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From Vizuri's Experts

OpenShift vs OpenStack: Key Features and Differences

When considering an open-source cloud platform, it is helpful to understand the capabilities of your options. While both OpenShift and OpenStack are powerful tools, they focus on different features. For example, OpenShift capabilities are based on features while OpenStack’s are based on named components. Below is a list of the key features of each platform. 



  • Web console—simplifies app development and deployment by enabling access through any web browser. You can use the console to manage applications and resources. 
  • Command-line tools—CLI tools are available with support for Windows, Linux, and macOS environments. 
  • IDE support—integrates with a wide variety of integrated development environments (IDEs), including Eclipse, Visual Studio, and JBoss Developer Studio.
  • Application templates—includes pre-built templates for application development. Templates are available for most common languages, including PHP, Python, and Java.
  • Continuous integration (CI)—comes with Jenkins, an open-source automation server, included. This enables the creation and management of CI pipelines.
  • Nova—a component that enables you to provision resources through VMs or bare metal servers. It also provides limited support for containers. 
  • Neutron—enables you to implement a networking API. This API provides connectivity between devices and components. 
  • Cinder—a block storage service that you can mount on your resources. The service is recoverable, fault-tolerant, and highly available. 
  • Horizon—a dashboard available through a web-based interface. You can use this dashboard to manage and provision OpenStack components. 
  • Keystone—a security component that enables you to authenticate and authorize users through API. It includes support for multi-tenant resources and service discovery. 


4 Key Differences Between OpenStack and OpenShift

Although OpenShift and OpenStack offer many of the same capabilities, there are some differences you should consider before choosing a platform. 

1. Use of Containers

OpenStack offers minimal support for containers and instead focuses on VMs based on KVM, Xen, and VMWare hypervisors. You can optionally use containers in these VMs. 

In contrast, OpenShift is primarily based on containers and container operations. To use OpenShift, you need to be familiar with both Docker and Kubernetes. 

2. Distributed Environment

OpenStack is based on a single point platform with control over distributed data centers. It does not rely on global clusters of resources. The platform provides support for distributed storage through Ceph and Glusterfs, third-party storage components, but does not rely on these components.

OpenShift heavily relies on distributed resources and global clusters managed through Kubernetes. It uses master nodes to manage distributed worker nodes with a network layer enabling communication between resources. 

3. Cloud Platform Service

OpenStack is compatible with cloud providers, including Azure, AWS, Google Cloud, and Digital Ocean. You use OpenStack on top of existing resources, either on-premises or in the cloud, to create a unified cloud. 

In contrast, OpenShift is a platform as a service (PaaS) that operates independently of cloud resources through containerization. This enables you to create cloud-native services and applications that you can then host in any cloud resource to provide distributed availability. 

4. Hybrid Cloud-Based Platforms

Although the two platforms operate differently, you can use both to manage hybrid IT infrastructure. For example, you can use OpenShift to abstract applications from other services. You can also use it to segregate sensitive data into private cloud nodes with OpenShift managing attached public data and applications.  

Deployment Considerations

Whether you’re using OpenStack, OpenShift, or a combination of the two, you should keep the following deployment considerations in mind. 

Automated Deployment

Automated deployment systems can help you ensure standardized configurations by managing your OS' installation on your resources. You can define configurations for MAC to IP assignment, power configurations, and physical racking. 

Typically, these systems are used in combination with wrappers for Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) servers and preboot execution environments (PXEs). To implement these systems, you can use an image-based approach or you can use built-in mechanisms, such as those available in Ubuntu or RedHat Enterprise Linux distributions.

Automated Configuration

Automated configuration solutions enable you to define and manage system configurations via templates and policies. You can use these solutions to ensure that your components maintain your desired states and to perform change propagation. Using automated configuration tools, you can also test and roll back system or resource changes. 

There are many different tools available for configuration management, including Ansible, Juju, and Salt. If you are using OpenStack, you can also consider using Puppet or Chef, which include official modules supporting the platform. 


Accounting for storage resources during your deployment requires understanding what type of data and services you have and their requirements. While some workloads may only require the temporary storage provided by VMs or containers, many require persistent storage. For example, you need persistent storage for monitoring, automation resources, and databases. 

Depending on your resources, you need to decide where your storage will reside, what type of storage you plan to use, and how it should connect to your services. Common options include hybrid servers, storage area networks (SANs), network attached storage (NAS), and cloud services like Azure Files or Amazon EBS.


Security is critical for open source cloud management. Proprietary clouds may be able to rely on vendor security practices and tools for some of their needs. With OpenStack and OpenShift, you may be entirely on your own for security. This means you need to understand and account for both infrastructure and data security. 

Some aspects to consider include, how you are managing secrets, securing incoming and outgoing traffic, and planning to validate containers or VM images. Using benchmarks, such as those created by the Center for Internet Security (CIS), are a good place to start for ensuring your systems are protected.

Vizuri’s Application of OpenShift

Working closely with Red Hat, Vizuri can help your business adopt emerging technologies, automate repetitive tasks, and manage applications with the help of the OpenShift Container Platform. Vizuri offers several services around OpenShift. Vizuri works to ensure that you are ready to implement the platform, that it is successfully integrated with your systems, and that it is fully utilized by your enterprise. Vizuri has successfully implemented the OpenShift Container Platform with companies from diverse markets including retail, financial, and education.

Interested in learning more about OpenShift for your enterprise? Get in touch with us and we are happy to help. You can also learn more about how one enterprise used the power of OpenShift to cut app development time, more easily integrate third-party partners, and reduce operational costs.

Ellen Wyly

Ellen Wyly is Vizuri's Senior Director of Business Development. She brings more than 20 years of experience in software consulting services and software product sales. Ellen uses a team approach to provide the best solution for each client, taking their goals and objectives into consideration. She values the importance of maintaining relationships with clients from their inception to ensure their satisfaction and growth.