Mirantis CEO: Google Partnership Was 'Love At First Sight'

Mirantis is partnering with its celebrated Mountain View, Calif., neighbor to bring to market a version of OpenStack that offers out-of-the-box integration with Google's Kubernetes container management service as well as one-click interoperability with Google's cloud.

The next Mirantis OpenStack release, due this summer, will make "Kubernetes a first-class citizen within OpenStack," said Adrian Ionel, Mirantis' CEO.

Google and Mirantis "married their expertise to offer the best container experience possible to enterprises using Kubernites," Ionel told CRN, adding, "Developers love containers because it makes it easy to build new apps and run on multiple cloud platforms without having to rewrite them."

[Related: Mirantis Releases Latest OpenStack Distribution With Powerful Plug-In Architecture]

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Google designed Kubernetes to orchestrate, at scale, clusters of containers -- a technology akin to virtual machines that the search giant has long used internally. For years, the predecessor to Kubernetes was used exclusively within Google, which runs billions of containers each day.

But over the past year and a half, with the advent of Docker, what one Google executive called "a de facto standard for Linux containers" has emerged. The search engine giant open-sourced the Kubernetes technology in June in response to the resurgence of container technology led by Docker.

"The challenge is its fairly complex to use and it doesn't natively integrate with OpenStack," Ionel said of Kubernetes. "Enterprises would like to manage containers as part of an OpenStack fabric and combine them with other tools and capabilities like VMs and bare metal into one environment."

For enterprises to continue adopting Docker, Kubernetes and OpenStack, Ionel said, they need those open-source offerings to come with certain guaranteed capabilities as far as automation, security and networking in addition to acceptable SLAs.

An open-source offering backed by Google and Mirantis will go a long way toward achieving that aim, Ionel told CRN.

In addition to easing Kubernetes use and deployment, the upcoming Mirantis OpenStack release was engineered to improve interoperability with several public cloud platforms, especially Compute Engine, Google's IaaS offering.

Mirantis is demoing the release this week at a Google Meetup in San Francisco. It will go into tech preview in April, and a few months later an enterprise version should be generally available.

While the official release is still months away, Mirantis, as is its practice, has already upstreamed the code base to StackForge, Ionel said.

The developer has been working with containers for the past half-year, he said, and with Google for the past few months. The experience has been "spectacular," Ionel told CRN.

"Like Mirantis, they are an engineering, product-focused company," he said. "From the moment we brought our engineering groups together, it's been love at first sight."

While the vast majority of Mirantis' business still comes from direct sales, the pure-play OpenStack vendor is building a channel.

The Google-friendly OpenStack version will be available to its nascent partner network, Ionel said, but the company's leaders haven't yet thought through whether they will try to leverage their new partnership to recruit Google's partners as their own.