Some members of the technology community see VMware as a key competitor and rival to the open-source OpenStack cloud platform. The truth of the matter is somewhat different, as VMware is a major contributor to OpenStack and has taken multiple steps forward to help advance the upcoming Havana release.
Dan Wendlandt, director of product management for OpenStack at VMware, is a well-known figure in the OpenStack world. Wendlandt helped create the OpenStack Networking project, once known as Quantum, now renamed Neutron.
VMware is committed to OpenStack and remains the lead contributor to the OpenStack Networking project, Wendlandt told eWEEK. OpenStack is a multi-stakeholder open-source cloud platform that has the support of the biggest names in technology today, including IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Intel and Cisco, among others.
VMware's involvement in OpenStack isn't limited to just networking now, either. While Wendlandt is best-known for his work on networking, he now heads up overall product development and strategy for VMware's OpenStack efforts.
Wendlandt explained that his group works very closely with VMware's vCenter team and has for some time. VMware vCenter is a server virtualization and cloud management platform. For the OpenStack Grizzly release that debuted in April, VMware contributed support that enables the OpenStack Nova Compute module to talk directly to VMware vCenter.
"That means you can utilize OpenStack but still get all the benefits from the things you care about for Tier 1 workloads, things like high availability and disaster recovery," Wendlandt said. "We have a dedicated team that is focused on integrated OpenStack, making sure that the best way to run OpenStack is on top of VMware technologies."
The OpenStack project is gearing for the official release of its next major milestone, known as Havana, on Thursday, Oct. 17, and VMware has been an active participant in its development.
"There are a lot of different things in the VMware portfolio that can plug in and provide differentiated value for OpenStack," Wendlandt said. "In Havana, we made a large contribution to the Cinder project to add a new driver that can talk to VMware data stores."
The Cinder project is a block storage service that first debuted in the OpenStack Folsom release in 2012. Wendlandt explained that the VMware Cinder contribution means that any storage system that an enterprise might have that is already integrated with vCenter can now also be used with OpenStack.
"VMware's new VSAN technology can also be leveraged within OpenStack as well," Wendlandt said.
The Virtual SAN (Virtual Storage Area Network) is a technology that VMware announced during its VMworld 2013 customer event.
"OpenStack is a framework for best-of-breed components, and VMware has already built all the components that you need for a cloud," Wendlandt said. "Our job is to make sure that VMware technologies are really well-integrated into OpenStack."
OpenStack is used by enterprises and service providers in a wide variety of ways, including do-it-yourself clouds and packaged distributions from vendors. VMware isn't looking to build its own OpenStack distribution, and Wendlandt said that the goal for him is to make sure that VMware technologies can be used by any type of OpenStack deployment.
Wendlandt expects that as companies announce OpenStack Havana distributions, an increasing number will include official support for running on VMware technologies, including vSphere server virtualization and NSX network virtualization.
For VMware, working with OpenStack is all about offering choices to customers.
"Not all customers are the same, and the all VMware fully integrated stack is right for some customers, but not all," Wendlandt said. "There is a set of customers that want more flexibility and the ability to have their own development teams and for those customers, OpenStack is a great platform."
Wendlandt said that with each OpenStack release, VMware has become more involved. He noted that VMware first got involved with the networking project and now is active in the Cinder storage project.
"You'll see us expanding into additional projects where we think we have a lot of expertise and can provide additional value," Wendlandt said. "You'll also see us get more involved in helping OpenStack move more toward becoming a true standard."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.