VMware Unveils OpenStack Distribution, Pitches It As Smooth Path For Enterprises

It's been nearly two years since VMware joined the OpenStack Foundation, and now the Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor has its very own OpenStack distribution.

Unveiled Monday at the VMworld customer conference in San Francisco, VMware's OpenStack distribution features integration with its own NSX software-defined networking and VSAN storage virtualization software, as well as vSphere server virtualization and vCenter management.

The goal is to let VMware customers add OpenStack to their environments on top of the virtualized infrastructure they already have, while also making those APIs available to their developers, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger said Monday in a press conference.

"We see this as an easy, cost-effective way to move to OpenStack," Gelsinger said.

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VMware has launched a beta for its OpenStack distribution and expects to start selling it in the first half of next year.

VMware will support all the major OpenStack APIs, Gelsinger said. While many early OpenStack projects were based on the KVM hypervisor, VMware offers better speed, virtual machine density and other benefits, he said.

VMware is handling all testing and support for its OpenStack distribution, which means it will vet the open source OpenStack code, too.

VMware also IS working with Canonical, Hewlett-Packard, Mirantis, Piston, Red Hat and SUSE on OpenStack interoperability partnerships.

OpenStack is generating tons of buzz right now but some organizations have found out the hard way that it's not easy to get up and running. VMware, with its OpenStack distribution, believes it can smooth out these wrinkles and give customers an easier-to-deploy product.

"There probably is a fallacy in the industry that OpenStack is free," VMware COO Carl Eschenbach said in the press conference. "In reality, you still have to fill in everything around the framework, including management and automation.

"Some companies go down this path thinking OpenStack is easy to implement. But they often come back to VMware saying, 'We want your help and we want to integrate OpenStack with what we have today,' " Eschenbach said.