May 26, 2017

Moving to accelerate the rate at which the OpenStack cloud platform can be hosted on the Kubernetes container orchestration platform, Mirantis today announced it has acquired TCP Cloud.

Based in Prague, TCP Cloud provides managed services around deployments of OpenStack, OpenContrail and Kubernetes technologies. Mirantis CEO Alex Freedland says the addition of technology developed by TCP Cloud will reduce the amount of time it would have taken Mirantis to move OpenStack to Kubernetes by six to nine months. As a result, he says, Mirantis expects to show the first fruits of a joint development effort involving CoreOS, Google and Intel in the first quarter of 2017.

In addition, Mirantis plans to incorporate the design patterns that TCP Cloud has implemented for managing infrastructure as code into the next version of Mirantis Fuel, the provisioning tools that Mirantis provides around its curated distribution of OpenStack. Mirantis has previously committed to hosting Fuel on top of Kubernetes as well.

In terms of moving OpenStack to Kubernetes, there is a growing sense of urgency as hybrid cloud computing matures. Amazon Web Services (AWS) doesn’t private an instance of AWS that can be deployed on-premises. Microsoft has committed to do in the form of an instance of Azure. But that will be available only when bundled with new server and storage infrastructure sometime in 2017. In contrast, Google has made extensive use of Kubernetes in the development of the Google Cloud Platform. Having an instance of OpenStack running on top of Kubernetes running on-premises would go a long way toward advancing Google’s own hybrid cloud computing ambition by making the Google Cloud appear to be a more natural extension of an OpenStack environment running on-premises.

In general, Freedland says, modern DevOps is rapidly evolving into an exercise in logistics. There are numerous steps between when an application is developed and then deployed that are simplified greatly using containers. The opportunity now is to automate as much of that process as possible.

Of course, it remains to be seen what impact using Kubernetes essentially as an underlay for OpenStack ultimately will have. Thus far, no other provider of a distribution of OpenStack has latched on to the project. But Mirantis rivals including Red Hat have already made extensive commitments to both Kubernetes and OpenStack. Mirantis, meanwhile, is making a case for an independent distribution of OpenStack that is not coupled tightly to any particular operating system.

As OpenStack continues to mature it’s clear that both IT service providers and large companies such as Volkswagen have the engineering resources to implement it. The rest of the enterprise IT market might be slower to give up reliance on proprietary platforms from VMware and Microsoft. But as the cost of using those platforms at scale becomes more apparent, Mirantis is betting that more IT organizations will either become comfortable with deploying a curated implementation of OpenStack or rely on an instance of OpenStack that is managed by a third party on their behalf.

Whatever the outcome, the ability to integrate OpenStack with the next generation of container orchestration technologies in one form or another is now a major priority for the entire open-source community.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.