Mirantis Fuels New OpenStack Cloud Distribution

As the line blurs between Paas and IaaS, the OpenStack services vendor includes Windows integration and Hadoop as a service in its new cloud distribution.


The open-source OpenStack cloud platform distribution landscape is getting a bit more crowded today with the announcement of the new Mirantis OpenStack distribution.

Mirantis is no stranger to the OpenStack market and has been a leading services vendor in the space since OpenStack first burst onto the cloud scene three years ago.

As the line blurs between platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS), the OpenStack services vendor is including Windows integration and Hadoop as a service in its new cloud distribution. OpenStack is well-known for its IaaS features, which include compute, storage and networking platform capabilities.

Until now, Mirantis' primary focus has been on services and training, though the company also has an open-source toolkit known as Fuel. Fuel provides additional open-source tools, which are not part of the main OpenStack project, for cloud deployment and management.

With its new OpenStack distribution, Mirantis now enters the competitive field for OpenStack distributions that already has multiple vendors, including Red Hat, Canonical, SUSE, Cisco, Nebula and Piston Cloud Computing, among others.

Although the Mirantis OpenStack distribution is only being officially announced today, it has been in deployment for up to nine months at customers, including eBay, Ericsson and Expedia, Mirantis President and CEO Adrian Ionel told eWEEK.

OpenStack on its own is a cloud platform technology and doesn't directly include an underlying operating system. The Mirantis OpenStack distribution offers users the choice of multiple operating systems, including Red Hat, CentOS, SUSE and Ubuntu Linux. If an enterprise already has an operating system vendor relationship, Mirantis will work with the existing vendor. For example, if a Mirantis OpenStack customer is running Red Hat Enterprise Linux, that customer is already getting operating system support from Red Hat.

Red Hat has its own OpenStack distribution, called the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform (OSP), which was released earlier this year. That platform includes both the OpenStack bits as well as an optimized Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform.

Red Hat integrated the open-source Open vSwitch technology into its OSP release, which is critical to enabling OpenStack's networking capabilities. The core Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and 6 (RHEL) platforms do not currently include Open vSwitch.

Ionel said that Mirantis OpenStack can run on RHEL and his company will just add Open vSwitch support.

Operating Systems

Since Mirantis can support any number of different OS vendors, it is in a position to recommend to enterprises which one might work best for a new cloud deployment.

Linux vendor Ubuntu is closely aligned with OpenStack, Ionel said. "For customers that are seeking to be more on the innovative edge, Ubuntu is a very good choice," Ionel said. "On the other side of the spectrum, we have customers that are extremely conservative and concerned about robustness and, there, RHEL is the prime choice."

For enterprises that are cost-conscious and technically advanced on their own, there is another option. The freely available CentOS Linux distribution, which is a clone of RHEL, is good choice for Mirantis OpenStack deployments, as well.
"You don't get the same support with CentOS as you get from RHEL," Ionel said

Platform as a Service

The Mirantis OpenStack distribution includes all the core compute, storage and networking modules that the main OpenStack project offers. The OpenStack Havana platform was released last week, including new orchestration and monitoring capabilities that Mirantis is also supporting.

Ionel said, however, that Mirantis is also providing even more advanced PaaS capabilities that have yet to make it into the core OpenStack release. Among those capabilities is the ability to offer the Hadoop big data platform as a service with OpenStack Savanna.

Savanna is currently an incubator project at the OpenStack Foundation and enables Hadoop on demand, on top of OpenStack. (Incubator projects are not yet considered by the OpenStack Foundation to be production-ready for the integrated OpenStack platform release.)

Mirantis OpenStack also includes Murano, which is another incubator OpenStack project. OpenStack Murano is an effort to enable Windows deployment on demand.

"We are seeing that OpenStack is creating some PaaS-type services that developers and application owners can easily consume," Ionel said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.