Mirantis' new version of OpenStack is good for Mirantis, not so good for the OpenStack story

The release of an incremental version of software shouldn't be newsworthy, but when it relates to the heralded OpenStack initiaitve, it's worth a look.

openstack photo

Mirantis, the high-flying vendor whose single focus is on delivering OpenStack to the world, is today releasing its latest version of the software. Mirantis OpenStack 7.0 is an incremental release. OpenStack is, of course, the open-source cloud computing initiative first started by Rackspace and NASA some five years ago. Since then there has been massive interest in the project, with a plethora of vendors founded (and, sadly, many now gone) to pursue the opportunity.

But along with all the interest, there has been concern. People have pointed to the relative instability and immaturity of OpenStack as a cause for concern. While recent releases have seemed more stable, and production deployments of OpenStack are now a common occurrence, there is still a degree of uncertainty about OpenStack's readiness for prime time.

In announcing this release, Mirantis mentions that this release will "[raise] the industry bar on stability of large-scale OpenStack clouds." That's hardly a ringing endorsement for the core version of OpenStack. Of course, therein lies the tension; Mirantis needs to talk up OpenStack as a project while justifying its existence. The best way to do that (and, I must add, a credible story to boot) is by saying that only through the use of an "enterprise-grade" distro such as Mirantis' can organizations get the reliability they demand.

To this end, Mirantis is extending the support period on this release from two years to three; it seems pretty confident about this latest version. It's not all bad; Mirantis does give the general OpenStack project some kudos in an executive soundbite:

“Early OpenStack releases were all about more features fast, as it was important to gain minimum feature parity to VMware, Microsoft and other cloud solution providers,” said Boris Renski, Mirantis CMO and co-founder. “Today the feature parity gap is largely closed with enterprises such as  AT&T, Symantec, Walmart and many other Global 2000 enterprises running OpenStack at massive scale. The development priorities for OpenStack in both the community and at Mirantis have shifted from feature racing to stability at scale and day two operations.”

Interestingly, and perhaps a nod to the demographic of customer Mirantis is attractive to, the company is pushing this distribution as the "most VMware-friendly distribution," the release features out-of-the box integration with VMware vCenter while offering choice in networking, including, but not limited to, Cisco ACI, Juniper Contrail and VMware NSX fabrics.

Final words are ones that can be expected in an open-source project where development happens out in the open. That said, it's not really a way to inspire massive confidnce: "During the OpenStack Kilo release cycle, Mirantis fixed more bugs in the upstream OpenStack community than any other vendor." Hmmmm.

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