PayPal Says It Loves Its OpenStack-Based Private Cloud, But Does That Mean It's Ditching VMware?

PayPal has been using OpenStack in revamping its infrastructure to serve massive numbers of users worldwide, and so far that's working out well, one of the e-commerce vendor's executives said Tuesday.

"We have converted nearly 100 percent of our traffic serving web/API applications and mid-tier services at PayPal to run on our internal private cloud, based on OpenStack," Sri Shivananda, PayPal's vice president of global platform and infrastructure, said in a blog post.

Since PayPal is a big VMware customer and uses its server-virtualization software, Forbes suggested in a subsequent blog post that its public declaration of OpenStack love could mean it's reducing its reliance on VMware.

[Related: PayPal Says It's Not Ripping, Replacing VMware For OpenStack]

VMware sells its own version of OpenStack that's optimized to run in VMware environments, but Shivananda didn't indicate whether this is what PayPal is using in its private cloud.

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A VMware spokesperson declined to comment on the Forbes report, and PayPal wasn't immediately available for comment.

Mathew Lodge, vice president of cloud services at VMware, challenged the Forbes report on Twitter, noting that PayPal hasn't said anything about getting rid of VMware software. Lodge also said PayPal is using OpenStack for part of its infrastructure, but not all of it.

Hey the PayPal blog you cite doesn’t mention VMware at all. Where do you get the info that they are dumping VMW?

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OpenStack, a set of open source cloud software tools for delivering infrastructure-as-a-service, doesn't have its own hypervisor. It works with VMware's vSphere, as well as Xen, Hyper-V and KVM, among others.

Jeff Guenthner, director of solutions architecture at CMI, a Mill Valley, Calif.-based VMware partner, said he's not reading too much into PayPal's embrace of OpenStack, especially since VMware has its own horse in the race.

"VMware owns the data center, but KVM and OpenStack are the leaders in cloud build-outs," Guenthner told CRN. "As OpenStack becomes more mainstream -- meaning easier to use because of consolidation in the market and vendor support with their own distribution -- it will move forward faster. VMware was smart to support it."

PayPal started rolling out its OpenStack-based private cloud in 2011 and is using it in an ongoing effort to revamp its core infrastructure, Shivananda said in the blog post. PayPal is moving to a "multitenant private cloud infrastructure with end-to-end automation based on OpenStack," he said.

"With our private cloud infrastructure, we’ve been able to deploy new Java applications and provision infrastructure capacity within minutes -- instead of days," said Shivananda in the blog post.

PayPal last year served 162 million customers in 26 currencies, handling a total payment volume of $228 billion, Shivananda said in the blog post.

JP Morgenthal, director of the cloud and DevOps practices at Perficient, a St. Louis-based solution provider, said that just because PayPal is using OpenStack to scale its massive worldwide operations doesn't mean it's the right choice for every company.

"Isn't it important to mention PayPal is a high tech biz (and) this model not right for all biz?" Morgenthal tweeted.

Tuesday's kerfuffle is similar to the one that erupted in March 2013 after an executive from OpenStack integrator Mirantis said PayPal was considering replacing VMware with OpenStack on about 10,000 of its servers. At the time, PayPal said it had no intention of ditching VMware virtualization software.