and managed Kubernetes containers in the same private network.

Moreover, the cloud platform has an access management system. You can add a user and assign a role in the control panel. The main demand is to have an account.


Clients of the VMware-based cloud work with different levels of abstraction. It is possible to create virtual data centers with limits on the number of virtual cores, RAM, and long-term memory in the control panel.

  • The public cloud is a scalable infrastructure with payment for consumption.
  • A private cloud is a virtual infrastructure completely isolated from other clients, with a monthly fixed payment.
  • Remote desktops in the cloud are virtual workstations based on VMware Horizon VDI.
  • Cloud backup lets you copy, store, and restore virtual machine and application data using Veeam Backup & Replication.
  • Disaster recovery to the cloud helps build a fault-tolerant infrastructure without significant costs while using Disaster Recovery as a Service.

Public cloud, backup, and disaster recovery are available in the Control panel and Cloud Director. So, you can monitor resource consumption, manage virtual machines, firewalls, and routing in Edge routers.

The VMware-based cloud also features an access management system, enabling the creation of groups and users directly in the control panel or via Cloud Director, irrespective of whether the account is registered in the cloud panel itself.

How To Use Advantage Of Both Clouds

The cloud platform and the cloud based on VMware do not limit the infrastructure. They can be combined into a private network with other 3HCloud products, a remote data center, or an on-premise platform using a global router.

Network connectivity allows you to leverage the advantages of several services. For example, you can use remote desktops along with cloud virtual machines.

The decision between OpenStack and VMware extends beyond providers and developers. Customers have the option to choose a cloud with a Cloud Director shell if they are familiar with VMware, or an interface in the control panel. There are diverse opportunities for access control, monitoring, and management of virtual servers. Therefore, if you aim to harness the benefits of both clouds simultaneously, consider integrating them within a single private network.

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