OpenStack vs. VMware in the Post-Broadcom Era: Rethinking Cloud Infrastructure Options

img blog OpenStack vs VMware in the Post Broadcom Era Rethinking Cloud Infrastructure Options

Since their acquisition of VMware, Broadcom has moved to discontinue several iterations of the cloud infrastructure product. What does this mean for new companies looking to implement virtualization tools or older companies that may have to transition to an alternative cloud infrastructure platform? For many, it will mean looking to what many regard as VMware’s leading competitor, OpenStack. But to decide whether to make such a change requires an understanding of both platforms, their features, and why to choose either of them.

What is OpenStack?

OpenStack is an open-source cloud platform designed for building private or public clouds. Renowned for its adaptability, scalability, and rich features, OpenStack is a favorite among businesses seeking powerful cloud solutions. It’s composed of individual projects including Nova, Cinder, and Neutron, which work together to support the development and management of cloud-based applications.

OpenStack features

OpenStack stands out in the field of cloud computing due to its:

  • Open-source nature: OpenStack’s accessibility and collaborative community development fuel its innovation. Unlike commercially driven platforms, OpenStack benefits from the combined efforts of a vast developer network, fostering continuous improvement and feature expansion.
  • Flexibility and scalability: OpenStack empowers users to tailor their cloud environments to specific needs, providing unmatched adaptability. Additionally, businesses can easily scale their cloud resources up or down to accommodate fluctuating workloads, ensuring optimal performance and resource utilization. OpenStack’s modular architecture also allows businesses to integrate the best available solutions from various vendors, creating a customized cloud environment that aligns perfectly with their unique goals.
  • Community-driven nature: Backed by a global network of over 110,000 active contributors, OpenStack benefits from a vibrant community that ensures ongoing support and development. This collaborative environment fosters innovation and problem-solving, with users sharing best practices and contributing to the platform’s ongoing evolution.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Leveraging open-source technology and commodity hardware, OpenStack offers a budget-friendly alternative. Businesses can avoid vendor lock-in associated with proprietary solutions and maximize their existing hardware investments while reducing infrastructure costs.

What is VMware?

VMware is a proprietary virtualization platform offering a suite of solutions that include server virtualization and cloud infrastructure management. VMware is known for its reliability and has long held a dominant position in corporate data centers. It offers a comprehensive portfolio that spans desktop and server software, cloud management tools, networking solutions, and security products.

VMware features

Businesses have long valued VMware for its:

  • Proprietary framework: VMware operates within a closed system, offering proprietary solutions with upfront costs and ongoing licensing fees. While this approach ensures a consistent user experience and simplifies management, it can lock businesses into a specific vendor path and limit their ability to leverage cost-effective alternatives.
  • User-friendliness: VMware is known for its intuitive interface and ease of deployment, simplifying server administration and cloud resource management. Preconfigured features that streamline workflows have traditionally made VMware a strong choice for businesses seeking a user-friendly cloud management experience, particularly those with limited in-house expertise. Whether this will continue to be the case following Broadcom’s decisions is uncertain.
  • Security and reliability: VMware’s mature security features and built-in disaster recovery contribute to its reputation for providing robust and reliable infrastructure. VMware’s established track record and focus on enterprise environments make it a trusted solution for businesses prioritizing security and stability.
  • Commercial support: Historically, VMware has enjoyed strong commercial support; however, Broadcom’s recent discontinuations may impact the availability of certain products and support services. Businesses reliant on specific VMware products or services may need to factor in potential disruptions or price increases going forward.

What does migrating to OpenStack look like?

Five years ago One Cloud Services at Liberty Center One made the decision to migrate from VMware to OpenStack. One of the drivers of the decision was the concept of “vendor lock.” We saw a trend with software providers of continuous re-arrangement of their products and services. Changing the elements of bundled services and introducing features which result in unilateral pricing actions.

As a service provider, cost dependability was a critical factor. To remain market competitive, it’s important to have consistency in rates. Another factor was the ability to provide a self-service alternative for customers. We wanted a simple, easy to use user interface that could centralize all of the functions required to manage cloud services – compute instances, storage, and software defined networking. And our analysis concluded that OpenStack had several advantages.

OpenStack’s advantages

In comparison to VMware and its features, OpenStack’s advantages can be categorized into:

  • Flexibility and customization: OpenStack enables businesses to build cloud environments tailored to their unique needs and workflows. This level of control allows businesses to optimize performance, integrate seamlessly with existing infrastructure, and avoid vendor lock-in.
  • Cost efficiency: The open-source model and hardware flexibility associated with OpenStack make it a budget-conscious choice. Businesses can leverage existing hardware and avoid vendor licensing costs, leading to significant long-term cost savings.
  • Community-driven innovation: The vibrant OpenStack community fosters continuous development and innovation. As a result, businesses benefit from a wide range of readily available tools and integrations, with new features and improvements constantly emerging.

Migrating to OpenStack

Through our process, we had to evaluate both our legacy VMware installed base and new customers who were onboarded into our OpenStack environment from the start.

We developed a migration process that seamlessly moved workload from VMware to OpenStack while maintaining customer uptime without disrupting their production operations.

While 90% of our customer engagements are now on our OpenStack platform, the migration process is still in use today and has evolved to a key component of our services as we onboard new customers. The onboarding process now envelopes virtual environments from VMware or Hyper-V and also from other competitive providers like AWS or Azure. Our differentiator is that our engineers handle the migration process at no charge, while training customers at the same time.

Speak with a Liberty Center One expert to learn more about cloud platforms and how cloud computing can benefit your business. Contact us today.