Dell and Intel bet big on Mirantis OpenStack cloud

Tech heavyweights join WestSummit in pouring $10 million into the open source cloud startup

OpenStack cloud vendor Mirantis has received a hefty $10 million capital injection from the investment arms of Dell, Intel, and WestSummit. The bonanza sets up the company to take on OpenStack rivals such as Rackspace and Piston Computing. What's more, it could garner greater interest in and support for the OpenStack open source cloud platform, which rivals offerings from former OpenStack supporter Citrix with CloudStack, Microsoft, Eucalyptus, and reigning cloud king Amazon Web Services.

A backer of OpenStack since its birth in 2010, Mirantis claims to have the largest pool of engineering expertise in OpenStack and boasts working on more than 30 deployments over the past 18 months for big-name customers such as NASA, WebEx, Gap, PayPal, and AT&T. The company also has dedicated developers contributing to OpenStack Quantum LBaaS, and it helps run the Bay Area OpenStack user group in Silicon Valley.

"We believe that OpenStack is on its way to becoming a universal control plane for the entire application infrastructure fabric," said Adrian Ionel, president and CEO of Mirantis.

Like Mirantis, Intel and Dell are among the founding members of the OpenStack Foundation. Dell, in fact, declared OpenStack its open source cloud platform of choice for both public and private clouds. "OpenStack is a central component of Dell's cloud strategy, and this investment reflects our company's commitment to open source platforms that give our customers more options and flexibility," said Nnamdi Orakwue, vice president of Dell Cloud. "The partnership with Mirantis demonstrates our commitment to the community and our goal of becoming a leading contributor to OpenStack."

The allure of OpenStack is clear, as observed by InfoWorld contributor Oliver Rist: "Like Linux, OpenStack aims to provide a kernel around which all kinds of software vendors can build businesses. But with OpenStack, we're talking multiple projects to provide agile cloud management of compute, storage, and networking resources across the data center -- plus authentication, self-service, resource monitoring, and a slew of other projects. It's hugely ambitious, perhaps the most far-reaching open source project ever, although still at a very early stage."

Mirantis has its work cut out for it as it takes on the likes of Rackspace, which is not only a well-established tech company in its own right but also one of the original developers of the OpenStack platform alongside NASA.

"Mirantis is a true example of the power of OpenStack technology," said Lisa Lambert, vice president at Intel Capital and managing director of the software and services sector. "In just a short amount of time, Mirantis has established itself as a key OpenStack systems integrator by helping numerous early adopters realize the value of the open source cloud movement."

Citrix, with CloudStack, also poses a threat. Although OpenStack is currently the largest and most active open source cloud computing project, interest in the platform reportedly leveled off last quarter as momentum for CloudStack continues to build.

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Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.