Ultimate List of OpenStack Alternatives 

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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.  

CloudStack 

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 

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 

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. 

Joyent 

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. 

  1. Identify the criteria clearly for which you are looking for a cloud computing stack  and document it. 
  2. Accumulate the details of each vendor, their features, pricing, advantages,  disadvantages, integration supports, hardware requirements, compatibility,  community, etc.
  3. 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. 
  4. Perform a PoC (Proof of Concept) on both the vendors selected. This will give  the real information to decide which one to choose. 
  5. 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.  

Final thoughts 

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.

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