VMware vs OpenStack: Why OpenStack is the better VMware alternative in 2024

VMware alternatives 2024

In this blog post, we will cover the following VMware vs. OpenStack topics:

Why now is the time to look for VMware alternatives?

Common alternatives to VMware: A quick comparison of Proxmox, Nutanix, and Hyper-V

Reasons why OpenStack faced challenges in initial enterprise adoption

OpenStack has become a mature and enterprise-ready VMware alternative solution today

Why Platform9 Managed OpenStack?

Key virtualization capabilities compared: Platform9 OpenStack vs VMware

Further reading and resources

Why now is the time to look for VMware alternatives?

For years, VMware has been the de facto standard for enterprise virtualization, providing a powerful and feature-rich platform for organizations to manage their virtual infrastructure. 

Broadcom VMware’s recent announcements have resulted in several significant changes that are causing disruption and concern throughout the VMware customer and partner ecosystem. A lot is being covered in the media and press about this. Here is a quick recap of the most important and disruptive changes:

  1. Terminating VMware’s existing partner program and transitioning partners to Broadcom’s invite-only Advantage Partner Program, leaving many smaller partners in the dark.
  2. Removing generous academic discounts, bundling products into more expensive packages, and shifting to per-core licensing, resulting in massive cost increases of up to 1,200% for education and charity sectors.
  3. Forcing VMware Cloud Service Provider (VCSP) customers, particularly smaller MSPs, to accept new terms with minimum 3,500 core commitments, leading to potential 10x or higher cost spikes that are untenable for many.
  4. Transitioning VMware’s entire portfolio to subscription-only licensing by ending the sale of perpetual licenses.
  5. Over 2,800 VMware employees have been laid off or made redundant by Broadcom post-acquisition, including the entire VMware office being shut down in Malaysia.
  6. Some of the companies Platform9 is speaking with have reported that their VMware pricing has increased by 2x, 3x, or even 10x over their existing contracts.

These sweeping changes have drawn criticism from partners and customers alike, who accuse Broadcom of prioritizing profitability over innovation and accessibility for smaller businesses and organizations.

Many respected analysts and industry experts predicted what would happen prior to the acquisition, and much of that has come true as a result of Broadcom’s recent moves. David Vallante, CEO of WikiBon Research, published a deep dive article titled “Breaking Analysis: Broadcom Aims to Tame the VMware Beast.” After conducting a thorough strategic and financial analysis, he concluded that practitioners will receive the short end of the stick and must “get out ahead of this”.

 52% of VMware customers with flat spending are ripe for the Broadcom picking. That’s the “fat middle” and those customers are locked and loaded for future rent extraction via perpetual renewals and price increases.

All of this is becoming a reality. As companies’ IT budgets tighten, the increased costs of VMware licenses and support contracts become unsustainable. 

Given all of these challenges, IT leaders are actively investigating alternative virtualization solutions that offer comparable, if not superior, capabilities at a more cost-effective and sustainable price point, all while preparing for the future of cloud computing. 

Common alternatives to VMware: A quick comparison of Proxmox, Nutanix, and Hyper-V

When considering alternatives to VMware, companies generally look at popular solutions like Proxmox, Nutanix, and Hyper-V. Each of these platforms has its own strengths and weaknesses. 

Alternative

Pros

Cons

ProxmoxOpen-source, cost-effectiveLimited clustering capabilities
Flexible, supports multiple virtualization technologiesUpgradeability can be complex and require manual intervention
Community-driven supportScalability issues for very large environments
Limited enterprise support options
Nutanix AHVStrong clustering and high availabilityHigher cost
Comprehensive management featuresComplexity in scaling beyond initial deployments
Integrated storage and networking solutionsPotential vendor lock-in with Nutanix hardware, particularly storage.
Microsoft Hyper-VSeamless integration with Windows ServerComplex clustering and HA setup
Comprehensive enterprise supportLess flexible compared to open-source alternatives
Robust feature set for Windows-centric environmentsAdditional licensing costs

If you would like to dig deep and understand in detail how  Proxmox, Nutanix, Hyper-V, OpenStack, and KubeVirt compare across 42 virtualization management capabilities, please check out our white paper: Buyer’s guide to VMware alternatives.

Reasons why OpenStack faced challenges in initial enterprise adoption

OpenStack initially faced challenges in widespread enterprise adoption due to a few key factors, but the landscape has shifted, making it an attractive option for enterprises today.

  1. Complexity: OpenStack was perceived as complex to deploy and manage, requiring specialized skills across multiple domains like networking, storage, and virtualization. This created barriers for enterprises without extensive open-source expertise.
  2. Scalability Concerns: Early on, there were doubts about OpenStack’s ability to scale to meet the demands of large enterprises, particularly in terms of performance, availability, and manageability at scale.
  3. Lack of enterprise-grade support: The open-source nature of OpenStack initially lacked robust commercial support and services tailored for enterprise needs, deterring risk-averse organizations.

