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OpenStack+VMware deployment stories: webinar Q&A


on 11 April 2014

This article was last updated 9 years ago.

Canonical and VMware recently ran a joint webinar in which we shared customer stories from OpenStack+vSphere deployment projects. The webinar was a huge success with over 600 attendees and lots of great audience interaction. If you’ve missed it, watch the on-demand version here. Unfortunately, we ran out of time before addressing all audience questions but we promised to follow up with detailed answers, and here they are:

1. Can customer upgrades be handled in a phased manner i.e. few environments at a time?

Absolutely. We strongly recommend a phased upgrade approach to Ubuntu OpenStack as best practice. In fact, Canonical’s Landscape Dedicated Service lets you do exactly this within your Ubuntu OpenStack environment managing availability zones in a single data center or multiple data centers. In addition, Landscape provides Ubuntu patch and security compliance. More information on Canonical’s Landscape is available here –

2. From where do we get necessary drivers to deploy Nova compute and other services of OpenStack on VMware ESX?

Canonical and VMware supported packages are available in Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS through the Cloud Archive –

3. Can I use vSphere Center and Horizon simultaneously or would they conflict somehow? Do I have limitations with Horizon compared to vSphere Center or vCloud Management?

It depends on what you are trying to manage. The OpenStack Horizon dashboard manages OpenStack services and configurations. VMware vSphere Center manages the system(s) of cluster resources allocated to OpenStack. OpenStack is an abstraction sitting above your VMware infrastructure which could include other infrastructure options such as baremetal, KVM, LXC, etc. For example, from vSphere vCenter you can allocate 500GB of RAM and 52 virtual CPUs as a OpenStack compute cluster resource, then from the OpenStack Horizon dashboard you plug into your VMware compute resources deploying OpenStack guest VMs using OpenStack API.

4. Is there integration between vCenter and OpenStack Ceilometer? How do they work together?

VMware recently added support for Ceilometer in the Icehouse release. A number of meters are now supported for memory usage, CPU usage, disk rate counters and network usage counters.

5. Can OpenStack be used all by itself without requirement of VMware? I am not able to understand why VMware is required?

Absolutely. Ubuntu is the reference platform for the development and deployment of OpenStack using open source technologies. However, VMware and Canonical understand organizations have pre-existing investments both in knowledge and in expertise around VMware. This approach provides organizations with a healthy compromise so they can leverage and reuse in-house expertise while learning about and using a next generation Cloud technology in OpenStack.

6. How does the support model work (do I call Canonical, VMware, or both)?

Canonical and VMware are committed to delivering the best service and support experience to our customers. Canonical is the primary point of contact for OpenStack and Ubuntu and Canonical will escalate into VMware’s support organization on the customer’s behalf as necessary. VMware continues to be the point of contact for issues related to VMware technology, such as vSphere or NSX. Customers requesting VMware and Canonical support must have Ubuntu Advantage support subscription (described here along with appropriate VMware licensing. Please contact VMware or Canonical directly for more information.

7. Can you import existing vCloud Director workloads into OpenStack?

VMware supports the standard OpenStack API so any images that can be uploaded to Glance and booted by Nova on vSphere will work. In general however, the vCloud Director workloads will not convert easily to an OpenStack model.

8. As a small business looking to minimise costs and since VMware completly liberated ESXi from costs what would be the main problems of a ESXi 5.5 + OpenStack implementation?

As of today, the VMware OpenStack drivers (for compute and storage) plug into VMware vSphere and vCenter. They do not plugin to ESXi directly.

9. Can you import existing VMs/workloads running in vSphere into OpenStack or would this only be for green field deployments?

It is possible to import existing vSphere workloads into OpenStack but this is not supported functionality at this time.

10. In case of using vmware with openstack, will neutron directly talk to the vcenter dvswitch or is another application like 1KV etc are required? are we missing something if we do not use any of these?

With Neutron, only NSX multi-hypervisor is currently supported. Neutron will not work with only the dvswitch. VMware is looking into adding Neutron support for vCNS.

11. Do Nova compute support async calls if yes how is it handled on the connector level and external API in this case vsphere level?

The Nova vCenter driver works very much like other Nova drivers, except that the vCenter driver exposes clusters instead of individual hypervisors to Nova. The way Nova itself works however is unchanged. This specific question requires a deeper dive into the exact API flow in Nova.

12. Is Vmware integrating OVS?

Not at this time.

13. Are there any deployments of NSX with openstack that have been done?

NSX with OpenStack is a recent technology used primarily for greenfield deployments.

14. Are you working on any NFV (Network Functions Virtualisation) use cases where openstack and vmware are used for NFV orchestration ?

