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I'm quite new to all this *aaS thing, and currently I'm trying to wrap my head around concepts and how things basically work.

What puzzles me quite a bit at the moment is the difference between a variety of products, especially the following three:

  • OpenStack
  • CloudFoundry
  • Stackato

The last one is the easiest for me to grasp: It's basically a software that manages application and service instances so you can push a custom-developed application to it and tell it to run this on a number of instances, so Stackato takes care of how to distribute the application.

But now I've read that Stackato is related to CloudFoundry (see Are they basically two products similar to each other that you can exchange for one another? Is the one a fork of the other (like Jenkins and Hudson), or how are they related?

And then I've read that you can Install CloudFoundry on top of OpenStack. I initially had thought that OpenStack is basically just another option, but apparently it's not, but something more low-level.

Can anybody please shed some light on this, and give me some hints?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

All three can provide platform as a service. (IE, a database as a service.) and you can write applications that run on them.

Openstack also provides Infrastructure as a service, (IE, a full virtual server.)

You can run CloudFoundry and Stackato on top of Openstack.

Stackato is a built on top of CloudFoundry with ActiveState adding additional features.

A bit more info in this answer. But since Cloudfoundry was started by VMWare, it's safe to assume it was originally mean to run on top of VMWare's VSphere.

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