OpenStack is now a mature, enterprise-ready, and smarter choice over VMware

After 14 years of trial by fire, OpenStack has matured significantly, with improved scalability, performance, and stability. It has demonstrated its ability to manage large-scale deployments and mission-critical workloads across a variety of industries.

Here are some examples and references highlighting the diverse customer base running OpenStack: 

Large enterprises and service providers

  • AT&T runs its mobile core network on an OpenStack cloud, serving millions of subscribers.
  • Walmart has nearly a million cores running OpenStack.
  • China Mobile, one of the world’s largest telecom providers, is building the biggest NFV network based on OpenStack with over 50,000 servers. 

Leading technology companies

  • Blizzard Entertainment, the video game developer behind hits like Overwatch, uses OpenStack autoscaling to run their games in the cloud.
  • PayPal runs their core payments platform on OpenStack, processing over 1 billion transactions per day.

Public cloud providers

Major public cloud providers like Rackspace, VEXXHOST, and DreamHost offer OpenStack-based cloud services to their customers. 

The broad adoption by industry leaders, large-scale deployments handling massive workloads, and continued growth in production use cases demonstrate OpenStack’s maturity as an enterprise-grade, reliable, and scalable open-source cloud computing platform.

OpenStack is more alive than ever with 40 million cores in production and over 300 public cloud data centers worldwide. Read the user survey report.

Why Platform9 Managed OpenStack?

For businesses that are new to OpenStack, managing an open-source environment can be difficult. Without specialized knowledge, the complexity of setup, ongoing maintenance, and ensuring peak performance can be overwhelming. This is where Platform9 comes in. 

Platform9 has revolutionized the OpenStack experience, making it more manageable and streamlined. With a user-friendly, Windows-style point-and-click interface, Platform9 integrates built-in storage, networking, and backup capabilities. Additionally, it offers cost savings of up to 50% compared to VMware.

Advantages of Platform9 over open-source OpenStack

  • Simplified deployment and management: Platform9 offers a fully managed service, taking care of the initial setup, configuration, and ongoing management of your OpenStack environment. This eliminates complexities and reduces deployment time.
  • Zero-touch upgrades: Platform9 handles the backup, rollout, validation, and finalization of your OpenStack upgrades, ensuring your environment is always up-to-date with minimal disruption.
  • 24/7 support and monitoring: With proactive monitoring and troubleshooting, Platform9 guarantees 99.95% uptime, ensuring high availability and reliability.
  • Unified management: Manage mixed hypervisors, operating systems, and multi-tenancy across diverse data centers from a single interface, providing unified control and global visibility.
  • Enterprise security and compliance: Platform9 offers built-in RBAC support, SSO integration, and multi-tenancy, ensuring robust security and compliance for enterprise environments.

By choosing Platform9 Managed OpenStack, enterprises can leverage the full benefits of OpenStack without the associated complexities, making it easier to transition from VMware and future-proof their IT infrastructure.

Learn more about Platform9 Managed OpenStack.

Key virtualization capabilities: Platform9 OpenStack vs VMware

Platform9 OpenStack matches or exceeds VMware for many of the core virtualization capabilities, making it a robust alternative for enterprises looking to transition from VMware. The following table highlights the top seven capabilities, where both Platform9 OpenStack and VMware scored a perfect 4/4 in our detailed analysis (see buyers guide), demonstrating their parity in critical areas.

Capability

VMware ESXi

Platform9 OpenStack

High Availability (HA)Automatic failover and VM restartOut-of-the-box HA with pf9-hamgr and masakari
Live MigrationSeamless VM live migration with vMotionLive migration via UI, API, and CLI
ClusteringAdvanced clustering with vSphere Cluster ServicesClustering through Nova Compute and Scheduler with SaaS management
Dynamic Resource ManagementResource optimization with DRS and vMotionDynamic management through Nova Compute and Scheduler
Backup and RestoreIntegrated backup and restore with vSphere Data ProtectionSupports backup and restore via open-source tools and third-party solutions
Virtual NetworkingAdvanced networking with NSX and vSwitchNetworking through Neutron with various plugins and SDN solutions
Management UIComprehensive web-based interface (vCenter)Platform9 Clarity UI with intuitive user experience

By offering robust features and management capabilities, Platform9 OpenStack proves to be a powerful, cost-effective, and future-proof alternative to VMware. 

For a more detailed comparison, including proxmox, Nutanix, and Hyper-V, across 42 capabilities, download our comprehensive guide on VMware alternatives.

Further reading and resources

  1. Data services provider taps Platform9 OpenStack for easy and cost-effective private cloud management.
  2. Watch webinar “Save 50% over VMware”.
  3. Exploring Platform9 Managed OpenStack as a modern virtualization alternative.
  4. The resurgence of OpenStack: Addressing the cloud conundrum.
  5. Watch how to deploy and use Platform9 OpenStack.
Kamesh Pemmaraju

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