Openstack on Azure: Combine the Power of OpenStack and Microsoft Azure for Maximum Storage Efficiency

Adopting a hybrid cloud strategy is becoming a popular choice for many organizations looking to balance the benefits of public and private cloud environments. Azure Stack, as a business solution, provides an alternative to OpenStack when it comes to deploying a hybrid cloud.

If you are looking to adopt a hybrid-cloud strategy, you might need to value options to OpenStack. in this article we will explore OpenStack and how we could host it on Microsoft Azure, also we will discuss the benefits and considerations of deploying OpenStack on Azure.

What is OpenStack and how can we host it on Microsoft Azure? 

OpenStack is an open-source platform that offers a comprehensive framework to build and control both public and private cloud infrastructures.

The collection of tools and modules that make up the OpenStack platform, known as "projects," centralize resources to provide essential cloud computing services such as compute, storage, networking, identification, and image services. 

OpenStack is ready for deployment and has the potential to change the way businesses operate for the better. however there are various options to deploy OpenStack on Microsoft Azure, such as:

  • Azure Cloud Provider plugin for OpenStack.

  • Azure virtual machines.

  • Azure Stack as underlying hardware.

The real value of OpenStack is in the private or hybrid cloud deployment categories, the two uses that dominate among various companies to provide services that intersect with the businesses of AWS, GCE and Azure.

Key features of openstack and how they compare to other cloud providers

OpenStack features, including portability, security and storage are prompting vendors and IT pros alike to support the open source cloud platform.

Here are a few OpenStack features that especially stand out:

  • Compatibility and Portability

    OpenStack is open source and agile, supports private and public clouds, and has APIs compatible with Amazon Web Services, allowing for easy transit between private and public clouds.

  • Security

    OpenStack has a robust security system supporting multiple forms of identification to address security concerns.

  • Management and visibility

    The Horizon dashboard provides administrators an overview of the cloud environment and resources.

  • Cloud Storage

    OpenStack offers unlimited storage pools, supports block-IO and object file storage, has built-in storage management and data integrity with Ceph, and allows for elastic scaling.

  • Big Data

    OpenStack is flexible and can run Hadoop apps and Web pages for big data analytics, media files, and standard block-IO.

  • Quality control

    OpenStack's code base is evolving, with releases approximately every 4-6 months for quality control and stability. The current stable release is Icehouse, with Juno as a likely replacement.

Examples of common use cases of OpenStack on Microsoft Azure

One might argue what is the point in running a cloud infrastructure software like OpenStack on top of another one, namely the Azure public cloud. 

The main use cases are typically testing and API compatibility, but as Azure nested virtualization and pass-through features came a long way recently in terms of performance.

Other more advanced use cases are viable, especially in areas where OpenStack has a strong user base (e.g. Telcos).OpenStack is running a number of use-cases for clouds that use this software package including:

  • IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) - Azure may be used to deploy OpenStack, giving businesses access to a private cloud infrastructure that they can manage and control.

  • Hybrid Cloud Deployments: Azure and other cloud services can be seamlessly incorporated into a single, unified architecture using OpenStack.

  • Organizations can accelerate their software development and deployment cycles by utilizing DevOps and Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) - OpenStack to automate the deployment and maintenance of applications and services on Azure.

  • Large-scale data processing and analysis, including that produced by IoT devices and sensors, may be supported on Azure via the usage of OpenStack.

  • Disaster Recovery - OpenStack is a disaster recovery solution that can be implemented on Azure, enabling businesses to simply and rapidly restore their applications and services in the case of a breakdown or outage

Applications that are best suited for running on an openstack environment

OpenStack offers API-driven access to computing, storage, and networking resources through a modular, open architecture. You may deploy bare metal, virtual machines, and container resources using the adaptable platform, all on the same network.

It makes horizontal scaling easy, which means that tasks that benefit from running concurrently can easily serve more or fewer users on the fly by just spinning up more instances. So the universe of applications running on an OpenStack backend is ever-expanding currently including: 

  • Applications for the web and mobile devices that need scalable and adaptable infrastructure.

  • Apps for big data and analytics that must process and store a lot of data.

  • Applications running on both private and public clouds that demand automation, resource management, and multi-tenancy.

  • Tools like Jenkins, Docker, and Git are needed for automation and integration in CI/CD and DevOps pipelines.

  • SQL, ERP, and CRM systems are examples of enterprise applications that need high availability, disaster recovery, and security.

Steps to install and configure OpenStack cloud in Microsoft Azure

While OpenStack is widely known as a private cloud platform, you can access the same open infrastructure immediately from dozens of public cloud providers around the world.

Whether you want to run containerized applications on bare metal or VMs, OpenStack lets you run containers the best way for your business. The general procedures to install and set up OpenStack cloud in Microsoft Azure are as follows:

  1. 1

    Establish an Azure account then create a virtual network in Azure to host the OpenStack cloud.

  2. 2

    Install OpenStack infrastructure components, such as the control node and network node, using the deployment tools for OpenStack.

  3. 3

    Set up OpenStack components, such as Keystone (identity service), Glance (image service), Nova (compute service), Neutron (network service), and Horizon (dashboard).

  4. 4

    Configure Azure resources, such as virtual machines, storage, and security groups, as well as virtual networks.

  5. 5

    Setup a server and attach a floating IP address, then use SSH to connect to the instance to test the OpenStack deployment.

