Earlier in this publication I mentioned that the promise of OpenStack is the interoperability among different components from different vendors or open source projects. As a matter of fact, each of the components described in the previous page can be easily replaced with projects or products from each vendor.

At the time of writing, the only project that has no valuable alternative among vendors is Keystone. Keystone acts as a service registry and user repository, therefore plays an important role in OpenStack. While it was conceived to have internal users like Amazon does, the development is shifting towards an HTTP interface to existing identity systems, such as LDAP or SAML.

Also Horizon, the web dashboard, has few chances to be replaced, as its colors and logos can easily be customized to be adapted for everyone. Some other dashboards exist for OpenStack, but usually the company who needs a different web interface goes for a customized development on top of the OpenStack APIs.

Projects in which it makes sense to adopt a plugin approach are Nova, Neutron, Swift and Cinder. Let us review in a table what are the most relevant open source and proprietary technology for each component (please keep in mind that this list can vary).


Open SourceProprietary
XenServerMicrosoft Hyper-V


Open SourceProprietary
CephIBM (Storwize family/SVC, XIV)
NFS (any compatible)SolidFire
HP LeftHand/3PAR/MSA
Dell EqualLogic/Storage Center


Open SourceProprietary
Linux BridgeVMWare NSX
Open vSwitchBrocade
MidonetBig Switch
OpenContrail (Juniper OpenSource)Alcatel Nuage
Cisco Nexus


Open SourceProprietary
Swift projectEMC Isilon OneFS
CephNetApp E-Series
Hadoop with SwiftFS/Sahara

About the Author

Giuseppe Paternò

Giuseppe Paternò

IT Architect and highly skilled in IT Security, he has a broad background in the Open Source world. He has worked as a consultant for companies such as Red Hat, Canonical, Sun and IBM, in addition to being Managing Director of the Swiss multinational GARL. He also deals with technologies about CloudStack and OpenStack, for which he has written a reference manual.

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