Apache CloudStack Vs. OpenStack- Which one is best for your business?


You must’ve heard about Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) which is accredited as accelerating momentum or power to the market. It also provides the capability to a business to drive agility. When any business asks for certain answers to their business issues, the answer generally comes in the form of a mixed bag of calculations, containing finances and maintenance and platform activities or behaviors. The most widely used cloud management platforms are Apache CloudStack and OpenStack.

These cloud Management Platforms can deliver an effective solution for cloud infrastructure. One can say, they’re almost identical with respect to the services they supply but if viewed from an operational point of view, they’re poles apart.

Because of this, which cloud management platform is best for your business? Not sure? Don’t worry, Stack Console’s expert team is here to help you with it. In today’s article we’re going to look at these two cloud management platforms, and compare them from the point of view of technical as well as business perspectives.

What you’ll learn through today’s article?

  • History of both of these CMPs
  • Apache CloudStack
  • OpenStack
  • Their Architectures
  • Apache CloudStack Vs. OpenStack
  • Similarities
  • Installation
  • Hypervisor
  • Ease of Use
  • The Choice of CMP inside SMBs and large enterprises
  • How to choose the right Cloud Management Platform for your company?


Apache CloudStack:

Earlier Apache CloudStack was launched as a project named as VMOps in the year 2008. Then its name was changed to Cloud.com and it gave out much of its source to CloudStack in the year May 2010 under (GNU) General Public License (GPLv3). Citrix then purchased Cloud.com in July 2011 and the remaining source code of CloudStack was released as GPLv3.

Citrix then licensed the project as Apache Software License 2.0 (ASLv2) in April 2012 and presented the project to Apache Incubator, which was accepted on 16th April 2012.

Then ClouStack 4.0.4-incubating was declared on 6th November 2012, which was the first stable release after merging with ASF. CloudStack was then certified by Apache Incubator and turned out to be a Top-Level Project (TLP) of ASF.

After the release of 4.9.0, on 25th July 2016, the Apache CloudStack association declared releases of – 1. Regular, 2. Long Term Support (LTS) and 3. Security.

Let’s learn more about these releases:
  1. Regular: It introduced new features and improvements. These types of releases were targeted at users who wanted the latest features as soon as possible and were also capable of upgrading them when the release was available.
  2. Long Term Support (LTS): It addresses the sustainability and longevity of releases at the cost of new features. These releases were targeted at the users for whom stability is more important than the availability of new features and/or have bulkier upgrade windows.
  3. Security: These were small releases involving only CVE fixes. These releases were produced for all affected users and also boosted Regular and Long Term Support releases at the time of CVE identification, since these releases included only CVE fixes, all the users must upgrade to the up-to-date security release of their preferred type- either Regular or Long Term Support as early as possible.
Let’s look at Apache CloudStack at Today:

Currently, Apache CloudStack is at LTS version, which was released on 16th November 2021 and keeps under constant development. Today several enterprises like Telia, KDDI, British Telecom, Cloud.ca, University of Sao Paulo, State University of Capinas, Globo.com, Arsat, Ewerk, etc., and many more are using Apache CloudStack.


NASA and Rackspace declared an open-source cloud-software project referred to as OpenStack in July 2010.

The initial source code came from the Nebula platform of NASA and also from Rackspace’s Cloud Files platform. In compliance with Rackspace, the NASA Nebula team released OpenStack as an open-source after merging all the modules and stacks from these two platforms. The first OpenStack named OpenStack Austin was released on 21st October 2010. This release involved the Nebula platform of NASA being named as OpenStack Nova and Rackspace’s Cloud Files platform being renamed as OpenStack Swift.

Using an unsupported technology preview, developers of the Ubuntu Linux distribution adopted OpenStack in 2011. Then Ubuntu's sponsor Canonical introduced complete support for OpenStack clouds, after starting with the release of OpenStack’s Cactus.

Again in 2012, Red Hat launched a preview of their OpenStack distribution, starting with the release of “Essex”. Then after one more preview release, Red Hat announced commercial support for OpenStack with the release of “Grizzly” in July 2013.

Later on, NASA backed out from OpenStack as an active contributor, and rather made a deliberate decision to use AWS (Amazon Web Services) for its cloud-based services, in 2012. NASA released an internal audit mentioning the necessity for technical progress and other factors as the organization’s main reason for withdrawing as an active developer of the project and rather concentrating on the use of public clouds.

Let’s look at OpenStack at Today:

Today well-known users of OpenStack are China Mobile, T-Mobile, Yahoo, GAP, PayPal/eBay, Walmart, Comcast, and many more. And there’re 38 active projects currently under OpenStack Foundation in the Yoga release.

Their Architecture:

Apache CloudStack:

Apache CloudStack is a monolithic cloud management platform that encapsulates servers, network and storage. It provides a multi-tenant cloud platform in which the users and accounts are separated in a domain hierarchy which further separates cloud resources.

