Mirantis shifts again, will offer managed solutions based on open-source technologies

No longer a pure-play OpenStack vendor, Mirantis will concentrate on strategy, site readiness, and cloud tenant on-boarding and care

Mirantis to offer managed solutions based on open-source technologies
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Mirantis is (or, as we will see, was) known as the pure play OpenStack vendor. The company focused on offering large organizations products and services that helped them leverage the open-source, OpenStack cloud computing platform to build their own clouds for internal or external use.

Over time, however, there has been some doubt cast upon how much of a market opportunity there is for these sort of OpenStack service providers. The OpenStack ecosystem has been the source of much angst as consolidation, rationalization and unrealized hopes and dreams too their toll.

Mirantis' 'evolution'

Mirantis was not immune from these impacts and last year announced its intention to move away from a pure-play OpenStack strategy and become an organization that helped its customers build infrastructure solutions based on a number of different platforms, OpenStack included. At the time, there were rumors that Mirantis wasn’t seeing the return customers it had hoped for and that most of its deals were one-time gigs that didn’t really allow it to build a recurring, sustainable business.

The company clarified its situation this week with an update on its “evolution” away from simply delivering software and towards a deeper series of offerings that promise customers turnkey infrastructure solutions. In something of a soul-searching treatise, Mirantis admitted:

It was clear that the future consumption model for infrastructure is defined by public clouds where everything is self-service, API-driven, fully managed and continuously delivered. It was also clear that most vendors, Mirantis included, had misinterpreted where the core of cloud disruption was, overemphasizing disruption in software capabilities around “self-service and API-driven,” while largely ignoring the disruption in delivery approach codified as “fully managed and continuously delivered.” Private cloud had become a label for the new type of software, whereas public cloud was a label for a combination of software and, most importantly, a new delivery model. Private cloud had failed and we needed to change.

Part of this change included an internal rebuild of the company, which included the build out of new engineering and operations teams focused on technologies other than OpenStack. The focus changed to offering customers managed solutions based upon open-source technologies. Instead of one-off cloud infrastructure integration, Mirantis will concentrate more on strategy, site readiness, and cloud tenant on-boarding and care.

Mirantis moves jobs out of Russia and Ukraine

As part of this soul searching, Mirantis leadership realized that some of the cultural and business implications of its Russia- and Ukraine-based operations teams were sub-optimal. This is increasingly the case in an environment where political changes over the past few months have cast something of a shadow over anything aligned to Russia. Mirantis, therefore, took the opportunity, alongside other changes, to shift a big chunk of its Russia and Ukraine jobs to the U.S., Poland and the Czech Republic.

Part of the reason for Mirantis sharing this operating information is to reassure a market that has been a little unsure as to the company's fortunes. But there are more personal reasons, too. Alex Friedland, co-founder of Mirantis, pointed out:

As founders, we felt it was important to share this update publicly, not just because we want the world to know that Mirantis is changing, but also because this transformation is personal to us. We founded Mirantis back in 2000—originally a small IT services firm—and following this change, some of the best friends and colleagues who have been traveling with us for well over a decade will no longer be with the company.

My POV

First thing's first: The famed Mirantis parties will be less wild events. That impact, while sad for some, is irrelevant to most customers of the company, so what does this mean for them?

Clearly the perceived issues around the Russian aspects of the company will largely be resolved with these changes. However, some questions still hang over the company and its ability to build a sustainable business. While it has picked up significant funding over the years, as those legendary parties show, Mirantis hasn’t been shy to spend that cash. Whether the company will gain the traction it needs to build longer term viability will be seen in the future.

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