Canonical is participant to ETSI NfV IG group and actively working on NfV uses cases with a number of key players in the NfV industry. Our focus is in the OpenStack realm for which vmware is a major actor. We are investigating and bringing our Cloud and automation expertise to this industry.

15. How often do VMware administrators tinker with OpenStack instances in practise?

OpenStack instances should be managed from OpenStack rather than from vCenter. Having said that, it’s possible to tinker with instances from vCenter. For example, doing a vMotion of a VM within a cluster can be useful and will not impact Nova.

16. Have you seen separate or combined VMware/OpenStack administration teams?

We’ve seen just about anything you can imagine when organizations start to investigate or adopt OpenStack. In our experience, customers who have success deploying and incorporating OpenStack engaged early and often with members of their staff across teams and disciplines. Organizations benefit by leveraging existing in-house expertise, i.e. VMware, and start building knowledge around next generation Cloud Computing technology in OpenStack. Canonical Professional and Technical Services helps organizations navigate Ubuntu OpenStack deployments from pilot up through production (multi-data center and geographies)

17. Where do I find the links for your installers for your vmware network and open stack?

Canonical and VMware supported packages are available in Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS through the Cloud Archive –

18. Is it possible to integrate bare metal and kvm into a vSphere senario later?

Yes, it is. And this is the intention of the OpenStack project. OpenStack provides a common abstraction of open APIs and a dashboard to manage a heterogeneous pool of resources such as baremetal, KVM, vSphere, etc. to target applications to the appropriate infrastructure and/or Cloud guests.

19. Can you comment please on a environment that includes a public cloud such as Rackspace or a VMware Hybrid?

Yes, we have customers with hybrid Cloud environments but it’s difficult to respond to your question without a proper context. Please contact Canonical directly and we are happy to understand your use case.

20. “Enterprise Linux Guests” – what do you support? redhat? suse? others?

Anything that is certified to run on VMware’s ESXi hypervisor is fully certified to run in a vSphere cluster controlled by OpenStack. That includes pretty much all the major players. The complete list can be searched here.

21. Given that two of the primary benefits of running open source software are vendor neutrality and cost savings, how does this model help with those?

Great point. However, the reality for most organizations is they have pre-existing investments both in knowledge and in expertise around VMware. This approach provides organizations with a healthy compromise so they can leverage and reuse in-house expertise while learning about and using a next generation Cloud technology in OpenStack. As we mentioned in the webinar, with foundation OpenStack knowledge present, organizations can bring in a myriad of infrastructure technologies (KVM, LXC, etc.) where OpenStack is the overlay.

22. What about Canonical NSX support , who’s doing what?

If you plan to run VMware NSX with Ubuntu Openstack, then as part of your Ubuntu Advantage support subscription and appropriate VMware licensing, support customers have flexibility to select their main point of contact for support. VMware or Canonical can escalate into each company’s support organization directly on the customer’s behalf as necessary.

23. Will you please discuss the licensing cost, which edition of VMware does a customer need to buy?

There is no license or special edition at this point for OpenStack on VMware.

24. What about VMware vCloud – does this integration of vmware and openstack compete with VMware vCloud?

It is not completely clear what vCloud is referring to. If the question is about vCAC, then yes there is some potential overlap but vCAC is a full cloud management platform that provides functionality such as policy-based governance which could in the future complement OpenStack.

25. What are the version requirements for OpenStack on VMWare? For example, I am using ESXi and VSphere 5. Are there further requirements such as VMotion or VCenter licenses to get an OpenStack on VMWare cloud running?

vSphere and ESXi 5.x are supported. There are no further requirements or licenses for OpenStack.

26. Do we need vCenter between Nova Compute and ESX for VM management?

Yes, you will need it if you want the vCenter management capabilities to extend to OpenStack for a cluster of vSphere hosts. The Havana version of the vSphere OpenStack Virtual Appliance includes the new vCenter Server plug-in for OpenStack frameworks. The plug-in provides vSphere administrators the ability to identify OpenStack instances and some of their respective properties from the vCenter Server. The plugin is jointly supported and certified by Canonical and VMware.

27. Is it not true I could use either Juju or vCAC for very very similar functionality. In fact Juju appears to be more simple to use? What is the use case to leverage both products?

There’s no need to use both products, and indeed we’d be delighted if you used Juju, the option is there to choose whichever solution you’re more comfortable with.

28. Can you please explain the architecture of how vmWare and OpenStack works with Glance and Cinder?

The best resources for this are the OpenStack upstream documents for the respective projects.

If you’re interested in discussing your OpenStack+vSphere integration project, please visit and use the online chat function or fill out a sales contact form.

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