Mirantis brings enterprise-ready OpenStack distribution to the cloud

Company claims edge over rivals Red Hat, Canonical, and Suse due to its services background and 'zero lock-in' flexibility

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Earlier this year, the company released a set of homegrown OpenStack cloud management tools, called Fuel, that keep with the company's zero lock-in sentiment. Fuel provides a GUI-driven experience for deployment and management of a variety of OpenStack distributions and plug-ins. It also brings a layer of simplicity to an otherwise time-consuming and often complex deployment process to various configuration flavors of OpenStack, from testing and development to full-scale OpenStack clouds running applications in a production environment. Fuel makes it easy to run and manage multiple OpenStack environments through a single control plane.

The company also launched an open source project called Savanna that aims to make it easier to use Hadoop within an OpenStack cloud. With Savanna, Hadoop can be added "with just one click." Savanna is being developed by leaders in the Apache and OpenStack Foundations with active participation from Mirantis, Hortonworks, and Red Hat.

It also includes Project Murano, another project originally started by Mirantis and developed as a community effort. Murano provides streamlined provisioning and deployment automation via the native OpenStack API and GUI, tailored specifically to enable Windows deployment on demand.

But let's not forget -- OpenStack is not the only cloud computing offering out there. Amazon has been the 800-pound gorilla in the cloud market for many years, and the server virtualization giant VMware has its sights set on taking market share away with its own cloud platform. According to Ionel, OpenStack has at least two advantages over offerings from Amazon and VMware: price and control.

"Much of the interest in OpenStack boils down to price," said Ionel. "Companies like VMware just charge too much. While there are certainly costs associated with adopting open source software in the enterprise, those costs are significantly lower than a bill you would get from Amazon or VMware.

"OpenStack allows you to build a truly private cloud that you control, without getting trapped in the agenda of a third party like Amazon," Ionel said. "Ensuring that data is siloed and secure is extremely important to many enterprises, such as those in financial services. Some e-commerce sites have compliance requirements for processing credit cards and that means they can't even use AWS since it doesn't meet their strict requirements."

At the end of the day, Mirantis may not have the brand-name recognition of Amazon, Red Hat, or VMware, but it is committed to building pure, open source technology and remains deeply integrated in the OpenStack community. The company claims to be the only pure-play OpenStack vendor among the top five contributors to the OpenStack Havana release cycle, and it's a founding board member of the OpenStack foundation.

While it may be small, Mirantis isn't afraid to mix it up with the big boys. Recently the company's co-founder Alex Freedland wrote a blog post where he surmised that the addition of higher-level services to OpenStack would kill off third-party PaaS implementations. That statement ignited a spark on Twitter and caused a number of people to post comments.

Back in March, another controversial story broke when a Mirantis executive said PayPal was "ditching" VMware in favor of OpenStack. That story was backpedalled a week or so later when PayPal representatives were strolled out stating they had no intention of replacing their VMware software. In October 2012 that same Mirantis executive, Boris Renski, who is also an OpenStack Foundation board of director member, came out against VMware's participation in the OpenStack community and publicly expressed his concerns and skepticism about VMware's joining the foundation.

This article, "Mirantis brings enterprise-ready OpenStack distribution to the cloud," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization and cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.

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