Apache CloudStack as a VMware Alternative

Apache CloudStack as an Open-source VMware Alternative: A Deep Dive into CloudStack Features Anticipating VMware Migration

The Apache CloudStack Project is observing a significant interest from Cloud Service Providers, who are looking for an open-source VMware alternative after the VMware Broadcom acquisition and the announcement of significant changes in the VMware Partner Connect Program, licensing models, and VMware pricing. This shift is largely attributed to the desire to migrate away from VMware from CSPs and MSPs in an attempt to ensure long-term reliability, reliable support and control over licensing costs and models. Apache CloudStack has supported deep integration with VMware for a long time, has many features that enable existing VMware users and gives an easy way for service providers to migrate to a fully open-source solution and eliminate vendor dependency once and for all. Key features have been recently introduced and refined, to provide a seamless and efficient migration path for those looking for a VMware alternative and to transition from VMware to a robust open-source solution.

In the current climate of disruption in the service provider market, largely influenced by VMware’s acquisition by Broadcom, cloud service providers have huge concerns about the changes to VMware’s licensing and partner model. Not only are they not able to purchase a license or support renewal, but it seems that Broadcom intends to work only with large-scale service providers by implementing a 6-digit yearly minimum fee. This situation poses a significant threat to the viability of many business models, potentially leading to the closure of numerous service providers and adversely impacting the global ecosystem. Key factors contributing to this disruption include:

End of the ‘VMware Partner Connect’ Program: The termination of this program signals a shift in VMware’s partnership strategy, which could limit the support and resources available to service providers.

End of Availability (EOA) of Key VMware Products, Including VCD (vCloud Director): This discontinuation could disrupt existing service offerings and compel providers to seek alternative solutions.

Rumours of Exclusion for Smaller Providers: There are speculations that service providers with annual revenues lower than USD 500,000 may not be invited to participate in VMware’s new program, potentially marginalizing smaller players in the market.

Open-Source VMware Alternative

At its core, Apache CloudStack is designed to orchestrate and manage complex multi-tenant cloud environments.  CloudStack, in essence, offers a comprehensive suite of infrastructure resources, including compute, storage, and networking capabilities, well-suited for both public and private cloud environments. This makes it an optimal solution for service providers and a wide range of industry-specific use cases. The combination of ease of use and robust functionality makes it a preferred choice for Service Providers seeking to leverage cloud technologies to benefit their customers.

Apache CloudStack is notable for its broad compatibility with various hypervisors, including KVM, Citrix Hypervisor, and XCP-ng, and it offers comprehensive support for VMware vSphere through the vCenter API. By acting as an abstraction layer over vSphere, CloudStack can help reduce licensing costs while allowing you to maintain the familiar vSphere infrastructure. This setup simplifies cloud management, enhancing infrastructure flexibility and scalability. Thanks to its open-source nature, CloudStack eliminates the need for subscription fees, positioning it as a cost-effective and powerful solution for cloud management.

In this article, we delve into the existing Apache CloudStack features that are shaping the future of VMware migrations, providing insights into how these advances are simplifying the migration process and establishing new benchmarks.

We recommend also reviewing the VMware Alternatives comparison Matrix – A side-by-side comparison with CloudStack as an open-source VMware alternative.

Migrate from VMware Cloud Director to CloudStack

Apache CloudStack is a valuable tool for users who are already managing their infrastructure with VMware, particularly those using vSphere vCenter to handle vSphere ESXi hypervisors. This setup is common among many CloudStack users. CloudStack’s ability to integrate with the vSphere vCenter API is a significant advantage. It allows CloudStack to manage the vSphere infrastructure, including key components like vSAN, NSX, and virtual machine Instances.

Integrating your existing VMware environment with CloudStack provides a seamless and efficient management experience and gives users the same multi-tenant self-service features that VMware Cloud Director provides/  Once configured in CloudStack, which can be performed via the user interface or API, you gain control over previously unmanaged Instances without downtime, ensuring that your VMware Instances are included in CloudStack without interrupting ongoing operations, which is an advantage compared to other solutions. This means your business can continue to operate normally with minimal friction for your applications and users.

This feature is useful for organizations to migrate workloads from the extinct VMware Cloud Director maintaining the previous multi-tenancy capability. CloudStack also supports a range of integrations like Terraform Infrastructure as a Code, Ansible, Accounts Limits, Application Lifecycle Operations, DRS, S3 Object Storage, Container Services, DRaaS and others.

Download the Apache CloudStack PoC Guide

This POC guide gives you all the guidance you need to perform a successful Proof of Concept of Apache CloudStack.

Following this guide should allow you to feel confident enough in setting up and managing a CloudStack IaaS environment.

Converting VMware Virtual machines to KVM Hypervisor

Apache CloudStack introduces a significant feature for organizations looking to reduce or eliminate their reliance on VMware products: the ability to convert VMware vSphere infrastructure into other hypervisors such as KVM. This capability is a key part of CloudStack’s multi-hypervisor management strategy, offering a straightforward and efficient path for migrating VMware instances to KVM.

