Openstack distribution

In the last few months, following were some acquisitions that happened: Cisco acquiring Metacloud, EMC acquiring Cloudscaling, HP acquiring Eucalyptus. Metacloud and Cloudscaling have Openstack based distributions, Eucalyptus has a cloud OS similar to Openstack. This set of acquisitions prompted me to look little closely at Openstack distributions and following blog is a result of this.

I see a close parallel between Linux and Openstack in terms of how they are evolving. Unix started off with various flavors like FreeBSD, Solaris, Linux etc. Linux is the dominant Unix version used now. There are different companies like Redhat, Ubuntu selling and supporting Linux distributions. There are currently different Cloud OS like Cloudstack, Eucalyptus, Openstack etc. Openstack is emerging as a major Cloud OS. There are different companies selling Openstack distributions currently.

Following link from Openstack lists different Openstack distributions available in the market. Openstack distribution vendors contribute heavily to Openstack project. Most of distribution vendors give the community edition for free and charge for the Enterprise edition. Following are some general value-adds I observed with the distributions.

  • Makes installation and upgrade easier.
  • Improves scale and high availability by hardening.
  • Improves manageability.
  • Openstack Neutron for networking is still evolving, so vendors provide improved networking solutions by either partnering or providing an integrated solution with SDN controller.
  • Assist in hybrid cloud by keeping APIs compatible with AWS, Google compute, keeping private/public cloud behaviors compatible which makes VM migration easier and by providing single pane of glass management. I have also seen few distributions taking AWS kind of features and adding it to Openstack for easier interop.
  • Provide Openstack as a SaaS model.
  • Sell Openstack distribution along with hardware blocks of combined compute, networking and storage so that it becomes a turnkey solution for the customer.
  • Supporting and maintaining Openstack software and data center infrastructure of the Enterprise.

Metacloud and Cisco

Metacloud’s Carbos OS can be installed directly on Enterprise servers. They also have a partnership with Internap which allows them to host Openstack as a SaaS model. Following is a block diagram of Metacloud’s Openstack solution.


Earlier, Cisco had partnered with Redhat for Openstack distribution software. Metacloud acquisition would give Cisco an end to end cloud solution with UCS Infrastructure, ACI fabric, controller and Metacloud Openstack.

Cloudscaling and EMC

Following is a block diagram of Cloudscaling’s Openstack OCS platform.


Other than providing Openstack hardening and performance enhancements, Cloudscaling’s OCS platform focuses on easing Hybrid cloud deployment. It is not clear how EMC will use Cloudscaling technology and how it will integrate with Vmware’s technology.

Eucalyptus and HP

Eucalyptus has a cloud OS similar to Openstack. Eucalyptus tries to mimic AWS api as much as possible which helps with VM migration. In fact, Eucalyptus has a partnership agreement with Amazon for api interworking. Considering that HP already has Helion Openstack distribution, its not exactly clear on the reasons for the Eucalyptus acquisition. 1 possible benefit I read in some article highlighted that the technology from Eucalyptus could help HP with hybrid clouds.


Pictures used in the above blog are from references.

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