Data Centers

VMware Integrated OpenStack: What IT pros should know about this distribution

VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIOS) was introduced at VMworld 2014. Keith Townsend says the significance of a fully VMware supported release of OpenStack cannot be overstated.

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VMware is a very different company than it was two years ago. Server virtualization has started to become a commodity; VMware has penetrated a majority of Fortune 500 accounts; and the need to diversify beyond server virtualization and cloud computing was evident in 2012 -- so much so that VMware doubled down on virtualization.

The bet on virtualization wasn't exactly what I thought it would be in 2012. VMware spun off its cloud platform business and decided to focus on the data center -- more specifically, the software-defined data center (SDDC). As part of this evolution, VMware has announced VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIOS).

VMware has changed

VMware's SDDC vision would have it in every part of the enterprise data center, from management to storage and networking, in addition to its dominant position in server virtualization. VMware has taken on a new look with a series of moves that appear to reshape the company. These moves include:

  • The introduction of the EVO Hyper-Converged platform;
  • Entrance into network with NSX;
  • The introduction of VSAN, its storage add-on to vSphere;
  • A more relevant desktop strategy with the purchase of AirWatch; and
  • A renewed focus on data center management and automation.

VMware has softened its stance on OpenStack. This is an interesting shift, as the OpenStack platform has been considered a competing platform to VMware's vRealize. However, the discussion at VMworld 2014 was around how VMware is looking to make vSphere the best platform in which to run an OpenStack infrastructure.

VIOS, which is in beta, is a fully VMware supported release of OpenStack -- the significance of this cannot be overstated. Prior to VMware's direct support of OpenStack, it was generally accepted that supporting OpenStack was difficult. At VMworld 2013, Scott Carlson from PayPal discussed the company's implementation on OpenStack on VMware vSphere. According to Carlson, PayPal had an entire team outside of the vSphere operations team dedicated to supporting OpenStack.

Why now?

VMware has expanded well beyond the server base virtualization and has its sights set on the entire enterprise data center, including the interface between the developers and the infrastructure. OpenStack is positioned as a solution that gives application developers an interface into the data center.

A marketing theme of the VMworld conference is, "VMware &." So, if an organization prefers the OpenStack interface over VMware's vRealize, then VMware will look to provide the best platform on which to run OpenStack; this includes deployment and support.

Conclusion

VMware and OpenStack has never really competed directly, because the solutions are aimed at two different types of end users. However, if your organization is considering deploying OpenStack but doesn't have the deep technical expertise needed to install and support the solution, it might be worth investing some research cycles in VIOS.

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About

Keith Townsend is a technology management consultant with more than 15 years of related experience designing, implementing, and managing data center technologies. His areas of expertise include virtualization, networking, and storage solutions for Fo...

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