The VMware to KVM migration feature in CloudStack is designed to ensure the preservation of critical aspects such as disk volumes, attributes like names and compute offerings, and network configurations, while also allowing for necessary modifications. This process is supported by both the API and the user interface (UI), facilitating a smooth transition with minimal disruption and operational overhead.

By enabling seamless migration from VMware to KVM, CloudStack’s VMware to KVM migration capability empowers organizations to embrace open-source virtualization technologies. This transition is made without sacrificing efficiency, and data integrity, or incurring high licensing costs, marking a significant step forward in flexible and cost-effective virtualisation solutions.

VMware NSX Integration

Integrating VMware NSX with Apache CloudStack brings network virtualization capabilities directly into CloudStack’s management scope. VMware NSX offers features like micro-segmentation, logical switching, and dynamic routing, which CloudStack can now utilize. This integration allows for the creation and management of complex network topologies in CloudStack, enhancing control over virtual network resources.

A crucial aspect of this integration is the ability to manage NSX functionalities directly through CloudStack when used with vSphere. CloudStack administrators can now deploy NSX-based network services, including load balancers, VPNs, and firewalls, specifically tailored for vSphere Instances. Additionally, NSX’s security features are integrated, allowing for the creation of security groups and policies that directly protect vSphere workloads. This integration ensures enhanced security and isolation for network traffic in the vSphere environment, leading to improved monitoring and control.

Integrating NSX with CloudStack in a vSphere environment streamlines network configuration and management. It facilitates automated synchronisation between CloudStack’s network configurations and NSX’s virtual network constructs within vSphere. This automation minimizes manual tasks and reduces the likelihood of configuration errors, leading to more reliable network operations. Moreover, the scalability offered by NSX in network virtualization is fully harnessed within the vSphere infrastructure managed by CloudStack. This feature is particularly beneficial for environments with dynamic workloads, ensuring that the network can adapt efficiently to changing demands.

CloudStack Features Designed for Cloud Service Providers Looking for an Open-source VMware Alternative

In addition to its specific features designed for seamless integration with vSphere, Apache CloudStack is distinguished by a variety of notable features that meet the operational needs of Service Providers. These features not only enhance CloudStack’s versatility but also ensure that it meets the diverse requirements of modern cloud environments.

Hypervisor Agnostic DRS

CloudStack’s DRS is hypervisor agnostic, enabling efficient allocation of resources across different hypervisor types, ensuring the best performance and workload distribution at the Zone or Hypervisor Cluster level.

Disaster Recovery Workload Protection

CloudStack provides robust multi-tenant disaster recovery solutions, ensuring your customers’ workload protection and business continuity in the event of system failures or other disruptions.

CloudNative Deployments

With the growing importance of containerisation, CloudStack supports the deployment of Kubernetes, both native and hybrid solutions with CAPC (ClusterAPI CloudStack Provider), facilitating the orchestration and management of containers in cloud environments.

Application Lifecycle Management

CloudStack offers comprehensive tools to manage the application lifecycle, from deployment to maintenance and scaling, ensuring smooth operations and agility at peak times pre-established by your users.

Metering and Usage

Accurate metering and usage tracking are essential for service providers. CloudStack includes sophisticated metering tools to monitor resource usage, helping with billing and capacity planning.

Advanced Networking Capabilities

The platform has advanced networking capabilities, including complex network topologies, network-as-a-service options, and fine-grained network control. CloudStack provides VPC networks, agnostic integration with third-party VNF (Virtual Network Function), Firewall, Load Balancer, SDN, among other network functions.

Multi-Zone Management

CloudStack excels at multi-zone management, improving data centre resource utilisation and providing geographic redundancy for your users.

Elastic Load Balancer

The elastic load balancing feature in CloudStack ensures efficient distribution of network traffic across multiple servers, improving application responsiveness and availability.

Veeam Integration

Veeam integration, through CloudStacks Backup and Recovery Framework  adds robust data protection and backup capabilities essential for maintaining data integrity and availability.

Object Storage Extension

CloudStack supports object storage extensions, enabling scalable and flexible storage solutions essential for handling large volumes of unstructured data.

2FA (Two-Factor Authentication)

CloudStack increases security with 2FA, adding an extra layer of protection for user access and authentication.

SAML2 (Security Assertion Markup Language 2)

This feature allows CloudStack to integrate with SAML2 for secure and streamlined single sign-on (SSO) capabilities, simplifying Federated user access management.

OAuth2 (Open Authorisation 2)

OAuth2 support in CloudStack enables secure and efficient authorisation, allowing users to grant third-party applications limited access to their cloud resources without exposing their credentials.

Each of these features contributes to making Apache CloudStack a comprehensive and adaptable platform, ideal for service providers, MSPs and cloud providers looking for a viable open-source alternative to VMware for robust, scalable and feature-rich cloud management.

Are you looking for a VMware alternative?

Apache CloudStack gives an easy way for cloud and service providers to migrate to a fully open-source solution. Get in touch with us to discuss your migration from VMware to CloudStack.


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Download a step-by-step guide to migrate your existing vSphere environment to a robust IaaS cloud environment based on Apache CloudStack and the KVM Hypervisor, ensuring a smooth, low-friction migration journey.