OpenShift vs. Openstack: What are the differences?

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Red Hat® OpenShift® and Red Hat® OpenStack® Platform offer different (but complementary) approaches to managing cloud-based applications and services. Which platform you choose depends on a number of factors: your organization’s cloud footprint, its current application suite and architecture, its modernization plans for those technologies, and its goals for introducing cloud-native solutions in the years ahead. 

Red Hat Openshift is an enterprise-ready, Kubernetes-based development platform used across multiple industries to orchestrate containers, develop cloud-native applications, and deliver them at scale. The platform is built by open source leaders with developers in mind, including a web console, command line tools, integrated development environment (IDE) support, pre-built templates, and continuous integration with third party tools. These features allow organizations to support a variety of use cases, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), big data, edge computing for IoT, 5G deployments--check out Verizon's success story--and application modernization initiatives. Red Hat OpenShift addresses these workloads with consistent management and operations of the underlying Kubernetes infrastructure in hybrid or managed multi-cloud environments. 

Businesses typically look to OpenShift when they want to build new, cloud-native apps as microservices while managing or modernizing existing apps. OpenShift is favored for this flexibility, which offers the same user experience whether you’re deploying to an on-premise data center, a public cloud, or edge devices. Part of its appeal comes in how it enables a DevOps approach to unite teams, increasing operational efficiency as it reduces the total cost of ownership for applications and infrastructure. OpenShift shines on bare metal, and for businesses built with multiple apps running on VM-based architecture. 

OpenShift comes in several different editions, and offers self-managed and cloud services options. Red Hat OpenShift is available directly from platform-as-a-service (PaaS) providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, giving major public cloud customers a reliable, turnkey solution for their digital transformation. If your business is moving its services to containers, OpenShift can facilitate that change at whatever pace makes the most sense.

Red Hat OpenStack Platform is an open source Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform that uses pooled virtual resources to build and manage private and public clouds. It combines Red Hat Enterprise Linux® Server and Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) into a secure infrastructure. Just as OpenShift is based on Kubernetes, Red Hat OpenStack Platform is based on the OpenStack open source project.

The platform has been used for years to increase agility and consistency, offering simplified application delivery through an automated, self-service IT model with flexible, subscription-based consumption. The OpenStack platform’s core cloud-computing services consist of several upstream, open-source projects. 

A trusted tech platform for over a decade, OpenStack is widely implemented, with a massive, knowledgeable community of contributors and users. Like OpenShift, Red Hat OpenStack Platform is offered in multiple subscription types tailored to customer requirements. Each brings the best features from upstream OpenStack into a stable, managed environment that allows organizations to focus resources on development and service delivery instead of infrastructure maintenance.

Red Hat OpenStack Platform continues to be the on-premise platform of choice for virtual machine management in a private cloud environment. It is used to manage storage, networking, bare-metal, and computing infrastructure, as well as VMs running applications that require guest operating systems.


In the telecommunications industry, OpenStack was integral to the rollouts of 3G and 4G/LTE, and many telcos continue to rely on it to maintain services associated with those protocols. Whatever your industry, if you have legacy applications that rely on virtualization, there’s almost certainly a use case relevant to your business that can be supported by Red Hat OpenStack Platform.


Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat OpenStack Platform are two separate platforms that both serve the function of building scalable cloud solutions. These technologies can not only support your cloud environment individually, but can also work together depending on where your  organization is in its cloud native journey. OpenShift can be used to deploy and manage applications on top of an OpenStack cloud, taking advantage of the scalability and flexibility of Red Hat OpenStack Platform’s infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) model. It's also possible to use OpenShift to manage a containerized instance of OpenStack’s control plane, though the workloads remain fully in OpenStack. As container technology evolves, these two solutions offer unparalleled flexibility for delivering continued ROI from existing instances while positioning businesses for future growth with fast iteration and quicker time to market.

The foundation of your cloud matters. Our open hybrid cloud strategy, supported by our open source technologies, brings a consistent foundation to any cloud deployment: public, private, hybrid, or multi. Because of its deep ties to the open source community (and as the top contributor to the open source OpenStack project since 2011), Red Hat is able to bring together open, community-powered innovation with enterprise scale and confidence.

Open hybrid cloud is Red Hat's recommended strategy for architecting, developing, and operating a mix of applications, delivering a truly flexible cloud experience with the speed, stability, and scale required for digital business transformation. This strategy gives developers a common application environment to develop, orchestrate, and run their applications while giving system administrators and operations teams a common operating environment to manage their infrastructure. With this consistency across environments, you can deliver automated IT infrastructure and accelerate your time to market for new applications and services.

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