Photon OS vs Photon Platform

The question puzzled me a lot, which is the difference between the Photon OS and Photon Platform. So I decided to clarify the differences between them in this article so that we can keep this as a useful reference.


What is Photon OS?

The photon system is an open source, built on the lowest level of Linux distributions for vSphere to run the container. What this means is that VMware has stripped all packages and binaries that all users do not need at the moment.
The result is minimal operating system size, as well as reduced attack opportunities where there are no open ports or services that are not just necessary for the container.
Although it has been optimized to get the best performance on vSphere, we can run OS Photon freely on any cloud we choose, for more details read this article.


What is Photon Platform?

Photon Platform is a container-optimized cloud platform which delivers on-demand tools and services for developers to build, test, and run modern applications while enabling IT to retain security, control, and performance of data center infrastructure.

Purpose-built for cloud-native applications with integrated container infrastructure support, Photon Platform is a fully API-driven, multi-tenant platform which brings the scale, performance and features previously accessible only to hyper-scale web companies into enterprise data centers.

It leverages industry-leading compute, networking, and storage technologies to bring best-in-class performance, reliability, and ease-of-use for cloud-native workloads.

A whole new infrastructure stack designed with containers and cloud-native applications. Photon Controller is a scheduler for ESXi hosts. It can schedule VM’s to be provisioned to any of the ESXi hosts you make available to it. The controller can also scale horizontally for redundancy and performance. Photon Controller also features out of the box commands to deploy Kubernetes in a single command.

Download Photon Controller…

Architecture overview…

Ex of whole Photon Platform architecture…


Components of Photon Platform

Photon Controller

  • A scale-out control plane that turns compute hosts into an easy-to-manage single system
  • Aggregates and exposes IaaS services for secure container and modern app runtimes via IaaS APIs
  • Simplifies deployment and lifecycle management of computing, networking, security, storage and operations functions
  • Complete life-cycle management of advanced developer services (Kubernetes and Harbor)

Photon OS

  • A lightweight operating system optimized for containers


  • Industry-leading hypervisor running on bare metal for virtualization


  • Networking virtualization based on NSX technology


  • Hyper-converged storage based on vSAN technology


Thanks for Reading!

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