The general perception of OpenStack is that as a collection of emerging technologies for managing the cloud, this effort by a consortium of some of the largest vendors in IT has a lot of promise. OpenStack is also generally viewed as being something so complex that only IT organizations with a lot of do-it-yourself expertise have any hope of successfully implementing it.
Mirantis, which today is making available a distribution based on OpenStack, would beg to differ. According to Mirantis CEO Adrian Ionel, Mirantis OpenStack is designed to allow IT organizations to get up and running with OpenStack in a couple of days with a minimal amount of support.
Instead of requiring weeks and months of consulting expertise, Ionel says OpenStack Mirantis is designed to give organizations all the benefits of virtual data center technologies in a way that is not only simple to deploy, as open source software it’s also considerably less expensive to adopt. In fact, Ionel says it’s the exorbitant cost of VMware that is driving much of the interest in OpenStack.
Ionel also notes that with the latest advances in OpenStack, the line between infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) is starting to blur, which should help to further reduce the cost of embracing cloud computing. The latest release of OpenStack, known as Havana, includes an orchestration engine for automating the deployment of applications based on defined sets of patterns, which Mirantis will support next month.
The current release of OpenStack Mirantis is based on the Grizzly release of OpenStack and includes support for three related OpenStack projects: Fuel, Savanna and Murano. The Mirantis OpenStack Distribution also supports Ceth as the back end for object and block storage and includes an early preview of drivers for vSphere virtualization platform.
While there is a lot of vendor support for OpenStack, the risk of fragmentation still exists. Some vendors are implementing stacks of services that make use of some but not every element of OpenStack by essentially replacing certain components with proprietary offerings which they argue are better. While that may be true, those options come at a cost. In reality, the whole point of OpenStack is to help reduce the cost of enterprise IT at a time when the level of scale required to succeed is beyond the financial means of most organizations. That may mean settling for an OpenStack framework that is “good enough,” which historically has beaten the very best in almost every IT category.