October 17, 2012, 8:35 PM — SAN DIEGO - Continuing its commitment to the OpenStack project and its newfound vision to support multiple types of cloud platforms, VMware announced support for its ESX hypervisor in OpenStack today.
VMware has been embracing OpenStack more and more tightly over the past few months. First, it purchased Nicira, which is a heavy contributor to OpenStack's Quantum virtual networking project, then immediately after that deal closed, the company applied to become a member of the OpenStack Foundation, to the chagrin of some OpenStack backers.
One of the biggest questions since then has been how VMware will contribute to the OpenStack code beyond Nicira's work. Today, that answer became clearer when CTO Steve Herrod announced a compute driver within OpenStack that would support vSphere, VMware virtualization software that runs its ESX hypervisor.
In addition to cementing VMware's support for OpenStack, it also serves as a boost for the OpenStack code, which has focused hypervisor support on KVM and Xen hypervisors, with increased backing for Microsoft's Hyper-V.
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To some, VMware beefing up support for ESX is a natural evolution of the company's OpenStack efforts. "It almost would have been surprising if they hadn't announced this," says IDC analyst Gary Chen. "If VMware wants to be a true foundation member, it really needed to do this."
VMware is treading a delicate line though, he notes. OpenStack, in some respects, represents competition for VMware.
OpenStack is already being used by some big-name public cloud providers - such as Rackspace and HP - to launch public cloud services. That puts it in direct competition with VMware's vCloud Director.