Cloud computing continues to transform the way organizations are doing business, proving to be a transformative innovation for many enterprises. Cloud is recognized as facilitating “speed-to-market” – and for its ability to drive business agility. This is because the cloud supports rapid experimentation and innovation by allowing companies to quickly try and even adopt new solutions without significant up-front costs. The Cloud can be a highly agile wrapper around different systems, different behaviour and bringing it all together in an engagement cycle. By changing the way people interact with technology, the cloud enables new forms of consumer engagement, expand collaboration across the value chain and bring innovation to companies’ core business models.

With all this in mind, interest and investment in Cloud (both public and private cloud computing) have grown rapidly due to their ability to reduce costs and speed application deployment. Today, every organization is using a cloud provider and its cloud resources. Managing cloud resources is not an easy task and that is why cloud management platforms are used. When we talk about cloud management platforms (CMP), the comparison of CloudStack and OpenStack is obvious. OpenStack and CloudStack are the two most popular cloud management platforms which many organizations use.


CloudStack is an open-source cloud management platform for delivering Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) in cloud computing environments. CloudStack is being developed to help managed service providers and enterprise IT departments create and operate public cloud, private cloud or hybrid clouds. CloudStack provides an open and flexible cloud orchestration platform to deliver reliable and scalable private and public clouds.

Apache CloudStack is a Java-based project that provides a management server and agents (if needed) for hypervisor hosts so that you can run an IaaS cloud. Some, but not all, of the features and functionality provided by CloudStack.

  • Works with hosts running XenServer/XCP, KVM, Hyper-V, and/or VMware ESXi with vSphere
  • Provides a friendly Web-based UI for managing the cloud  Provides a native API
  • May provide an Amazon S3/EC2 compatible API (optional)
  • Manages storage for instances running on the hypervisors (primary storage) as well as templates, snapshots, and ISO images (secondary storage)
  • Orchestrates network services from the data link layer (L2) to some application layer (L7) services, such as DHCP, NAT, firewall, VPN, and so on
  • Accounting of network, compute, and storage resources
  • Multi-tenancy/account separation
  • User management


OpenStack is a set of software tools for building and managing cloud computing platforms for public and private clouds. OpenStack lets users deploy virtual machines and other instances which handle different tasks for managing a cloud environment on the fly. It makes horizontal scaling easy, which means that tasks that benefit from running concurrently can easily serve more or fewer users on the fly by just spinning up more instances.

The goals of the OpenStack initiative are to support interoperability between cloud services and allow businesses to build Amazon-like cloud services in their own data centres. OpenStack, which is freely available under the Apache 2.0 license, is often referred to in the media as "the Linux of the Cloud" and is compared to the Apache CloudStack project, the other open-source cloud initiative.

OpenStack has a modular architecture that currently has eleven components:

  • Nova - provides virtual machines (VMs) upon demand.
  • Swift - provides a scalable storage system that supports object storage.
  • Cinder - provides persistent block storage to guest VMs.
  • Glance - provides a catalogue and repository for virtual disk images.
  • Keystone - provides authentication and authorization for all the OpenStack services.
  • Horizon - provides a modular web-based user interface (UI) for OpenStack services.
  • Neutron - provides network connectivity-as-a-service between interface devices managed by OpenStack services.
  • Ceilometer - provides a single point of contact for billing systems.
  • Heat - provides orchestration services for multiple composite cloud applications.
  • Trove - provides database-as-a-service provisioning for relational and non-relational database engines.
  • Sahara - provides data processing services for OpenStack-managed resources.

Where does the difference lie?

  • AWS: The Apache CloudStack offering has strong ties to Amazon public clouds in that it offers an API translator so that applications written for CloudStack can also run in AWS.
  • Components selected for deployment: OpenStack and CloudStack also differ in how components are selected for deployment. An OpenStack deployment uses OpenStack components to support each required cloud function. The deployment will include many components including Swift and Cinder for object and block storage. By contrast, CloudStack has a pluggable model. It includes a management component, a compute component that allocates virtual machines to individual servers and an image repository. It includes network support for software-defined networking (SDN), flat networking with elastic IP, load balancing as a service (LBaas), firewall, virtual private clouds and complex VLANs.
  • Hypervisors: Both OpenStack and CloudStack support a selection of hypervisors. OpenStack supports KVM, LXC, VMware ESX/ESXi, Xen, PowerVM and Hyper-V. CloudStack supports KVM, vSphere and Citrix XenServer.
  • Forum Support/ Community: OpenStack has an extensive and active community of developers. The community is actively working on releasing new features to OpenStack. CloudStack has a much smaller community when compared to OpenStack. The number of contributors is much lesser here and so you need to wait for the new features before they are production-ready.
  • Ease of use: While OpenStack has improved and become easier to deploy over the years compared to the past, whereas CloudStack has been relatively simple for the past two years. Its initial deployment has not changed much as compared to OpenStack. Cloudstack is easier for day-to-day use.


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 Both products continue to evolve. CloudStack offers a range of options for storage and networking. CloudStack had superior Layer 3 network support until the most recent OpenStack release. Formerly, CloudStack also boasted greater compatibility with Amazon EC3, but OpenStack has now improved in this area as well, and the race is still on.

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