Copyright (c) 123RF Stock PhotosProprietary software and applications offer businesses obvious advantages: regular updates and fixes, documented security policies and procedures, access to trained support, and dedicated developers and management. Accompanying the rise of cloud computing, however, is increased attention on open source solutions, including OpenNebula and OpenStack.

How does a business decide which solution best satisfies its needs? One answer is by considering the differences between OpenStack and OpenNebula and then identifying which solution offers the benefits that the business most needs.

Comparing Open Source Solutions

How do these two popular open source models differentiate themselves from each other? Let’s take a look:

  • Goals and management model: OpenNebula tends to focus more on the needs of their users. On the other hand, OpenStack is more vendor-driven, focusing on the goals of the vendors who agree on a certain direction. Potentially, OpenStack takes some input from end users.
  • Organization and components: OpenStack consists of numerous components or subprojects that comprise the different systems in their cloud infrastructure. OpenNebula provides a single, integrated, and comprehensive management package.
  • Governance and policies: OpenStack is managed by a group of vendors who aim to use OpenStack to satisfy their individual and collective interests and agendas. These agendas might include the system’s architecture, the general availability of regular releases, and how features are governed. On the other hand, OpenNebula is managed by a single organization that focuses on the interest of the project as a whole; its aim is to meet their users’ needs.
  • Look to the future: OpenNebula’s roadmap is dictated by the needs of their end users. OpenStack’s goals result from different vendors participating in the determination of each project.
  • Developers and other contributors: How does each business determine the direction of its cloud computing product? Contributions for OpenNebula are derived mainly from actual users; OpenStack’s ideas are generated mostly from their vendors.

Upon Further Examination

With its management style, policies, and user-driven features, OpenNebula may seem to be the better option for more businesses—but this is not always true. Consider that each end-user will have his or her own agenda or idea of what is most effective. The OpenNebula challenge, then, is this: How can decision-makers achieve a consensus about the functionality or implementation of certain application or infrastructure changes? Lack of consensus can lead to longer release cycles, which impedes end-user satisfaction.

For OpenStack, its vendor-driven model ensures that end-users will know exactly what the application offerings are. A consensus among end-users does not need to be met. Instead, they get the outcome of what vendors decide and then structure their business accordingly around that outcome.

In the future, end-users can expect that OpenNebula and OpenStack will continue evolving in both minor and dramatic ways. Perhaps that evolution will further differentiate these two open-source solutions from each other, allowing the end-user to more easily decide which is optimal for their business.