It comes with 3 different APIs- 1. OAM&P (Operations, Administration, Maintenance, and Provisioning) API, 2. End-user API and 3. Plugin API.

The End-user API is like REST API using which end-users and administrators can manage the CloudStack. Apache CloudStack also has client-side bindings such as Ansible, Terraform and Packer which enables the caller to rapidly create scripts for automating the processes inside the CloudStack.

Another API i.e., OAM&P is useful for CloudStack components to communicate with serverResource, which later on converts this API into hardware resource understandable language. It’s based on JSON and could be written in any language and could be executed on any platform. In order to add or modify the behaviour of CloudStack, the plugin API enables users to add code directly into the CloudStack installations. As mentioned earlier, it’s a JAVA API and a set of predefined processes is revealed using this API. So as to help the users run hybrid cloud platforms. Apache CloudStack can also be integrated with Kubernetes. As a result of Apache CloudStack’s integrated architecture, it’s deployed as a single product. This makes installations, working, maintenance and upgrades remarkably easy, decreasing downtime inside a production environ.


The OpenStack platform has a collection of separate projects, that are designed to work closely together to manage the basic cloud computing services of compute, network, storage, identity and image services. It’s quite possible to combine these services together to provide the required features to an Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud.

Basically, OpenStack is a group of commands to manage every cloud infrastructure resource. These commands support the infrastructure resources to be evaluated and furnished to the end-users.

Essentially, OpenStack is a set of commands for managing each cloud infrastructure resource. These commands allow the resources to be abstracted and made available to end-users.

Apache CloudStack Vs. OpenStack

As said earlier, both the Apache CloudStack and the OpenStack have certain similarities between them, even though they’re used differently:

  • New versions of Apache CloudStack and OpenStack are regularly released by their relative platforms, with improvements in their features.
  • Both platforms could be used either for the public cloud or for the private cloud.
  • Both platforms provide a clear-cut and user-friendly UI (User-Interface).

Both Apache CloudStack and OpenStack differ in how their components are selected for installation.

An OpenStack installation requires OpenStack components to help every cloud function. The installation process requires several components among others like Nova for compute, Glance for OSes templates, Horizon for UI, Newton for the guest network, Swift and Cinder for an object as well as block storage, and Keystone for identity.

Several users find it hard to install and troubleshoot OpenStack and require an expert to assist it. Businesses also need command-line skills so as to manage them effectively.

On the contrary, Apache CloudStack provides a pluggable model, involving a management component, a compute component that allots VMs to separate servers and an image repository, network support, load balancing, firewall, virtual private clouds, and complicated VLANs, identity service (i.e., local, LDAP, federated based SAML2 identity providers), and Kubernetes.

CloudStack test environment can be set up and run quickly. Apache CloudStack completely removes any type of vendor lock-in, because it’s a base code that is mainly used by all the CloudStack users.

Both platforms support a great variety of hypervisors:
  • Apache CloudStack supports KVM, vSphere, Hyper-V, XCP-ng, and Citrix XenServer.
  • OpenStack supports KVM, VMware ESX/ESXi, Xen ( not XenServer/XCP-ng), and Hyper-V.
Ease of use:

Apache CloudStack offers a single user interface to utilize cloud resources and control asset usage. The administration is centralized which makes it uncomplicated for daily use. To manage complex infrastructures in a single location or in a remote location, Apache CloudStack provides operational simplicity.

Whereas, OpenStack is not that easy to use like Apache CloudStack. Even though the modular architecture of OpenStack looks attractive, it’s difficult to keep it working effectively because the platform itself is complex.

The Choice of CMP Inside SMBs and Enterprises

According to the study, both Apache CloudStack and OpenStack are popular among users but there’s also an interesting trend which shows that more users tested Apache CloudStack than OpenStack. The trend is equal in SMBs as well as enterprises indicating a growing interest in CloudStack.

How to select the Right Cloud Management Platform for Your Company?

As per the study, Apache CloudStack and OpenStack are popular in CMP sector, similarly, both of them are supported by major open-source developer communities. Having said that, even though OpenStack delivers modular architecture to its users, Apache CloudStack has the best platform for IaaS cloud installations in a unique way.

According to many users, OpenStack needs a lot of customization before its installation and also needs experts to assist it in long term. On the contrary, Apache CloudStack could be installed and operated quickly and easily with the help of base-code provided by its community, it’s simple, uncomplicated, and significantly reduces time-to-market. Apache CloudStack covers all the aspects of an IaaS cloud without the need for dozens of integrations and without the need for an expert team.


When making the right decision for your company, make sure that you consider all the above-discussed facts and focus mainly on technical and business aspects and calculate which platform better suits your needs in the long term. We recommend selecting a Cloud Management Platform that will provide you with more ease of use, and flexibility and save a lot of your time, money, and efforts.