When it comes to software-defined networks (SDNs), the three clear choices most IT organizations are evaluating are commercial offerings from Cisco and VMware against several open source alternatives. Today, Mirantis threw its weight behind one of those open source options by announcing it now intends to provide commercial support for the OpenContrail SDN technology originally developed by Juniper Networks.
Boris Renski, chief marketing officer for Mirantis, says that OpenContrail has clearly emerged as the most widely implemented SDN in OpenStack environments even though OpenStack includes a rival Neutron environment. The primary issue is that in terms of scalability, Neutron has not matured at the same rate as OpenStack compute and storage management technologies. Because of that issue, Renski says, OpenContrail has emerged as a de facto SDN standard in OpenStack environments that Mirantis has made the core of its business.
“We’re supporting OpenContrail simply because it’s already been adopted by some of our largest customers,” says Renski.
Mirantis, adds Renski, will support OpenContrail SDNs deployed by an internal IT organization or via a managed service provided by Mirantis. In addition, Mirantis is pledging to implement the OpenContrail control plane as a series of containers that can be more easily ported between different IT environments. Mirantis is already contributing to a similar effort to make the control plane for OpenStack available as a series of container modules as well.
Obviously, it’s still early days when it comes to SDN platforms in the enterprise. But going into 2017, it’s clear that a major shift to SDNs is under way. The issue IT organizations will need to decide next is to what degree they want to rely on proprietary versus open source technologies to make that transition.