  6. 6

    Monitoring and supporting the OpenStack deployment on a regular basis is necessary to guarantee its stability and security.

However, for a multi-node deployment, more virtual machines can be added, depending on how many virtual machines are to be supported by the deployment then the method may differ based on the particular needs and the specific OpenStack distribution being used.

OpenStack vs Azure Stack: 5 Key Differences

When you're considering a hybrid cloud approach, it's a good idea to look at options other than OpenStack. One popular alternative is Azure Stack. 

the following key differences may help you evaluate Azure Stack as an alternative to OpenStack hybrid cloud deployments:

Azure Stack



Public cloud services extended into data centers on-premises

Not tied to any specific public cloud, allows organizations to run their own cloud services.

Storage Options

Blob storage, Table storage, Queue storage

Object Storage, Block Storage, Shared File Systems (Swift, Cinder, Manila).


Cloud services charges, typically lower than public Azure but with other typical cloud costs. Total cost is likely to be higher than OpenStack.

Open source, free to download and use. Lower licensing and service fees compared to Azure Stack, but requires a major undertaking for deployment.

Hardware compatibility

Requires certified hardware

Runs on any hardware

Multi-cloud support

Only supports Azure

Runs on any on-premise data center infrastructure

Pros and Cons of using OpenStack on Microsoft Azure

When it comes to deciding on the best suitable hybrid or multi-cloud strategy, the use of OpenStack on Microsoft Azure is a topic worth discussing. On one hand, OpenStack on Azure offers benefits such as:


  • Scalability and Flexibility: 

    OpenStack running on Microsoft Azure provides a scalable and flexible cloud infrastructure that can be easily expanded or contracted as needed.

  • Interoperability:

    OpenStack running on Microsoft Azure allows customers to integrate existing applications and tools with Microsoft Azure services, such as Azure Active Directory, Azure Backup, and Azure Monitor.

  • Integration with Azure Services: 

    OpenStack on Microsoft Azure provides a seamless integration with Azure services, allowing customers to leverage Azure services such as Azure Active Directory, Azure Backup, and Azure Monitor to manage their OpenStack environment.

  • Cost-effective: 

    Running OpenStack on Microsoft Azure can be cost-effective compared to building and maintaining a standalone OpenStack environment, as customers can take advantage of the economies of scale offered by Microsoft Azure.


  • Complexity:

    Installing, configuring, and maintaining OpenStack on Microsoft Azure can be complex and requires a deep understanding of both OpenStack and Microsoft Azure.

  • Limited Support: 

    OpenStack running on Microsoft Azure may have limited support from both Microsoft and the OpenStack community, and may not have access to all features and functionalities available in a standalone OpenStack environment.

  • Compatibility Issues: 

    OpenStack on Microsoft Azure may have compatibility issues with some applications and tools, and may require customization and configuration to work optimally.

  • Vendor Lock-in: 

    Running OpenStack on Microsoft Azure may lead to vendor lock-in, as customers may become dependent on Microsoft Azure services and may not be able to easily switch to another cloud provider.

Tips on how to maximize your productivity with Azure OpenStack

Microsoft Azure simplifies building, deploying, and managing your cloud resources. You can get the most out of it when you use these tips while using the Azure OpenStack. These many tips are based off of practical real-world scenarios to help you boost your productivity with Azure including:

  • Learn a way to use the OpenStack Horizon dashboard: 

    It's crucial to come to be acquainted with the functions and features of the Horizon dashboard because it gives a user-pleasant interface for controlling OpenStack.

  • Automate repetitive jobs:

    Using scripts and technology like Ansible, Chef, or Puppet permit you to shop time and paintings greater efficiently while you automate repeated chores.

  • Preservation of your OpenStack infrastructure:

    This is vital for reaching height, overall performance and uptime. To reveal useful resource use, device health, and overall performance indicators, use gear like Azure Monitor and Log Analytics.

  • Implement catastrophe healing and backup solutions:

     Using Azure Backup, for example, may also help save you information loss and assure commercial enterprise continuity withinside the occasion of a catastrophe.

  • Use Azure offerings: 

    To manipulate identities and furnish entry to OpenStack resources, make use of Azure offerings like Azure Active Directory.

  • Profit from Azure DevOps: 

    This platform gives a huge variety of DevOps gear and offerings, which includes non-stop integration, non-stop delivery, and non-stop deployment. Utilize those technologies to shorten the time it takes to marketplace and streamline your improvement cycle.

  • Keep abreast on OpenStack releases: 

    Updating your OpenStack surroundings on a normal foundation permits you to live modern-day with functions and features whilst additionally addressing any acknowledged insects or safety flaws.

  • Join the OpenStack network with the aid of using collaborating: 

    You may also study the maximum current OpenStack improvements with the aid of using collaborating with inside the network, which additionally gives opportunities to collaborate with different customers and contributors


OpenStack is a key enabler in the adoption of cloud technology and has several common deployment use cases: Public, Private, and Hybrid models, providing a software suite to set up a personal Cloud environment. 

Deploying OpenStack on Azure requires some changes to enable inbound traffic. 

The main changes include adding a static IP for the OpenStack API, setting the OpenStack Controller's FQDN to the hostname, creating a dummy interface for the br-ex external port, and adding iptables NAT rules for outbound connectivity.

About the author


Youssef is a Senior Cloud Consultant & Founder of

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