Mirantis And Pivotal: An IaaS-PaaS Relationship Born Of Joint Engagements

It wasn't so long ago that Mirantis, the largest pure-play OpenStack vendor out there, and Pivotal, owner of the Cloud Foundry development platform, had little to do with each other, and both seemed to prefer it that way.

Then came some large joint accounts for the startups based in the neighboring Silicon Valley cities of Mountain View and Palo Alto -- something seemingly inevitable, given the popularity of each developer's distribution of its respective open-source cloud technology, sitting on adjacent levels of the cloud stack.

"We've been friends with them for about half a year now," Mirantis co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Boris Renski said of Pivotal, the EMC-VMware spinoff. The experience of working together for the same customers organically fostered a relationship between the once strictly uncooperative companies, he told CRN.

[Related: An OpenStack Dozen: Who's Getting In The Game, Who's Hanging On, And Who's Bowing Out]

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That relationship became official Monday when the two vendors inked a partnership to deliver Mirantis OpenStack, the third-most-popular distribution of the dominant open-source Infrastructure-as-a-Service technology, directly integrated with Pivotal Cloud Foundry, the leading open-source Platform-as-a-Service.

The partnership, by unifying the orchestration and platform layers, empowers Mirantis customers to deploy Cloud Foundry out of the box with essentially a single click, Renski said.

"We have a proven architecture for running Cloud Foundry on OpenStack," Renski told CRN, the result of the mutual ventures that spurred the move to unify the open-source offerings.

To advance the partnership, Mirantis has become a Pivotal Cloud Foundry reseller and plans to make Pivotal Cloud Foundry available through Murano, the OpenStack application catalog, Renski said.

The integrated IaaS-PaaS offering will make it easier for enterprise customers to quickly stand up private clouds that deliver a powerful development platform, according to Renski.

"This relationship, more so than any other partnership that we have, exemplifies the power of us as a pure-play OpenStack vendor, which ultimately enables us to partner with best-of-breed vendors in the OpenStack ecosystem and provide complete stacks to customers," Renski said.

That pure-play quality, Renski said, gives Mirantis a leg up on much larger, diversified competitors like Red Hat, which has its own PaaS product, OpenShift; or HP, which offers a customized Cloud Foundry distribution called Helion Development Platform.

Red Hat and HP must rely on integrating their OpenStack distributions with PaaS offerings that have "questionable traction," Renski said.

The difference is "we can provide PaaS to our customers -- not the one we'd like them to have because it's our product, but the one they want to use," he told CRN.

For Pivotal to consent to the partnership, Mirantis had to contractually agree that it would never develop its own Cloud Foundry distribution. When Mirantis joined the Cloud Foundry Foundation last month, the company publicly stated its only goal was to partner with various distribution vendors.

Which doesn't limit the company from seeking partnerships with other PaaS, and Cloud Foundry, vendors, such as the one it maintains with Stackato, Renski said.