OpenStack is a free and open-source cloud computing platform that is used to build and manage public and private clouds. It is a cross-platform software and supports both Linux and Windows platforms. You can also call it an Infrastructure as a Service because it gives you the complete environment (compute, network, storage, etc.) for creating and running your application. OpenStack is more suitable for commodity hardware and keeps the cost to a bare minimum. It is a good option for not spending a lot of money with vendors like VMWare or AWS, you can use it in the pay-as-you-go model. The community and contributors of OpenStack are huge. It also has good support from big organizations like HP, eBay, PayPal, RedHat, Dell, etc.
When OpenStack was launched, it was considered a silver bullet for the IT team for providing public/private cloud capabilities on-premises to their developers. In its early years, it looked like a great solution for the enterprise, which can help them avoid vendor lock-in period and provide an in-premises IaaS environment. But once these enterprise organizations scale their OpenStack cluster or try to do a new integration, they understand how tough it is to work with it. With a lot of offerings, OpenStack has become very complex to use and maintain. It was supposed to be a single product as a solution to the problem, but it is rather a suite of technologies combined to provide a solution. Adding a new component to this suite of technologies is painful.
And this is what has left the organizations to look for alternatives to OpenStack. There are multiple vendors that are good options as OpenStack replacement. In this article, I will list a few OpenStack alternative solutions and how to select from them.
Apache CloudStack has to be on the top of the list of OpenStack alternatives. It is also a popular open-source cloud management platform. It is a Java-based solution that supports Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors, VMware, KVM, Citrix XenServer. It provides simple APIs and a web-based interface for ease and a user-friendly experience. It basically boosts up enterprise-level Infrastructure as a Service.
The key components of CloudStack are the cloud management service, cloud usage service and the UI portal. Cloud management service is used to orchestrate virtual machine deployment, cloud management, user management and volume provisioning. Cloud usage service calculates the usage of cloud resources periodically for all the user accounts managed by CloudStack. And the user interface portal of CloudStack is used by users to Sign Up/ Sign In. The portal supports multiple roles like root admin, domain admin and user role. The root admin has all the permissions to manage the physical and virtual infrastructure.
Below are the important features of Apache CloudStack:
- It gives you all the tools required for deploying your project/application without worrying about the IT resources, software and hardware.
- Helps organizations in reducing the IT complexity, time, cost
- Provides you the option to select cloud resources (computing power, storage capacity and networking services) of your choice
- Allows you to can focus on your application deployment and deliver it faster • It has built-in support for LDAP authentication
- It keeps a record of every interaction on CloudStack as an event • The easy-to-use web interface gives the experience which the organizations are not able to find with OpenStack
OpenNebula is an open-source infrastructure as a service platform providing a state of-the-art solution for building private clouds and managing data centre virtualization. It stands out from other stack solutions by balancing a robust set of enterprise capabilities with an organic simplicity that would please any administrator. Where other solutions in the market have complex subsystems of customized components, OpenNebula provides a single integrated management platform for all cloud subsystems. Whether you are looking to build a single on-premises cloud or a hosted cloud, or maybe you are managing a federated cloud with multiple data centres or a hybrid cloud, or perhaps you’re looking to create a distributed cloud or even a cloud using resources on edge, OpenNebula offers the comprehensive platform to create
and orchestrate your infrastructure. and with a single easy-to-use portal you have complete control over your physical and virtual resources and can create multi-tenant elastic clouds within your data centres. With individual deployments as large as sixteen data centres and three hundred thousand cores, it’s a proven solution at the enterprise level. This is why organizations are jumping ship from other pricey yet muddled solutions for a tidier and more efficient implementation with OpenNebula.
Below are some key features of OpenNebula:
- Provides cloud APIs and GUI as the cloud consumer interface • Manages the virtual machines and container used in cloud
- Supports traffic isolation, IP address distribution, address reservation through virtual network management capabilities
- Installs and configures the application environment automatically • Shares insights on cloud applications running
- Provides a marketplace that has plenty of OpenNebula-ready cloud images • Allows federation of cloud environments
Kubernetes and Containers
Digital transformation is driving the adoption of a new application development and deployment approach called cloud native. Container technology is the key enabler of this modern IT approach. Containers are a solution to the problem of how to get the software to run reliably when moving from one computing environment to another. A container image consists of an entire runtime environment, an application and everything else needed to run it. Code runtime, system tools, system libraries, settings all bundled into one lightweight standalone executable package. And multiple containers can be deployed on a single OS and share the same OS kernel by containerizing the application in its dependencies. Differences in OS and underlying infrastructure are abstracted away. Now you can move your application easily from a developer’s laptop to a testing environment from a staging environment into a production environment or from a physical machine to a VM and a private or public cloud and always know that your application will work just right.
Besides being readily portable, containers are also very lightweight and super-fast. A container may only be tens of megabytes in size. Containerized applications can be started almost instantly. Due to these characteristics, containers serve as the basis of enabling the decomposed microservices-based architecture of cloud-native applications.
