Mirantis has emerged in recent years as one of the leading vendors and contributors to the open-source OpenStack cloud platform. Today Mirantis is releasing its OpenStack 7.0 distribution, which bundles its Fuel toolkit for cloud deployment and management alongside common OpenStack components.
Mirantis' first OpenStack distribution debuted two years ago in October 2013 and has been iterating as new upstream OpenStack releases have been coming out ever since. For the Mirantis 7.0 platform, the base is actually the OpenStack Kilo release, which officially became generally available in the open-source community back in April.
Rather than just quickly package up the bits from the upstream OpenStack Kilo release, Mirantis has invested time and effort to make sure that its distribution is very stable for production. Mirantis has raised $200 million in funding in a bid to help bring OpenStack to production deployments across organizations around the world.
"This is the release where we spent more effort on quality and resilience than anything else," Boris Renski, co-founder and CMO of Mirantis, told eWEEK. "Historically, we had been very focused on packing as many features as possible into a release and trying to release as soon as possible, after the upstream OpenStack release."
Renski said that in the past the rush to pack in features was a "necessary evil" but at this point in the maturity of OpenStack, his company has noticed much less of a problem convincing people that OpenStack has all the required features for a cloud.
"The bigger problem is making sure it works," he said.
When organizations try to run OpenStack at scale for a long period of time, a whole bunch of problems and bugs become apparent, according to Renski. That's why for the Mirantis 7 release, the key theme is not about being quick to release by rather on making sure there is proper rigor for testing and scaling. As part of the additional rigor that Mirantis is putting into its new OpenStack release, the company is extending support—from the two years it used to offer to three years with the new Mirantis 7.0 update.
The timing of the new Mirantis 7.0 release is interesting, given that the upstream OpenStack project is currently set to roll out the next major release, code-named Liberty, on Oct. 15. During any OpenStack release cycle, there are lots of bug fixes, and that's certainly true for Liberty. Renski said that Mirantis is the most active bug fixer in the OpenStack community and many of the bug fixes that are landing in Liberty have been backported into the Mirantis 7.0 release.
In terms of new and enhanced features, Mirantis has redone the user interface for its Fuel tools. Renski said that the improvements are about helping to make it easier to deploy and manage at scale. One simple improvement that Renski mentioned is that in prior releases, nodes were represented as big, bulky squares and users would have to scroll down a long screen if they had a large deployment.
"Now we have reworked it so Fuel is more streamlined and manageable for environments that are not limited to just, say, 15 nodes, but rather have hundreds or thousands of nodes," Renski said.
Network configuration is also improved in Mirantis 7.0 with more granular control over network topology for deployment. Plus, there is a new rollback capability that will help with future patch upgrades. With the rollback capability, there is a specific use case for patching; for example, if there is a security vulnerability that needs to be patched in the OpenStack Nova compute project, the patch can be deployed via Fuel, and with the rollback feature, if the patch somehow fails the deployment can be rolled back to the previously known good state for configuration.
"If you're doing an upgrade from Mirantis 6.0 to 7.0, there are some manual steps that have to be performed, but for a patch upgrade from Mirantis 7.0, you can do that in an automated fashion," Renski said. "So our customers can apply patches automatically through Fuel life cycle manager."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.