OpenStack doesn’t mandate defaults for compute, network and storage, which frees you to select the best technology. For many VMware customers, the best choice will be vSphere to provide OpenStack Nova compute capabilities.
It is commonly asserted that KVM is the only hypervisor to use in an OpenStack deployment. Yet every significant commercial OpenStack distro supports vSphere. The reasons for this broad support are clear.
Costs for commercial KVM are comparable to vSphere. In addition, vSphere has tremendous added benefits: widely available and knowledgeable staff, vastly simplified operations, and proven lifecycle management that can keep up with OpenStack’s rapid release cadence.
Let’s talk first about cost. Traditional, commercial KVM has a yearly recurring support subscription price. Red Hat OpenStack Platform-Standard 2 sockets can be found online at $11,611/year making the 3 year cost around $34,833[i]. VMware vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise Plus (multiplied by 2 to match Red Hat’s socket pair pricing) for 3 years, plus the $200/CPU/year VMware Integrated OpenStack SnS is $14,863[ii]. Even when a customer uses vCloud Suite Advanced, costs are on par with Red Hat. (Red Hat has often compared prices using VMware’s vCloud Suite Enterprise license to exaggerate cost differences.)
When 451 Research[iii] compared distro costs based on a “basket” of total costs in 2015 they found that commercial distros had a cost that was close to regular virtualization. And if VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO) is the point of comparison, the costs would likely be even closer. The net-net is that cost turns out not to be a significant differentiator when it comes to commercial KVM compared with vSphere. This brings us to the significant technical and operational benefits vSphere brings to an OpenStack deployment.
In the beginning, it was assumed that OpenStack apps would build in the resiliency that used to be assumed from a vSphere environment, thus allowing vSphere to be removed. As the OpenStack project has matured, capabilities such as VMware vMotion and DRS (Distributed Resource Scheduler) have risen in importance to end users. Regardless of the application the stability and reliability of the underlying infrastructure matters.
There are two sets of reasons to adopt OpenStack on vSphere.
First, you can use VIO to quickly (minutes or hours instead of days or weeks) build a production-grade, operational OpenStack environment with the IT staff you already have, leveraging the battle-tested infrastructure your staff already knows and relies on. No other distro uses a rigorously tested combination of best-in-class compute (vSphere Ent+ for Nova), network (NSX for Neutron), and storage (VSAN for Cinder).
Second, only VMware, a long-time (since 2012), active (consistently a top 10 code contributor) OpenStack community member provides BOTH the best underlying infrastructure components AND the ongoing automation and operational tools needed to successfully manage OpenStack in production.
In many cases, it all adds up to vSphere being the best choice for production OpenStack.
This Article was written by Cameron Sturdevant, Product Line Manager at VMware