Over the course of the last 18 months, I’ve spent a bit of time as a booth bunny at shows like OSCON, Structure, CloudConnect etc. helping evangelize OpenStack. A fairly common conversation opener thrown by people expressing interest goes something like this: “We are currently using VMware, but it is too expensive… tell me how can OpenStack help?”
To this date, I am still not clear if people throwing out this question think of OpenStack and VMware as just two concrete products competing in the same market or they do implicitly refer to some specific OpenStack project and some specific VMware product where the comparison may be relevant.
So what does it mean to say “I am using VMware” in the first place?
VMW has a vast portfolio of offerings, ranging from consumer-focused solutions all the way through to the enterprise. Having worked in the enterprise software space for over 10 years, I can confidently state that very few people out there have a global understanding of product portfolios offered by large infrastructure players like VMware, IBM, Oracle etc. – and this includes sales people working for these companies. Therefore, for one to consider differences between VMware and OpenStack requires some understanding of the VMware portfolio. Hence, before we make any comparisons, let me set forth the key VMware offerings in the datacenter automation space.