Mirantis scores sweet Vodafone deal. More fuel for the OpenStack fire

It’s the week of the bi-annual OpenStack Summit, so no surprise that Mirantis has some announcements in the pipeline

Mirantis scores sweet Vodafone deal. More fuel for the OpenStack fire
Mirantis

I’ve been covering Mirantis for the longest time. They’re an easy company to write about. Seemingly every drama in the IT industry has some kind of Mirantis involvement, and while that might be a slight exaggeration, it’s fair to say that they’re good at providing fodder for the peanut brigade.

Most recently, Mirantis has been undergoing something of a transformation, as market dynamics and the realities of their initially chosen areas (that of being a specialist OpenStack service shop) didn’t really prove viable. In recent months, Mirantis has significantly cut staffing levels and pivoted somewhat to being a service provider across a variety of open-source cloud operating systems (most notable Kuberenetes).

+ Also on Network World: Mirantis shifts again, will offer managed solutions based on open-source technologies +

So, it was kind of surprising to hear that in the leadup to this week’s OpenStack Summit in Boston, Mirantis is still scoring OpenStack wins. Despite various pundits questioning whether OpenStack is still “a thing,” it seems there is enough substance for vendors like Mirantis to succeed. Indeed, it was interesting to get the thoughts of Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, on Mirantis’ progress. Bryce is the perennial whipping boy of the OpenStack criticism brigade, and he came out with what I would class as a thinly veiled statement of frustration:

"If you're only defining cloud computing as the big three hyperscale providers, you’re missing the big moves happening at the edge of the network. AT&T alone is already supporting customers with OpenStack in nearly 100 data centers, alongside carriers like Verizon, China Mobile and Deutsche Telekom. In terms of sheer footprint, OpenStack is the most widely distributed cloud infrastructure for virtualized networks, and the Vodafone deal is the most recent example.”

Indeed—which brings us to that Vodafone deal Bryce referred to and Mirantis' part to play in it. The company announced it was chosen to deliver OpenStack as part of Vodafone’s network virtualization program. The program, Vodafone Ocean, is a framework for developing, testing and deploying software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) technologies. Vodafone seems pretty bullish on both OpenStack and Mirantis’ value proposition:

“Mirantis was selected for its technology, innovation and leadership in the OpenStack community and its ability to work with different vendors, engineers and operations teams to deliver OpenStack-based VIM. An open and multi-vendor cloud infrastructure is key for delivering better, faster and smarter services to our customers,” said David Amzallag, head of network virtualization, SDN and NFV for Vodafone Group. “We look forward to working closely with Mirantis as part of our Vodafone Ocean activities.''

My POV

Coming hot on the heels of Mirantis’ moves into Kubernetes, what are we to make of this news? Does this show that OpenStack is big enough to build a business on? Not really, OpenStack is certainly a thing, but the fact of the matter is that a good proposition of its huge adoption is within the research, education and service provider space.

All of those are valid markets, but importantly, they’re not highly lucrative for service providers. To put it another way, just because a technology is the underpinning of huge usage, it doesn’t mean there is money to be made out of enabling that usage.

Mirantis had little option (given its investors’ expectations and market realities) but to broaden beyond OpenStack. But given that this announcement is being made the week of the OpenStack summit, it is yet another confirmation that OpenStack really is “a thing.”

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