VMware Integrated OpenStack 5 Aims to Accelerate Carrier Clouds

A new release of VMware's OpenStack cloud distribution includes a carrier-focused edition that aims to help 5G edge computing deployments.


VMware announced its VMware Integrated OpenStack 5 on May 21, providing an updated cloud platform for both data center and carrier deployments.

The updated carrier edition provides what VMware is calling OpenStack "in a box" for 5G and edge computing, enabling small-footprint cloud deployments at the edge of a wireless network. In addition, the new release benefits from accelerated data plane performance that helps to improve network performance and reduce latency. VMware Integrated OpenStack 5 is also compliant with the OpenStack Foundation’s 2018.02 interoperability guidelines, enabling interoperability across different OpenStack clouds.

"VMware Integrated OpenStack has historically been one of the first if not the first vendor to pass community interop," Gabriele Di Piazza, vice president of products and solutions with the Telco NFV Business Unit at VMware, told eWEEK. "We don't change the OpenStack APIs, so other than actually merging the code into our distribution, there's little more we need to do."

VMware Integrated OpenStack 5 is based on the OpenStack Queens release that became generally available on Feb. 28. VMware has been shipping its VMware Integrated OpenStack offering since 2015, with the OpenStack Icehouse release. Having interoperability is a key requirement for its OpenStack platform, Di Piazza said.

"We have seen both customers with more than one OpenStack deployment wanting to deploy across them, as well as workloads being migrated off other vendors to VMware Integrated OpenStack," he said. "We keep our OpenStack distribution fresh and have a team dedicated to pick up OpenStack releases, upstream code and certify."

Initially, VMware only had one edition of OpenStack. The company introduced the Data Center Edition and Carrier Editions of VMware Integrated OpenStack with the 4.0 release in September 2017, Di Piazza said. 

"That was the first time we incorporated telco and NFV [network functions virtualization]-specific features in VMware Integrated OpenStack," he said.  

Integrated OpenStack isn't the only carrier-focused cloud product in the VMware portfolio. VMware offers another multitenant, service provider-oriented cloud management product called vCloud Director (vCD), which offers infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) APIs and is active in production with cloud service providers and telco carriers, according to Di Piazza. 

"VMware Integrated OpenStack Carrier Edition has the unique characteristics of being fully compliant with OpenStack API," he said.

By being OpenStack compliant, he noted that the carrier edition fits into the broader telecom ecosystem, which has embraced OpenStack and other telco open-source orchestrator communities such as ONAP (Open Network Automation Platform).

OpenStack Congress

Back in 2014, VMware helped to start the OpenStack Congress project as effort to define cloud policies. Four years later, OpenStack Congress hasn't quite been the success that VMware executives had originally hoped for.

"Congress is currently not seeing much adoption, nor development, in the community, but we are keeping track of it for potential inclusion in a future release, though we don’t have any current plans to do so," Di Piazza said. "Customers using VMware Integrated OpenStack who want governance commonly integrate with vRealize Automation instead, which has a much more mature and complete governance framework that can be expanded beyond just OpenStack."


An increasingly popular option of application container workload delivery is the Kubernetes container orchestration system, which also integrates with OpenStack. Di Piazza said VMware Integrated OpenStack offers out-of-the-box support for Kubernetes for customers who want to leverage OpenStack as their IaaS platform.

As a company, VMware also supports the Pivotal Container Service (PKS), which was announced in August 2017, providing an enterprise-grade Kubernetes container orchestration capability that can be deployed on VMware vSphere and Google Container Engine (GKE). Support for PKS with VMware Integrated OpenStack is still a work in progress, however.

"We are working on integration with Pivotal Container Service to provide a more comprehensive container and cloud-native life cycle management," Di Piazza said. "We are working on a robust roadmap with enhanced interoperability with VMware products and aligned to our multicloud strategy."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.