Another VMware Alternative: Apache Cloudstack

Another VMware Alternative: Apache Cloudstack

VMware is a primary benefactor of virtualization and cloud computing software and services. Founded in 1998, VMware revolutionized IT by introducing virtualization technology that enables multiple virtual machines to run on a single physical server, successfully maximizing server utilization and simplifying IT infrastructure management.

Key elements contributing to VMware’s dominance in virtualization and cloud computing include:

  1. Hypervisor Technology: VMware ESXi hypervisor, a key component of their virtualization platform allows multiple virtual machines to run independently on a single physical server, enabling efficient resource utilization.
  2. Virtual Infrastructure Management: Comprehensive management tools like VMware vCenter Server, allows administrators to manage virtualized infrastructure from a single interface. This streamlines tasks such as provisioning, monitoring, and troubleshooting virtualized environments.
  3. Product Portfolio: VMware provides a broad range of products and solutions for virtualization, cloud computing, and software-defined data centers. This includes VMware vSphere for server virtualization, VMware NSX for network virtualization, and VMware vCloud Suite for cloud management and automation.
  4. Integration and Compatibility: VMware’s solutions highly compatible with a wide range of hardware and software environments, makes easy for organizations to adopt and integrate VMware technology into their existing infrastructure.
  5. Industry Leadership:  An industry leader in virtualization and cloud computing, with a large customer base spanning various industries including healthcare, finance, government, and education.
  6. Partnerships and Ecosystem: VMware has built strong partnerships with leading technology vendors and cloud providers, allowing customers to clout VMware technology in hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

Introduction to Apache CloudStack as a VMware Alternative

Apache CloudStack: VMware alternative

Apache CloudStack is an open-source cloud computing platform that empowers the organization and management of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) clouds. It provides a centralized platform for managing virtualized resources, such as compute, storage, and networking, within data centers or across multiple data center locations.

 Apache CloudStack presents itself as a feasible alternative to VMware for organizations seeking an open-source, multi-hypervisor cloud computing platform with scalability, flexibility, and ample management capabilities. By leveraging its features and community-driven development model, CloudStack enables organizations to build and manage vigorous cloud infrastructures tailored to their requirements.

This article offer an in-depth analysis of the two platforms, highlighting their similarities, differences, strengths, and weaknesses.

What is Apache CloudStack – History and Development

Apache CloudStack is an open-source cloud computing platform that touches its origins back to, a company established in 2008 with a vision to simplify the deployment and management of large-scale cloud infrastructure. primarily developed a proprietary cloud orchestration platform before open-sourcing the project under the Apache Software Foundation in 2012, where it became known as Apache CloudStack.

Since its origin, Apache CloudStack has undergone significant development and evolution, driven by contributions from a diverse community of developers, users, and organizations. The platform has matured into a robust solution for building and managing public, private, and hybrid clouds, offering features for virtualized compute, storage, and networking resources.

Over the years, CloudStack has continued to expand its capabilities, incorporating enhancements such as support for multiple hypervisors (e.g., KVM, XenServer, and VMware), upgraded integration with third-party tools and services, and enhanced management and orchestration features.

Features and Capabilities of Apache CloudStack

Apache CloudStack offers a broad set of features and capabilities for building and managing cloud infrastructure. Some key features include:

  1. Multi-Hypervisor Support: Supports multiple hypervisors, including KVM, XenServer, VMware vSphere, and Microsoft Hyper-V, providing flexibility in choosing virtualization technologies.
  2. Scalability and High Availability: CloudStack is designed to scale horizontally and vertically, supporting large-scale cloud deployments across multiple data centers.
  3. Unified Management Interface: CloudStack provides a centralized management web-based console for provisioning, monitoring, and managing cloud resources.
  4. Infrastructure as Code (IaC): CloudStack API-driven architecture, allows administrators to automate deployment and management tasks using scripts and configuration files.
  5. Network Virtualization: Enabling administrators to create and manage virtual networks, routers, and firewalls.
  6. Storage Management: Support for primary and secondary storage, storage tiers, and storage migration with various storage technologies, including local storage, NFS, iSCSI, and object storage.
  7. User and Account Management: Allows administrators to define roles, permissions, and access controls for different users and groups. It supports multi-tenancy, enabling the segregation of resources and isolation of tenant environments.
  8. Metering and Billing: It offers integration with billing systems and third-party accounting software to smooth chargeback and show back processes.
  9. API and Ecosystem Integration: CloudStack exposes a comprehensive set of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that enable integration with third-party tools, automation systems, and custom applications.
  10. Highly Customizable: It provisions the development of custom plugins, extensions, and integrations to extend its functionality and integrate with existing infrastructure.

The community and open-source nature of Apache CloudStack are foundational to its success, fostering collaboration, innovation, and adoption while empowering users and organizations to build and manage cloud infrastructure in a transparent, inclusive, and sustainable manner.

