You may be wondering what a cloud management platform (CMP) is and if you need such a solution for your business. If you’ve decided to use cloud solutions for your business, you should also learn more about tools to manage your cloud resources.

Through the years, CloudStack and OpenStack have often been compared. Nowadays, experts say these two solutions are best applied in different fields. So how can you tell which one will be best for your company? You’re about to find out if you can spare 5 minutes for this article. 

What is a cloud management platform (CMP) and why does your business need one?

If you have already started with the cloud or virtualization, you may have problems identifying all the tools, systems and services you may need to manage your infrastructure. A cloud management platform is a set of tools offered to dynamically growing enterprises and companies with various IT demands, so if you’re representing such an organization, you should definitely read about CMPs.

Before the public cloud got as popular as it currently is, migrating to the cloud was considered a big challenge, but one with the potential to help the company reduce cost, obtain flexibility, scalability and other benefits. Today we know that a company needs the right strategy and management to fully benefit from cloud solutions. Migration became the easiest part, but managing cloud resources requires many practical skills, knowledge and useful tools. That is why your business may need a proper cloud management platform to take full advantage of the cloud.

CMPs can be defined by a number of tools, which allow a business to optimize and manage its cloud infrastructure. These kinds of platforms help manage costs, data security and various operations. If you feel that you need better tools to maintain control over your company’s dynamic and scalable cloud environment, you should check out the differences between CloudStack and OpenStack solutions.

A cloud management platform helps you administer the resources and IT tools of your complex infrastructure. CMPs’ main value is that they gather all your tools, processes and technologies into one platform and organize them.

CloudStack vs. OpenStack – what are the differences?

Does one perform better in resource pooling than the other? How about their security? Which of these software solutions responds best to your company’s needs?

About CloudStack

This Java-based, open-source platform has been helping many businesses manage their cloud computing solutions for many years. Using it, you can run an Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) in the cloud easily. It is popular among educational institutions and many other private companies. Today CloudStack is considered the platform for companies with modest goals and resources. It has a user-friendly, web-based interface and simple API (application programming interface).

About OpenStack

This was created for a broader audience – you can use it to manage both private and public clouds. It is known as a complex CMP that makes it possible to control really large infrastructures. Compared to CloudStack, it has a really huge community. OpenStack consists of many tools called “projects”, which the user can leverage to manage cloud –based services.

But which one should be used in your business? In order to answer that question, we have to go through the details.

OpenStack – why is it good for enterprises? 

The OpenStack software consists of many components indispensable for building a cloud environment. It’s important that it runs only on the Linux operating system. As it was published with an Apache License, the program can be used for free by anyone, without any limitations. The components of OpenStack are systems such as: Nova, Keystone, Glance, Neutron, Cinder, Swift and Horizon, among others. All of them allow the user to perform various tasks when creating a cloud environment. 

As there is no license, there is no expense – OpenStack is one of the most affordable software products and after setting up the system, managing it is quite easy.  It can be used as a platform for private cloud applications. Using it will really give your company a lot of possibilities. What are its pros and cons?

OpenStack can be good for your business purposes, because:

  • Your company doesn’t have to meet many specific requirements to use this software, 
  • It gives your IT staff better access to IT resources, thanks to which developers can work faster and reduce the time needed for development and testing. This also results in shorter time-to-market for any network services or applications your team needs. 
  • It offers good scalability (even though it is not as scalable as public clouds). You can still quite easily get more storage space or reduce it on-demand.
  • The vast OpenStack community is certainly an advantage! It has a large number of users, who are happy to share their knowledge with others. 

All technologies bring some challenges. What about OpenStack? You should know that:

  • You may find installation of OpenStack quite difficult. It is a complex process – there are a lot of projects and all of them have to be configured to suit your IT team’s specific needs. Upgrading OpenStack systems isn’t fast or easy either.
  • OpenStack software has rather poor documentation, mainly because of its open source nature. The quality of existing documentation varies, as documents have been created by many specialists using OpenStack.
  • Outside of the community, you can’t really count on professional support for OpenStack software for open source projects. OpenStack itself has decided to discontinue support for many of its releases.

CloudStack – software for small and medium companies 

This software is a bit younger than OpenStack – its first release was in 2012 but the newest, Apache CloudStack 4.14, was released this year. It is also open-source and free technology, which your developers can use to manage many virtual networks. Compared to OpenStack it is more intuitive – it has a simple interface and users can work with command line tools. 

This solution makes it possible to implement cloud services, including hybrid clouds. It is fully scalable – you can reduce or increase the amount of hardware and software if your company is growing dynamically and needs more resources. 

Your business can greatly benefit from using CloudStack, as it is:

  • free of charge – cloud  computing services are often costly, but CloudStack is completely free to use. This makes it perfect for small and medium businesses with tight budgets which need powerful tools to perform their important tasks. 
  • flexibility – CloudStack users can connect with any third-party services, as well as building and using their own applications if needed, thanks to the RESTful API features of this software’s cloud management solutions. 
  • strong control of users and resources – using Apache CloudStack, you can easily perform many administrative tasks such as managing users’ software, assigning tasks, assigning and granting access to resources. 

There are also some challenges of using this software:

  • as it is open-source software, from time to time developers find undocumented bugs. 
  • currently only the most popular hypervisors (like VMware, KVM, Citrix XenServer and some others) are supported. This means that sometimes users have to find a solution to problems on their own.

Conclusion: OpenStack vs. CloudStack – which is better for your company? 

CloudStack is mostly recommended for small cloud service providers or small and medium businesses. OpenStack can be also used by small and medium companies, but it requires a team of skilled developers, so it would be far better software for enterprises. If you’re still not sure which software is best for your company, contact us – our experienced consultants will help you choose the right solution for your business needs.