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Mirantis Snags Czech MSP To Speed Up Development Of Managed OpenStack Technology

The pure-play OpenStack vendor has agreed to buy TCP Cloud, a Prague-based MSP working on a module for continuously deploying OpenStack updates.

Mirantis has agreed to purchase a Czech Republic-based managed services provider that should expedite the OpenStack vendor's development of a pipeline to deploy cloud infrastructure updates to customer data centers, the company revealed Thursday.

TCP Cloud, an MSP headquartered in Prague that supports OpenStack, as well as the OpenContrail network virtualization platform and the Kubernetes container orchestrator; is the first company the Mountain View, Calif.-based startup has acquired since its founding in 2011.

The most appealing trait of the Czech company was its ongoing project to enable continuous OpenStack software delivery to customer infrastructure, allowing private clouds to function more like their public counterparts, said Alex Freedland, Mirantis' co-founder and CEO.

[Related: Mirantis Sidesteps Red Hat Resistance To Rival OpenStack Software Running On Its Dominant Linux, Red Hat Calls Foul]

Mirantis was developing a similar logistics module for managing continual updates, Freedland said, but saw that it was nine months behind the Czech company — an eternity in the rapidly advancing cloud marketplace.

"They have expertise in the areas where we're slightly weak. This fills a gap in our knowledge base," Freedland said.

"We believe that when you start looking at the evolution of the cloud, the real value is not necessarily in the technology, which will continue to evolve and commoditize open source. But the constant value will be in the delivery model," Freedland told CRN.

Public cloud providers like AWS pioneered a model through which customers always have before them the latest and greatest versions of their technologies. Customers want that attribute in their own data centers using their own technology stacks, he said.

"Delivery is the differentiating factor," Freedland said. "The services needed for the cloud world will always be there, but how you deliver them in a continuous basis is where the value is."

Outlining the benefits for partners, Freedland said, "If you are an SI, you can bring our managed cloud to your customer, and we will give you the constant delivery of bits and managed services offering."

Partners can either manage workloads, with Mirantis managing the underlying infrastructure, or they can take charge of both elements themselves, he said.


TCP, with 30 employees in Eastern Europe, emerged on Mirantis' radar when it beat the Silicon Valley company, the world's largest pure-play OpenStack vendor, in a deal. The customer Mirantis lost said "they found a little company in Europe managing the lifecycle of OpenStack more flexibly than we were," Freedland said.

That prompted meetings at a conference in Berlin, followed by a few days of negotiations outside Prague that ended in an agreement to buy TCP Cloud.

Merging with TCP Cloud will allow Mirantis to begin beta testing the logistics module by the fourth quarter of this year, and roll out the product by the first quarter of 2017, more than half a year ahead of its original milestone schedule.

Chris Clason, CTO of Mirantis' Platform Engineering Group, will move to Prague and lead those development efforts, using TCP Cloud's work as the main trunk of the project, Freedland said.

The pipeline for OpenStack updates will employ an entirely container-based architecture, with Docker containers as delivery vehicles and Kubernetes as an orchestrator to standardize deployments. Mirantis is also adding monitoring and managed services components to make sure customer clouds are always running and always meeting expectations, he said.

Mirantis' overall OpenStack vision, Freedland said, is a single platform for running containers, bare-metal servers and virtual machines.

Once released, the continuous delivery tools will be contributed to Fuel, the OpenStack deployment and management platform. Nothing will remain proprietary.

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