Dell, Intel and Chinese venture firm back OpenStack consultancy Mirantis for $10M

OpenStack backers are rounding out their strategy related to the project

Two big names in the OpenStack movement -- Dell and Intel -- have thrown money behind a consultancy that has carved a niche out helping users deploy the open source cloud platform.

Mirantis today announced $10 million worth of funding from the two tech giants, along with West Summit Capital, a technology venture firm with roots in China, where the OpenStack project has a strong following.

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The news that Dell is backing Mirantis is perhaps the most interesting, though. Despite being one of the earliest backers of the project, a VP with the company recently announced that the company's OpenStack-powered public cloud may not be launched until the end of 2013, citing an immaturity of the project's code.

Mirantis officials say their experience deploying OpenStack projects for customers including PayPal, AT&T, HP and WebEx is valuable to Dell in deploying its public cloud. In addition to IP that Mirantis will provide Dell, the two companies will also have a joint go-to-market strategy where the companies will refer customers to each other. Mirantis officials emphasized it is a non-exclusive agreement, though, and that its consultants would still recommend whatever the best hardware option is for customers. Dell also has somewhat of a competing product with Mirantis in Crowbar -- an installer tool for open source cloud components.

As for Intel's involvement, Mirantis co-founder and EVP Boris Renski -- who also sits on the OpenStack board of directors -- says Intel has traditionally been a backer of open source companies and projects. As OpenStack code is deployed at customer sites, Renski says Intel officials want to know trends in how underlying hardware that Intel makes can be modified to optimize the deployments. "Intel is a universal component of almost any infrastructure stack with their focus on microchips," Renski says. "In that context, the overall open cloud movement is very relevant to them."

Intel, he says, has a significant internal initiative to build an OpenStack cloud within the company and Intel programmers have consistently been adding code to the open source project, specifically to ensure embedded security features at the chip level can be exposed in OpenStack deployments. Developments around virtual machine security at the chip level are future advancements Intel is working to implement within OpenStack, to which Mirantis officials hope to help contribute.

West Capital Summit is the third backer of Mirantis announced today. "OpenStack has been huge in APAC," Renski says, and having a Chinese partner is essential to penetrating that market, he adds.

OpenStack officials have announced their next developer and user summit for the Grizzly release of the code will be in Portland, Ore., in early April. Officials are discussing the summit for the next "H" release of the code to be in some international location, most likely in Asia to reflect the project's strong adoption there.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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