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What are the options for OpenStack-supported hypervisors?

OpenStack supports many hypervisors -- Microsoft and VMware being the most popular -- but organizations should do compatibility tests to ensure their needs are fully met.

Private clouds offer a variety of valuable services to organizations that want some of the benefits of the cloud,...

while retaining control over their own infrastructure and data. Cloud frameworks don't provide the underlying virtualization for an enterprise private cloud, making it critical that a cloud framework support as many major hypervisors as possible. There is a wide range of OpenStack-supported hypervisors, and you should carefully consider the level of support each provides and how that matches your particular needs.

Together, VMware and Microsoft currently hold the majority of the hypervisor marketplace. Microsoft Hyper-V can run Windows, Linux and FreeBSD VMs under OpenStack, while VMware vSphere 5.1.0 and later will support VMware-based Linux and Windows images through vCenter Server. XenServer and Xen Cloud Platform can run Linux or Windows VMs, though the Nova compute service must be installed in a paravirtualized VM. Even OpenStack Nova compute supports the native Ironic bare-metal hypervisor for machine provisioning and control.

Use libvirt with Linux-based hypervisors

Many OpenStack-supported hypervisors are Linux-based but will typically require the libvirt open API for virtualization and management. For example, libvirt will allow Kernel-based Virtual Machine under OpenStack, and KVM versions are available to run PowerPC and Power Architecture processors, IBM System/390 mainframes and more conventional x86 processor architectures. The Xen Project hypervisor will run under libvirt to support Linux, Windows, FreeBSD and NetBSD VMs under OpenStack Nova. Libvirt supports Virtuozzo 7.0.0 and later for containers and VMs based on KVM.

Find the best Openstack hypervisor for your private cloud environment

Private cloud environments like OpenStack need to support hypervisors in order to achieve interoperability. When testing your options, be aware of those that are scheduled for deprecation and the different levels of feature support

Generally, OpenStack will also use libvirt to support Linux Containers, Quick EMUlator and User-mode Linux, though these platforms are rarely used outside of legacy application maintenance.

It's important to remember that all hypervisors aren't created equal, and OpenStack-supported hypervisors might not receive the same level of support, stability, performance or interoperability. Private cloud adopters should invest time into performing due diligence tests and experiments to verify the compatibility between the chosen hypervisor and cloud framework to ensure adequate results for the needs of the specific enterprise.

This was last published in December 2017

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