VMware had some pretty cool announcements surrounding OpenStack recently at VMworld. They pertained to VMware Integrated OpenStack or VIO.

What is VMware Integrated OpenStack

It is well-known that OpenStack is a fantastic framework that provides developers with cloud-styled APIs. Coupled with tools, this can run on top of any virtual infrastructure. It takes a strong, well versed and dynamic team to run an OpenStack cloud. From a hardware perspective OpenStack provides APIs for Compute, Network, Storage and Image management coupled with CLI tools, a Web Portal and SDKs.

VMware Integrated OpenStack seeks to leverage an open and vendor-neutral ecosystem familiar to developers on top of the industry standard virtualization platform that VMware provide many customers world-wide. VMware are one of the largest contributors to OpenStack and this expertise allows an easy path for customers to design, deploy and operationalise OpenStack on VMware

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Nova traditionally provided the compute APIs to deploy virtual workloads within OpenStack. With VIO, Nova gets access to a whole raft of new features provided via ESX. DRS, HA and vMotion are all preserved and presented to OpenStack for use. DRS and SDRS provide the ability to avoid noisy neighbors whilst DRS and vMotion move workloads when host issues arise. HA allows protection of valuable workloads and can restart a guest in the event of host failure.

Neutron networking

Neutron plugin within OpenStack drives the networking components of your cloud. VMware NSX is what is being driven under the covers. It has a highly available and scale-out based control plane and has integrations with many ToR switches to manage physical workloads.

It works with ESX, KVM and XenServer. The flavor in use here is NSX-MH.

Cinder and vSphere

Whilst I am no storage rock star I know enough that Cinder provides block volumes that can reside on vSphere data stores or VSAN. The single driver can work with any vSphere validated storage such as FC, NFS or iSCSI.

It can support policy based storage management and VSAN within OpenStack and VSAN can be leveraged for the consumption of SSD and HDD providing granular IOP control.

Cloud management

With a VMware back-end there is the ability to use existing virtual infrastructure management tools to monitor and provide operational support. vCOPs OpenStack Management Pack provides monitoring and alerting of OpenStack servers. There are tenant specific views available too that give insight into usage and overall health of an OpenStack inventory.

LogInsight OpenStack Content Pack gives dashboards and centralized log analytics for OpenStack. There is support for querying and troubleshooting from this central point. There are a variety of custom out of box dashboards that include error rates, API response times and more.

This helps lower the bar of entry into OpenStack management. The familiarity will be welcomed by VMware administrators.

More Information

There were a surprising number of sessions at VMworld US 2014 on OpenStack and integrating it into an existing VMware powered environment.

  • SDDC1580S Spotlight Session on VMware + Openstack
  • SDDC2370 Why OpenStack runs best with vCloud Suite?
  • SDDC2198 VMware OpenStack End to End Demo
  • NET1592 Under the Hood: Networking Virtualization with OpenStack & NSX

There is also a hands on lab which will give you a demonstration and an OpenStack environment to play with. It is Hands on Lab 1420 – OpenStack on vSphere + NSX.

A demo

There is a demo provided here on Youtube that highlights OpenStack running on VMware.


OpenStack always intimidated me a little. There are a lot of moving parts that felt like they needed a lot of knowledge before trying anything. Let alone the compilation and build of an OpenStack cloud. DevStack was nice to get familiar but the jump was large. This offering from VMware is a good way to get a support OpenStack cloud most likely using existing licensing.

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