Cloud interoperability keeps evolving alongside its platforms. Kubernetes and OpenStack are not merely direct competitors but can now also be combined to create cloud-native applications. Kubernetes is the most widely used container orchestration tool to manage/orchestrate Linux containers. It deploys, maintains, and schedules applications efficiently. OpenStack lets businesses run their Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and is a powerful software application.

Kubernetes and OpenStack have been regarded as competitors, but in actuality, both these open-source technologies can be combined and are complementary to one other. They both offer solutions to problems that are relatively similar but do so on different layers of the stack. When you combine Kubernetes and OpenStack, it can give you noticeably enhanced scalability and automation.

It’s now possible for Kubernetes to deploy and manage applications on an OpenStack cloud infrastructure. OpenStack as a cloud orchestration tool allows you to run Kubernetes clusters on top of white label hardware more efficiently. Containers can be aligned with this open infrastructure, which enables them to share computer resources in rich environments, such as networking and storage.

Difference between OpenStack and Kubernetes

Kubernetes and OpenStack still do compete for users, despite their overlapping features. Both have their own sets of merits and use cases. It’s why it’s necessary to take a closer look at both options to determine their differences and find out which technology or combination is best for your business.

To present a more precise comparison between the two technologies, let’s start with the basics.

What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is an open-source cloud platform for managing containerized workloads and services. Kubernetes is a tool used to manage clusters of containerized applications. In computing, this process is often referred to as orchestration.

The analogy with a music orchestra is, in many ways, fitting. Much as a conductor would, Kubernetes coordinates multiple microservices that together form a useful application. It automatically and perpetually monitors the cluster and makes adjustments to its components. Kubernetes architecture provides a mix of portability, extensibility, and functionality, facilitating both declarative configuration and automation. It handles scheduling by using nodes set up in a compute cluster. Kubernetes also actively manages workloads, ensuring that their state matches with the intentions and desired state set by the user.

Kubernetes is designed to make all its components swappable and thus have modular designs. It is built for use with multiple clouds, whether it is public, private, or a combination of the two. Developers tend to prefer Kubernetes for its lightweight, simple, and accessible nature. It operates using a straightforward model. We input how we would like our system to function – Kubernetes compares the desired state to the current state within a cluster. Its service then works to align the two states and achieve and maintain the desired state.

How is Kubernetes Employed?

Kubernetes is arguably one of the most popular tools employed when it comes to getting the most value out of containers. Its features ensure that it is a near-perfect tool designed to automate scaling, deployment, and operating containerized applications.

Kubernetes is not only an orchestration system. It is a set of independent, interconnected control processes. Its role is to continuously work on the current state and move the processes in the desired direction. Kubernetes is ideal for service consumers, such as developers working in enterprise environments as it provides support for programmable, agile, and rapidly deployable environments.

Kubernetes is used for several different reasons:

  1. High Availability: Kubernetes includes several high-availability features such as multi-master and cluster federation. The cluster federation feature allows clusters to be linked together. This setup exists so that containers can automatically move to another cluster if one fails or goes down.
  2. Heterogeneous Clusters: Kubernetes can run on heterogeneous clusters allowing users to build clusters from a mix of virtual machines (VMs) running the cloud, according to user requirements.
  3. Persistent Storage: Kubernetes has extended support for persistent storage, which is connected to stateless application containers.
  4. Built-in Service Discovery and Auto-Scaling: Kubernetes supports service discovery, out of the box, by using environment variables and DNS. For increased resource utilization, users can also configure CPU based auto-scaling for containers.
  5. Resource Bin Packing: Users can declare the maximum and minimum compute resources for both CPU and memory when dealing with containers. It slots the containers into wherever they fit, which increases compute efficiency, which results in lower costs.
  6. Container Deployments and Rollout Controls: The Deployment feature allows users to describe their containers and specify the required quantity. It keeps those containers running and also handles deploying changes. This enables users to pause, resume, and rollback changes as per requirements.

What is OpenStack?

OpenStack an open-source cloud operating system that is employed to develop public and private cloud environments. Made up of multiple interdependent microservices, it offers an IaaS layer that is production-ready for virtual machines and applications. OpenStack, first developed as a cloud infrastructure in July 2010, was a product of the joint effort of many companies, including NASA and Rackspace.

Their goal since has been to provide an open alternative to the top cloud providers. It’s also considered a cloud operating system that can control large pools of computation, storage, and networking resources through a centralized datacenter. All of this is managed through a user-friendly dashboard, which provides users with increased control by allowing them to provision resources through a simple graphic web interface. OpenStack’s growing in popularity because it offers open-source software to businesses wanting to deploy their own private cloud infrastructure versus using a public cloud platform.

How is OpenStack Used?

It’s known for its complexity, consisting of around sixty components, also called ‘services’, six of them are core components, and they control the most critical aspects of the cloud. These services are for the compute, identity, storage management, and networking of the cloud, including access management.