Comparing Apache CloudStack and VMware

Licensing and Cost:Apache CloudStack is open-source software distributed under the Apache License, which lets users to freely use, modify, and distribute the software without licensing fees.VMware is a commercial vendor offering proprietary software with numerous licensing models, including per-processor licensing for its vSphere hypervisor and subscription-based pricing for its cloud management platform.
Hypervisor Support:Provisions multiple hypervisors, including KVM, XenServer, VMware vSphere, and Microsoft Hyper-V, providing flexibility in deployment options.Mainly built around VMware’s proprietary ESXi hypervisor, which offers advanced features and integration with other VMware products.
Scalability and Performance:Intended to be highly scalable, supporting the deployment and management of large-scale cloud infrastructures across multiple data centers.Known for its robust scalability and performance, particularly in enterprise environments such as vMotion and Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) for workload mobility and resource optimization.
Management and Orchestration:Provides a centralized management interface for provisioning, monitoring, and managing cloud resources, including virtual machines, storage, and networking. Offers features for automation, orchestration, and self-service provisioning.Offers VMware vCenter Server as a centralized management platform for VMware vSphere environments, providing comprehensive management capabilities, including resource management, monitoring, and automation.
Integration and Ecosystem:Incorporates with a wide range of third-party tools, services, and ecosystems through APIs and plugins, allowing for customization and integration with existing infrastructure.Offers a broad ecosystem of products, solutions, and partners, providing seamless integration with VMware technologies and complementary services such as VMware NSX for network virtualization and VMware vSAN for software-defined storage.
Community and Support:Supported by an open-source community of developers, users, and organizations contributing to its development, support, and adoption. Offers community-driven support through mailing lists, forums, and documentation.Provides commercial support and services through VMware Support, offering technical assistance, training, and consulting services for VMware products and solutions.

Advantages of Apache CloudStack over VMware

Cost-effectiveness and open-source benefits

  • Apache CloudStack is open-source software distributed under the Apache License, which means there are no licensing fees associated with its use. This can result in noteworthy cost savings for organizations, mainly compared to VMware’s proprietary licensing model.
  • The open-source nature of Apache CloudStack also offers benefits such as transparency, flexibility, and the ability to customize the platform to meet specific requirements without vendor lock-in.

Flexibility and customization options

  • Apache CloudStack offers more flexibility and customization options compared to VMware, allowing organizations to choose from a variety of hypervisors (e.g., KVM, XenServer, VMware vSphere) and integrate with a wide range of hardware and software environments.
  • Organizations can tailor Apache CloudStack to their specific needs by customizing configurations, integrating with third-party tools and services, and extending functionality through APIs and plugins.

Community support and innovation

  • Apache CloudStack benefits from a vibrant and active open-source community of developers, contributors, and users who collaborate to enhance the platform’s features, performance, and reliability.
  • The community-driven development model of Apache CloudStack fosters innovation, agility, and responsiveness to evolving technology trends and user requirements, certifying that the platform remains relevant and competitive in the rapidly evolving cloud computing landscape.

Ease of deployment and management

  • Although VMware offers comprehensive management tools like VMware vCenter for managing virtualized infrastructure, Apache CloudStack provides a unified management interface for provisioning, monitoring, and managing cloud resources across multiple data centers and geographies.
  • Apache CloudStack’s management interface streamlines tasks such as resource allocation, user management, and automation, enabling organizations to deploy and manage cloud environments more efficiently and cost-effectively.

Use Cases and Deployment Scenarios for Apache CloudStack

These case studies are aimed to highlight successful deployments of Apache CloudStack and to inform other users on how organizations are successfully implementing the open source infrastructure-as-a-Service platform.

  • Public and Private Cloud Providers: CloudStack can be used by public cloud providers to offer IaaS services to their customers. Providers can deploy CloudStack to manage their infrastructure, enabling them to provision and manage virtual machines (VMs), networks, and storage for their clients.
  • Organizations can deploy CloudStack in their data centers to build private clouds for internal use. This allows them to provide self-service access to IT resources while maintaining control and security over their data and infrastructure.
  • Hybrid Cloud Deployments: CloudStack provisions hybrid cloud deployments, allowing organizations to integrate their private cloud with public cloud services. This enables seamless workload migration, disaster recovery, and scalability across different cloud environments.
  • Test and Development Environments: CloudStack can be used to create and manage test and development environments. Developers can swiftly provision VMs and other resources for testing new applications or software updates without needing to wait for manual provisioning.
  • Big Data and Analytics: CloudStack can be assimilated with big data and analytics platforms such as Apache Hadoop or Apache Spark to provide scalable infrastructure for processing large datasets. Organizations can dynamically provision resources as needed to support data-intensive workloads.
  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI): Allows organizations to deliver desktops and applications to end-users from centralized servers. This can improve flexibility, security, and management of desktop environments.
  • Disaster Recovery: CloudStack implements disaster recovery solutions by replicating VMs and data across multiple data centers or cloud regions. In the event of a disaster, applications and services can be quickly restored in alternative locations.
  • Education and Research: Used in educational institutions and research organizations to provide hands-on experience with cloud computing technologies. Students and researchers can use CloudStack to learn about cloud management and experiment with deploying and managing virtualized environments.
  • Content Delivery Networks (CDNs): CloudStack can be used to deploy and manage content delivery networks, distributing content closer to end-users for enhanced performance and scalability. Providers can dynamically scale resources to handle fluctuating demand for content delivery.
  • Internet of Things (IoT): CloudStack can provision IoT deployments by providing scalable infrastructure for collecting, storing, and analyzing data from IoT devices. Organizations can use CloudStack to deploy IoT applications and manage the underlying infrastructure efficiently.

