The worlds of OpenStack and containers are colliding

Google and Mirantis partner to run OpenStack in containers

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One of the largest backers of OpenStack – Mirantis – is reconstructing its distribution of the open source cloud computing platform to make it run in containers, marking a potentially massive shift for the project.

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Mirantis today announced a partnership with Google in which the two companies will develop integrations between OpenStack and Google’s container management platform named Kubernetes, which is also an open source project. The end goal will be that OpenStack will be able to run atop Kubernetes, encapsulated in a series of application containers. Doing so will make it easier for end users to update OpenStack to newer versions, and it gives users the freedom to run OpenStack anywhere Kubernetes is supported, says Mirantis Chief Marketing Officer Boris Renski.

“OpenStack has always had a problem of being difficult to operate and install,” says Wikibon analyst Brian Gracely. It led to people asking the question: What if you treat OpenStack like an app that runs in a container on a container management platform? It’s a theory that CoreOS’s founder Alex Polvi suggested at the most recent OpenStack Summit in Austin.

Google has an incentive to make this partnership: If Google can get enterprises to use Kubernetes and OpenStack, then when those enterprises look to a public cloud platform, they’ll be more likely to choose Google’s cloud. Meanwhile, for Mirantis, it gives them some added expertise in Kubernetes.

Gracely says there’s one problem though: Users will still have to run OpenStack, and now they’ll need to learn how to run Kubernetes too. Gracely says it’s too soon to tell if this integration is a prescription to fix OpenStack’s manageability issues, or if it’s a glorified science project to prove that OpenStack running as an app in containers atop Kubernetes can be done.

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