OpenStack comprises of a series of commands known as scripts, which are bundled together into packages called projects. The projects are responsible for relaying tasks that create cloud environments. OpenStack does not virtualize resources itself; instead, it uses them to build clouds.

When it comes to cloud infrastructure management, OpenStack can be employed for the following.


OpenStack provides a stable foundation for public and private clouds. Containers are used to speed up the application delivery time while also simplifying application management and deployment. Containers running on OpenStack can thus scale container benefits ranging from single teams to even enterprise-wide interdepartmental operations.

Network Functions Virtualization

OpenStack can be used for network functions virtualization, and many global communications service providers include it on their agenda. OpenStack separates a network’s key functions to distribute it among different environments.

Private Clouds

Private cloud distributions tend to run on OpenStack better than other DIY approaches due to the easy installation and management facilities provided by OpenStack. The most advantageous feature is its vendor-neutral API. Its open API erases the worries of single-vendor lock-in for businesses and offers maximum flexibility in the cloud.

Public Clouds

OpenStack is considered as one of the leading open-source options when it comes to creating public cloud environments. OpenStack can be used to set up public clouds with services that are on the same level as most other major public cloud providers. This makes them useful for small scale startups as well as multibillion-dollar enterprises.

What are the Differences between Kubernetes and OpenStack?

Both OpenStack and Kubernetes provide solutions for cloud computing and networking in very different ways. Some of the notable differences between the two are explained in the table below.

Points of DifferenceKubernetesOpenStack
ClassificationClassified as a Container toolClassified as an Open Source Cloud tool
User BaseIt has a large Github community of over 55k users as well as, 19.1 Github forks.Not much of an organized community behind it
Companies that Use themGoogle, Slack, Shopify, Digital Ocean, 9GAG, Asana, etc.PayPal, Hubspot, Wikipedia, Hazeorid, Survey Monkey, etc.
Main FunctionsEfficient docker container and management solutionA flexible and versatile tool for managing Public and Private Clouds
Tools that can be IntegratedDocker, Ansible, Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine, Kong, Etc.Fastly, Stack Storm, Spinnaker, Distelli, Morpheus Etc.

How Can Kubernetes and OpenStack Work Together?

Can Kubernetes and OpenStack work together? This is a common question among potential users.

One of the most significant obstacles in the path of OpenStack’s widespread adoption is its ongoing life cycle management. For enterprises, using OpenStack and Kubernetes together can radically simplify the management of OpenStack’s many components. In this way, users benefit from a consistent platform for managing workloads.

Kubernetes and OpenStack can be used together to reap the combined benefits of both the tools. By integrating Kubernetes into OpenStack, Kubernetes users can access a much more robust framework for application deployment and management. Kubernetes’s features, scalability, and flexibility make ‘Stackanetes’ an efficient solution for managing OpenStack and makes operating OpenStack as easy as running any application on Kubernetes.

Benefits of Leveraging Both OpenStack and Kubernetes

Faster Development of Apps

Running Kubernetes and OpenStack together can offer on-demand and access-anytime services. It also helps to increase application portability and reduces development time.

Improving OpenStack’s lifecycle management

Kubernetes, along with cloud-native patterns, improve OpenStack lifecycle management through rolling updates and versioning.

Increased Security

Security has always been a critical concern in container technology. OpenStack solves this by providing a high level of security. It supports the verification of trusted container content by integrating tools for image signing, certification, and scanning.


By combining Kubernetes and OpenStack, container technology can become more universally applicable. This makes it easier for organizations to set up as well as deploy container technology, using the existing OpenStack infrastructure.

Easier to Manage

OpenStack can be complex to use and has a steep learning curve, which creates a hindrance for any users. The Stackanetes initiative circumvents the complexity by using Kubernetes cluster orchestration to deploy and manage OpenStack.

Speedy Evolution

Both are widely employed by tech industry giants, notwithstanding Amazon, Google, and eBay. This popularity drives software applications to develop and innovate faster. They increase the pace of evolution to offer solutions to issues as they crop up. Evolving and simultaneously integrating, creates rapidly upgraded enterprise-grade infrastructure and application platforms.


OpenStack on its own lacks the stability to run smoothly. Kubernetes, on the other hand, uses a large-scale distributed system, allowing it to run smoothly. By combining the two, OpenStack can use a more modernized architecture, which also increases its stability.

Kubernetes and OpenStack are Better Together

There has always been competition between OpenStack and Kubernetes, both of whom are giants in the open-source technology landscape. That’s why it can be surprising to some users when we talk about the advantages of using these two complementary tools together. As both of them solve similar problems but on different layers, combining the two is the most practical solution for scalability and automation. Combined, more than ever, DevOps teams would have more freedom to create cloud-native applications. Both Kubernetes and OpenStack have their advantages and use cases, making it very difficult to compare between the two, as both of them are used in different contexts.

OpenStack, together with Kubernetes, can increase the resilience and scale of its control panel, allowing faster delivery of infrastructure innovation. These different yet complementary technologies, widely used by industry leaders, will keep both innovating at an unprecedented pace.

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