Case Studies of Successful Apache CloudStack Deployments

CloudStack Integrations: LINBIT – Open-source SDS Solution

LINBIT SDS provides organizations with the performance, effortlessness, and flexibility they need from storage infrastructures. In addition, LINBIT SDS’ profound integration to Apache CloudStack offers scalability, data protection, and flexibility.
Alongside, the broad management and scalability capabilities, the stack gives you the ultimate Open-Source solution while providing the lowest TCO, compared to any other proprietary solution.
You can download a detailed technical solution brief, presenting the integration between Apache CloudStack and LINBIT.

Telia Latvia add Customer Value and Decrease Time to Market of Services by Utilizing Apache Cloudstack

Telia Latvia was founded in 1992 as a telecommunications company with an emphasis on data communications and internet services. In 2009 they established one of the most modern data centers in the Baltics and in 2013 introduced new generation cloud and CDN services. They now deliver best-in-class cloud and telecommunication services to customers in the Baltics and beyond.

Telia Latvia now runs both public workloads for customers but their cloud is also used for their own internal workloads and services such as cloud-based surveillance, virtual desktops, backup and storage as a service. Download the Case Study in PDF format.

Challenges and Considerations

Learning curve and resource availability

 Apache CloudStack has a steep learning curve, especially for administrators who are new to cloud computing or distributed systems.

Apache CloudStack documentation and community support, comprehensive training resources may be limited compared to more widely adopted cloud platforms like AWS or Azure. This can make it challenging for new users to find resources and guidance for learning and troubleshooting.

CloudStack has a much smaller community that strives to be cooperative with one another. This is helpful to users that are looking for more dialed in, one on one interactions with community member. Conversely, the challenge of attracting more contributors and companies to help improve the software remains a challenge.

Integration with Existing Systems

 Integrating Apache CloudStack with existing IT systems, applications, and workflows can be challenging, particularly if they are built on different technologies or platforms. Ensuring smooth integration and interoperability requires careful planning, customization, and sometimes development of custom plugins or interfaces.

Support and Troubleshooting

 Involves a blend of resources, including Documentation, Community Forums and Mailing Lists, Issue Tracker, Commercial Support, Logs and direct troubleshooting techniques.

How to Get Started with Apache CloudStack?

Here’s a quick installation guide:

Building from Source


Downloading the Release.

Verifying the Downloaded Release.

General Installation

Prerequisites for building Apache CloudStack.

Extracting source.

Install new MySQL connector.

Building DEB packages.

Building RPMs from Source.


      Hypervisor Setup

Optional Installation

Click here for the full installation guide, an administrator’s guide and then further detailed guides on complex configurations

Resources for training and learning.

  • CloudStack Expertise Hub: Tailored Training and Hands-on Bootcamps
  • Online Courses

For more details click here

Finding community support and resources

Getting Help


What is the primary purpose of each platform?

  • Apache CloudStack: It is an open-source cloud computing platform intended for creating, managing, and deploying public and private Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) clouds.
  • VMware: VMware offers a range of virtualization and cloud computing products, with a focus on server virtualization, cloud infrastructure, and management solutions.

What hypervisors do they support?

  • Apache CloudStack: It supports several hypervisors, including KVM, XenServer, VMware, and others.
  • VMware: It mainly uses its proprietary ESXi hypervisor but also supports other hypervisors like Microsoft Hyper-V.

What level of virtualization does each platform offer?

  1. Apache CloudStack: It provides infrastructure-level virtualization, allowing users to manage virtual machines, networks, and storage resources.
  2. VMware: VMware offers both server virtualization (with products like ESXi) and higher-level cloud infrastructure virtualization through solutions like vCloud Suite.

      How do they handle multi-tenancy and isolation?

  1. Apache CloudStack: It provisions multi-tenancy through the concept of projects, allowing isolation of resources and network domains for different users or groups.
  2. VMware: VMware offers features like vSphere Distributed Switch for network isolation and vCloud Director for managing multi-tenant cloud environments.


As organizations seek cost-effective and customizable cloud solutions, Apache CloudStack stands out as a captivating alternative to VMware, empowering users with the freedom to architect their cloud infrastructure while embracing the spirit of open-source collaboration. Provisions multiple hypervisors, including KVM, XenServer, VMware vSphere, and Microsoft Hyper-V, providing flexibility in deployment options.

With its robust feature set, community-driven development, and compatibility with existing infrastructure, Apache CloudStack presents itself as fostering a community-driven ecosystem of innovation and collaboration, accompanying in a new era of cloud computing that prioritizes flexibility, affordability, and innovation.

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