OpenShift Origin vs OpenStack

A question I am often asked when I talk about OpenShift and OpenShift Origin is “How does OpenShift compete with OpenStack?” Or sometimes, the better question “How does OpenShift relate to OpenStack?”

Both OpenStack and OpenShift Origin are open source projects, and both provide cloud computing foundations. However, they do not compete with each other.

OpenStack provides “Infrastructure-as-a-Service”, or “IaaS”. It provides bootable virtual machines, networking, block storage, object storage, and so forth. Some IaaS service providers based on OpenStack are HP Cloud and Rackspace Cloud. Red Hat is fully engaged with the larger OpenStack user and developer community. Our developers are the source of a significant amount of code to implement features and fix bugs in the OpenStack projects. In addition, we will be on the OpenStack Foundation board, as described in this FAQ and announcement.

The OpenShift hosted service provides “Platform-as-a-Service” or “PaaS”. It provides the necessary parts to quickly deploy and run a LAMP application: the web server, application server, application runtimes and libraries, database service, and so forth.

OpenShift Origin is the open source project of the software that enables the OpenShift hosted service. Using OpenShift Origin, you can build your own PaaS.

A PaaS typically runs on top of an IaaS provider. For example, both the OpenShift hosted service and the Heroku hosted service run on top of Amazon’s AWS IaaS service.

OpenShift Origin can run on top of OpenStack. For example, our Krishna Raman has written a blog post: OpenShift Origin on OpenStack which describes step by step how to set it up.

In addition to OpenShift Origin being able to run on top of OpenStack, it can run on top of AWS, it can run on top of KVM or VMware in your own data center, it can run on top of Virtual Box in your personal laptop, and it can even run on top of “bare metal” unvirtualized Linux hosts.

So, when I am asked “How does OpenShift relate to OpenStack?”, I answer “OpenShift Origin can run on top of OpenStack. They are complementary projects that work well together. OpenShift Origin is not presently part of OpenStack, and does not compete with OpenStack. If you stand up your own OpenStack system, you can make it even more useful by installing OpenShift Origin on top of it.”

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