Mirantis Takes On Red Hat, Canonical And HP With Its Own OpenStack Distribution

Unveiled Monday, Mirantis OpenStack is a more flexible alternative to the many flavors of OpenStack that are already out there, with "zero vendor lock-in" and support for multiple operating systems and hypervisors, Mirantis CEO Adrian Ionel said in an interview prior to the announcement.

While OpenStack was founded as a non-proprietary alternative to VMware and Amazon, OpenStack distributions from Red Hat, Canonical and Hewlett-Packard all come with hooks to proprietary software, Ionel said.

[Related: VMware Expands Its Cloud Management Muscle To Public Clouds ]

That's why the open approach that Mirantis is taking with its OpenStack distribution is unique in the space, he added.

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"We think our OpenStack distribution is very different from anything else on the market," Ionel told CRN. " We have a reputation for building OpenStack clouds that work and are scalable."

Mirantis has a team of more than 120 engineers that have been working on its OpenStack distribution for the past 18 months, and it will be shipping new releases every six to eight weeks, Ionel said.

Mirantis has 470 employees overall, 380 of which are OpenStack-dedicated engineers, Ionel said.

Mirantis has established a name for itself by building custom OpenStack clouds for large customers and handling all of the heavy lifting that comes with these projects. Mirantis also counts eBay, The Gap, AT&T and Verizon as customers, among other firms.

Mirantis built a cloud for PayPal that is now running more than 4,000 virtual machines and delivers customer-facing apps "with a production-grade level of service," Ionel told CRN.

Fuel, the set of homegrown OpenStack cloud management tools that Mirantis released to open source in March, is another key point of differentiation, Ionel told CRN. It includes pre-tested deployment scripts for everything from testing and development to full-scale OpenStack clouds running apps in production, he said.

Mirantis also offers services that help customers put more workloads onto OpenStack and move off of VMware and Amazon Web Services, Ionel said.

In April, Mirantis launched an open-source project called Project Savanna that aims to make Apache Hadoop run smoothly on OpenStack clouds. Mirantis is building the framework and partnering with Red Hat for the underlying infrastructure and Hortonworks for the Hadoop parts.