Aws vs Openstack


AWS has numerous services and it’s easy to get lost for beginners regarding what is for what. Meanwhile, as an open source, I’m always interested to know what are the open source alternatives. To be fair, without open source code, none of existing cloud computing and big data platform would even exist.

Hence, I come up with the following table categorizing the key AWS services, each with a one-line interpretation; In addition, it also shows its corresponding OpenStack component, if there is one. Hopeful it’s helpful for you when either wandering through the AWS services or OpenStack one.

As you probably have noticed, AWS has much more services than OpenStack can offer. That’s true.

OpenStack is more an Infrastructure As A Service(IaaS) solution, while AWS offers the solutions for all the other Xass – you name it, they have it: PaaS, CaaS, FaaS. And actually it is not just a “MeToo” solution, AWS actually leading the trend in some cases, such as Lambda, which is an offering for FaaS(Function As A service), or serverless, if you like. We might have more comparison regarding the open source solutions and AWS on those areas in the future, but this table primary compares the OpenStack and AWS.

The infamous Amazon Web Services, which companies typically leverage for the speed and convenience of Amazon’s global, hosted, cloud-computing infrastructure, and

The increasingly versatile OpenStack, which allows organizations to roll their own cloud-computing services on standard hardware.

OpenStack has similarly grown in popularity since its launch in 2010, having had a nice jump in the Spring of 2013. Some of the more notable companies contributing to OpenStack include: AT&T, MD, Canonical, Cisco, Citrix, Comcast, Cray, Dell, Dreamhost, EMC, Ericsson, Fujitsu, GoDaddy, Google, HP, Hitachi, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Juniper Networks, Mirantis, Oracle, Red Hat, SUSE Linux, VMware, and Yahoo!.

While OpenStack has a lot of diverse contributors, AWS is the fifth largest web hosting provider globally.

Worldwide Market Share by Number of Clients in 2015:

GoDaddy – 4.26%

BlueHost – 2.56%

HostGator – 2.15% – 1.91%

Amazon Web Services – 1.81%

Rackspace – 1.59%

1&1 – 1.54%

Hetzner – 1.29%

SoftLayer – 1.19%

DreamHost – 1.01%

source: (2015)


As an open-source cloud-computing protocol, OpenStack obviously can’t compete on these terms with a multi-billion dollar cloud-computing and software-as-a-service company. There are a number selling points to consider, however:

WalMart uses OpenStack to coordinate 100,000+ cores, this provided 100% uptime during Black Friday last year

Developers gave over 300 talks at the OpenStack Summit in Tokyo this October

Debian, Canonical, Red Hat, and SUSE Linux all support OpenStack and are active contributors

OpenStack has enabled companies like Disney, Bloomberg, and Wells Fargo to manage their own clouds at a fraction of the cost of proprietary solutions like AWS

OpenStack is the only solution that supports mixed hypervisor and bare metal server environments


AWS’ architecture and working processes are very much their own and only a few outside the organization may know how it works. Even partners like RightScale or those behind the open source derivative Eucalyptus know it well enough to do more than deduce what happened based on their experience and what they could observe.

On the other hand, OpenStack is fully open source and in case one is interested in knowing its working processes, they can simply download the code.

AWS architecture knowledge might have helped several Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) customers find a solution to the problem or even possibly detect it in advance and take proactive measures.

To run an application, you need a server with CPU, memory and storage, with or without pre-installed operating systems and applications.


To network virtual servers to each other. You also need to control who can access the server. You want to protect/firewall the server especially if it is exposed to the Internet.


Security & Identity

You need the option of public key cryptography for SSH and password decryption. You want to firewall virtual machines to only allow certain traffic in (ingress) or out (egress).



This allows repeatable copies of an application to be made.


User interface and APIs

You can administer your cloud or users can self-serve their needs, from any compliant browser.


Service Level Agreement (SLA)

To run mission critical applications with minimal downtime you need an SLA from your cloud provider.



Cost and Pricing

The cost of running servers and applications in a cloud can be operational (OPEX) or capital (CAPEX).




Since both cloud platforms provide some similar services, you should consider your needs. For instant and temporary needs, AWS and its on-demand pricing model could suffice. For longer term projects AWS lists examples, as does OpenStack.

A hybrid cloud is a combination of an on-premise private cloud and a public cloud. A cloud management platform provides tools to administer both cloud environments. Red Hat offers an Open Hybrid Cloud, “A single-subscription offering that lets you build and manage an open, private Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud and ease your way into a highly scalable, public cloud-like infrastructure based on OpenStack.”

At the end of it all, choosing between the both OpenStack and Amazon Web Services cloud platforms depends on specific requirements, personal or business needs, duration of implementation, and budget towards cost and pricing.

Categories: AWSopenstack