As more containers are used, enterprises need orchestration tools to help them run these containers. Kubernetes is an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling and management of containerized applications. It groups containers that make up an application into logical units called pods, nodes and namespaces. For easy management and discovery, Kubernetes builds upon over a decade of experience running production workloads at Google and has a large and active community contributing to it. It brings scalability, flexibility and portability to applications and has become the leading Orchestrator for running containers and building modern apps.
Eucalyptus stands for elastic utility computing architecture linking your program to useful systems. It is a web service-based elastic computing infrastructure where the web service technology is available from a common Linux distribution. Whenever there is a high demand for high processing and performance, you can blindly use eucalyptus architecture. The architecture design is very extensible and modular. The five main components of Eucalyptus cloud computing architectures are :
- Cloud Controller (CLC): It is the controller in the eucalyptus architecture that manages virtual resources like storage, servers, networks, etc. In eucalyptus architecture, it is at the highest level. It is a web interface written in the java programming language. It does system accounting and also resources scheduling. In the architecture, there is only one cloud controller. It can handle quota management, reporting, authentication, accounting in the cloud.
- Walrus: It is a part of eucalyptus architecture which is similar to AWS S3 storage. It is written in Java programming language and is used for persistent storage. It also has volumes, images and snapshots, just like AWS has. In the architecture, there is only one Walrus in the cloud.
- Cluster Controller (CC): It is written in C programming language and is used as a front end to a eucalyptus cloud cluster. It communicates with node controllers and storage controller. It is used for managing instance execution in the cloud.
- Storage Controller (SC): It is a part of eucalyptus architecture which is similar to EBS in AWS. It can interface with node controllers and cluster controller for managing the persistent data through Walrus. SC is also written in Java.
- Node Controller (NC): It is a C program that is used for hosting virtual machine instances. In the architecture, it is at the lowest level. It creates instances for computing requirements in the cloud by downloading the images from Walrus. It manages the complete lifecycle of an instance.
- VMWare: It is a broker which is an optional component in eucalyptus architecture. It provides AWS compatible interface to the VMWare environment.
Below are the services provided by Eucalyptus.
- Network isolation: It is a vital part of any layered security approach. It is used by all players, from small businesses to large organizations, in different capacities.
- Elastic IP: It is a static IPv4 address designed for dynamic cloud computing. An elastic IP address is associated with your AWS account.
- Security groups are used to collect user accounts, computer accounts and other groups into manageable units.
- Metadata: Metadata catalog service in the cloud is a mechanism for storing and accessing descriptive metadata and allows cloud users to query for data items on desired attributes.
Yesterday’s infrastructure can’t meet demands, there are too many layers and vendors up and down the stack, making it impossible to get full transparency into your app’s performance. This is why Joyent was created, a faster and more reliable infrastructure from the ground up. It is the only stack natively designed for the cloud flattened and streamlined to give you bare-metal performance from a virtual machine. Experience
new levels of visibility, security and control with the speed of dedicated servers but in the cloud. With Joyent instant bursting capabilities, companies can stop overpaying for peaks and spikes and all of this comes at half the cost of traditional cloud hosting by eliminating server inventory and provisioning simply for baseline demand.
Joyent is an Intel-backed company that provides global coverage with our worldwide cloud data centre network trusted by over 20,000 world’s most demanding companies. It is already powering over 500 million mobile users and trillions of transactions globally.
Traditional infrastructure is complicated and inefficient, brushing under workloads, causing latency outages and lost revenue. So, the Joyent team engineered a revolutionary cloud system with industry-leading technologies that are reliable, resilient and designed for efficiency. It gives you the complete control over your infrastructure with the flexibility to scale instantly. This dynamic approach makes it easier to manage costs and maximize resources. Complete transparency provides each deployment with root-level analytics so you can make decisions based on real time data. Run-on a bulletproof stack that handles variable workloads with ease backed by world-class reliability. Get access to innovative technology like Nodejs, industry experts and unprecedented levels of support from a partner that will inspire new solutions and ensure your success.
How to choose the right alternative?
Now you know there are several alternatives to OpenStack. But deciding which one is right for you is not very easy or straightforward. The process of finding the right alternative has to be very structured.
- Identify the criteria clearly for which you are looking for a cloud computing stack and document it.
- Accumulate the details of each vendor, their features, pricing, advantages, disadvantages, integration supports, hardware requirements, compatibility, community, etc.
- Once you have defined the criteria clearly and collected the details of all the vendors you are evaluating, have an internal discussion with your team and pick the top 2 vendors.
- Perform a PoC (Proof of Concept) on both the vendors selected. This will give the real information to decide which one to choose.
- After the PoC period, compare and analyse the results of both the vendors. Depending on the PoC data collected, you need to quantify things and create a scorecard. The vendor with a higher score should be your choice.
A few years back, everyone wanted OpenStack to be their go-to option for software development on public/private cloud, but the tide has shifted now. There are many solutions available now which offer everything OpenStack has to give and removes all the complexities which are there with OpenStack. You have to be very careful while selecting a new solution, you need to think about today and also about the future. Now, you have a list of OpenStack alternatives to evaluate, so go ahead and choose your new cloud stack.