Guide to the Open Cloud: The State of IaaS and PaaS


The Linux Foundation recently announced the release of its 2016 report “Guide to the Open Cloud: Current Trends and Open Source Projects.” This third annual report provides a comprehensive look at the state of open cloud computing. You can download the report now, and one of the first things to notice is that it aggregates and analyzes research, illustrating how trends in containers, microservices, and more shape cloud computing. In fact, from IaaS to virtualization to DevOps configuration management, it provides descriptions and links to categorized projects central to today’s open cloud environment.

In a series of posts to appear here, we’ll call out many of these projects, by category, providing extra insights on how the overall category is evolving. In this post, inaugurating the series, let’s consider the key, open Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) projects to know about.

Consider this, from researchers at Gartner: “Most organizations are already using a combination of cloud services from different cloud providers. While public cloud usage will continue to increase, the use of private cloud and hosted private cloud services is also expected to increase at least through 2017. The increased use of multiple public cloud providers, plus growth in various types of private cloud services, will create a multi-cloud environment in most enterprises and a need to coordinate cloud usage using hybrid scenarios.”

Working with the hybrid model, as open cloud solutions have proliferated, there are many organizations leveraging both IaaS solutions and PaaS solutions. IaaS solutions remain popular because they provide an instant computing infrastructure, provisioned and managed online. Meanwhile, PaaS solutions let users develop, run, and manage applications without the hassle of building and maintaining the infrastructure typically implied to run applications.

As the open cloud matures and hybrid cloud deployments remain dominant, predictions about whether the IaaS model or PaaS model will “win” have fallen by the wayside. They have both won — hands down. Open PaaS solutions like Red Hat’s OpenShift are firmly entrenched, and IaaS solutions like OpenStack are ushering in massive transformation in technology stacks large and small.

IDC researchers predict that more than 80 percent of enterprise IT organizations will commit to hybrid cloud architectures by 2017. As these hybrid cloud architectures evolve, open IaaS and PaaS tools are flourishing.

The Guide to the Open Cloud 2016 includes a comprehensive look at the IaaS and PaaS solutions that you should know about. Here, directly from the report, are links and descriptions for these projects, by category, with links to the GitHub repositories for them:

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Apache CloudStack

Apache CloudStack, an Apache Software Foundation project, is software designed to deploy and manage large networks of virtual machines, as a highly available, highly scalable Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud computing platform. It can be used to offer public cloud services, to provide an on-premises (private) cloud offering, or as part of a hybrid cloud solution. Users can manage their cloud with a web interface, command-line tools, and/or a full-featured RESTful API.  See CloudStack on GitHub.

HPE Helion Eucalyptus

HPE Helion Eucalyptus is an open solution for building private clouds that are compatible with Amazon Web Services (AWS). It provides open source implementations of many Amazon Web Services to deploy AWS applications into a private cloud without changing tools, processes, or application code. See HPE Helion Eucalyptus on GitHub.


OpenNebula is software to manage virtualized data centers for private, public, and hybrid IaaS clouds. Use OpenNebula to manage data center virtualization, consolidate servers, and integrate existing IT assets for computing, storage, and networking. Or provide a multi-tenant, cloud-like provisioning layer on top of an existing infrastructure management solution. See OpenNebula on GitHub.


OpenStack, an OpenStack Foundation project, is open source software for creating private and public clouds. The software controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a data center, and is managed through a dashboard or via the OpenStack API. OpenStack works with other enterprise and open source technologies making it ideal for heterogeneous infrastructure. See OpenStack on GitHub.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Apache Stratos

Apache Stratos, an Apache Software Foundation project, is a highly extensible PaaS framework that helps run Apache Tomcat, PHP, and MySQL applications and can be extended to support many more environments on all major cloud infrastructures. For developers, Stratos provides a cloud-based environment for developing, testing, and running scalable applications. IT providers benefit from high utilization rates, automated resource management, and platform-wide insight including monitoring and billing. See Stratos on GitHub.

Cloud Foundry

Cloud Foundry, a Cloud Foundry Foundation project at The Linux Foundation, is an open source cloud application platform that provides a choice of clouds, developer frameworks, and application services. It supports applications built in virtually any programming language, run as either Linux containers or Windows-based applications, and deployed across many infrastructure types: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Platform (GCP), OpenStack, VMware vSphere, VMware Photon Platform, IBM SoftLayer, and more. See Cloud Foundry on GitHub.

Deis Workflow

Deis Workflow, is Engine Yard’s version 2.0 (beta) of the open source Deis PaaS that makes it easy to deploy and manage applications on Kubernetes. It works in both public and private clouds, as well as on bare metal. See Deis on GitHub.


Flynn is an open source PaaS for running applications in production. In its 1.0 version, it’s designed to run anything that can run on Linux, and includes built-in service discovery as well as Postgres, MySQL, and MongoDB databases. See Flynn on GitHub.


Heroku is a cloud platform that lets companies build, deliver, monitor and scale applications. It’s based on a managed container system, with integrated data services and a powerful ecosystem, for deploying and running modern apps in multiple languages: Node, Ruby, Java, Scala, PHP, and more. See Heroku on GitHub.


OpenShift is Red Hat’s PaaS that allows developers to quickly develop, host, and scale applications in a cloud environment. Based on top of Docker containers and the Kubernetes container cluster manager, OpenShift offers online, on-premise, and open source project options. OpenShift Origin is the open source upstream of OpenShift. See OpenShift on GitHub.

Learn more about trends in open source cloud computing and see the full list of the top open source cloud computing projects. Download The Linux Foundation’s Guide to the Open Cloud report today!