When it comes to OpenStack vs VMware, a lot of misinformation is floating around the web. Read the headlines, and you might think OpenStack (the open source cloud platform) competes head-on against VMware's vSphere hypervisor. But that isn't  exactly the case. Here's the reality check, including recent thoughts from VMware Executive VP Raghu Raghuram.

The background: In recent weeks, published reports suggested PayPal (owned by eBay) would dump VMware for OpenStack. But VMware strongly disputed the report, and PayPal has also distanced itself from such assertions. What's the truth?

Here's The VAR Guy's spin:

  • OpenStack is a public and private cloud platform. It supports multiple hypervisors -- including VMware vSphere, KVM (kernel-based virtualization) and more.
  • It's safe to say hundreds of companies are currently testing OpenStack. Big proponents include Dell, HP, IBM and Rackspace. But that doesn't mean they will go live with OpenStack in all scenarios. For those that do deploy OpenStack, they will still need a hypervisor. That means choosing between VMware, KVM and more.
  • Instead of competing head-on against VMware's vSphere hypervisor, OpenStack is more logically positioned against VMware's vCloud Suite.
  • "vCloud gives you everything you need in an integrated approach," said Raghu Raghuram, executive VP of cloud infrastructure and management at VMware. "OpenStack is a piecemeal apporach. The service provider has to assembile it all together." Raghuram made that statement to The VAR Guy during the VMware Partner Exchange summit in February 2013.
  • VMware's own Hybrid Cloud initiative (which will include a VMware Public Cloud) will not run OpenStack. Some critics are concerned about that market reality, but The VAR Guy offered his two cents here.

Your Next Moves

For channel partners and cloud integrators, it's important to keep OpenStack momentum stories in perspective. Whenever a major technology shift occurs (mainframe, PCs, client-server, Internet, cloud...), you'll always see first-mover migration stories. Take a closer look and most of the migrations involve a specific application or IT department, rather than a wholescale rip-and-replace transition.

No doubt, OpenStack is generating buzz out there. And the buzz will get louder at the OpenStack Summit (April 15-18, Portalnd, Oregon). You'll also start to see more OpenStack training and certification programs for channel partners and integrators. But OpenStack's potential success doesn't spell certain doom for VMware.