May 24, 2017

At the Dockercon 2017 conference this week Mirantis moved to tie Kubernetes and OpenStack more tightly together via a managed cloud service that enables IT organizations to manage both platforms via a single console.

Boris Renksi, chief marketing officer for Miratis, says rather than having to bring their own IT staffs up to speed on both Kubernetes and OpenStack separately, Mirantis Cloud Platform (MCP) 1.0 enables organizations to rely expertise provided by Mirantis as a service.

As part of that business model shift, Mirantis this week also revealed it will be curbing future investments in its own distribution of OpenStack and the Fuel management software it has developed. Mirantis plans to transition customers employing Mirantis OpenStack and Fuel to MCP by September 2019.

In addition to OpenStack and Kubernetes, MCP makes use of an instance of the open-source OpenContrail software-defined network (SDN) and Ceph to provide access to software-defined storage.

Mirantis is also providing access to DriveTrain, a continuous integration and continuous development (CI/CD) platform through which IT organizations will be able to manage DevOps processes, and StackLight, a monitoring service.

The relationship between OpenStack and Kubernetes continues to evolve. Kubernetes now can be deployed across as many as 5,000 nodes. Many of its proponents contend that Kubernetes alone is sufficient to manage container-based environments. But most IT organizations will deploy a mix of virtual machines and bare-metal servers hosting containers. Rather than having a separate management plane for both environments, Mirantis is making the case for an integrated approach. Both OpenStack and Kubernetes are challenging to deploy, Renski says, which is why the company is making MCP available only as a managed service.

However, Miratis plans to only operate MCP on behalf of a customer for up to 12 months before offloading those tasks to the customer’s IT staff, which Mirantis will train. To instill confidence in that approach, Mirantis is also committing to provide service level agreements (SLAs) to guarantee levels of uptime and performance.

While containers and microservices represent a boon for increased developer productivity, IT operations are more complicated. The degree to which that complexity will push more IT organizations to rely on external managed services remains to be seen. The Mirantis approach aims to employ a managed service as a vehicle for providing organizations with on-the-job training, as many IT organizations are challenged with figuring out how to live with deployments after Day 2 and beyond.

Of course, given all the complexity involved, more IT organizations may instead rely on a managed service provider (MSP) to manage their platforms while they concentrate on developing applications. Historically, however, most IT organizations have preferred to manage their own platforms regardless of where they reside. Whatever the approach employed, many of those IT organizations need more help making a transition to modern IT infrastructure than they care to admit.

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.