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Openstack vs Openshift: 4 talking points

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Openshift and Openstack are cloud-related technologies developed by Red Hat Inc. Openstack turns servers into clouds. It can automate resource allocation, letting customers access virtual resources like VPS, block and object storage, among other things.

Openshift, on the other hand, is a containerisation technology that offers platform-as-a-service (PaaS). It’s a framework built to run on top of various cloud services like AWS, Google Compute Engine and offers developers an easy way to deploy their apps in the field and test them without messing up the actual servers. 

If you wanted to, you could run Openshift on a cloud service maintained using Openstack, but they’re independent products at their core and can be used separately. 

In this article, we’re comparing the two over the following parameters.

Also read: OpenShift vs Kubernetes: 7 key differences

Container Management

Containerisation support in Openstack is optional and is meant to be used more like a VPS. It typically uses hypervisors like Xem, VMware or KVM to run virtual machines, which can run containers. 

Openstack vs Openshift: 4 talking points | Candid.Technology

Openshift is a framework built around containers. It leverages concepts from Kubernetes and packages them to allow organisations to build and deploy applications on the cloud easily.

System Distribution

Openstack by itself is not an exclusively distributed system. Sure, you can take control of an entire data centre with Openstack, but it won’t be anywhere as global as a Kubernetes cluster. 

Once again, to turn several remote installations of Openstack into a single distributed system, you’re going to need many extra layers of software. 

Openshift, on the other hand, owing to its Kubernetes incorporation, is an inherently distributed system. This means that the entire system has one or more master nodes controlling a few worker nodes. There’s also decent networking support from Red Hat to make communication between these nodes easier. 

Also read: 5 things you might not know about Kubernetes

Iaas and PaaS

Openstack lets users offer Infrastructure-as-a-Service. You can manage servers and offer services that you’d generally hand over to cloud VPSs like AWS, Azure, DIgitalOcean and Google Compute Engine. With Openstack creating your own personal cloud becomes a lot easier. All you need to do is acquire the hardware according to your specific needs.

Openstack vs Openshift: 4 talking points | Candid.Technology

Openshift works on an entirely different concept — Platform-as-a-Service. It can containerise the application your organisation is developing, making it extremely easy to create new projects and deploy them in the field. 

Hybrid Cloud

Now users don’t have to run Openshift on top of Openstack, but they can work together seamlessly if you want. Just like you would first allocate a VPS, install Openshift on them before you start working on your apps, you can do the same with Openstack.

It also allows users to segregate apps into running between a public service or your private cloud. Openshift will ensure that certain specified parts of your app stay on the private cloud while the rest on the public service. This is achieved by explicitly specifying Openstack to run data related pods on private nodes. 

Which one should you pick?

They both are completely different technologies responsible for completely different tasks. Which one of these you end up picking depends entirely upon what you’re trying to achieve.

If you’re looking to build a persona cloud out of a server, Openstack is the way to go. Otherwise, if you’re looking for a container-based framework as an alternative to Kubernetes, you could pick Openshift.

Also read: What is Elara app? What it does and should you remove the app?

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: