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Mirantis: Hey guys, here's an idea - we're putting 'open' in OpenStack

You say tomato, we say 'lock-in free' cloud

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OpenStack consultancy Mirantis has launched a distribution of the cloud operating system that it says is "lock-in free" – which makes us wonder just how the numerous other distributions aren't.

The company announced the release of "Mirantis OpenStack" on Monday, and claimed that its version of the open-source cloud control freak was somehow more open than others.

"No other distribution of OpenStack offers customers this range of choice or extensibility in their cloud," said Mirantis chief Adrian Ionel in a canned statement.

That choice is the technology's support for Ceph as a backend object and block storage layer, as well as OpenStack mainstay Swift. The distro can be deployed on Red Hat, Ubuntu, or CentOS, and includes the Project Fuel management and deployment tool.

Fuel gives admins a graphical user interface to use when deploying OpenStack. The tool automatically discovers bare-metal and virtualized compute nodes that are configured to boot from the network, and does validation checking before spinning up a cluster.

Fuel can also help companies select which OpenStack components they would like to run.

The distribution also supports multiple hypervisors through plugins, including KVM, ESXi, and XenServer. The commercial version comes with support for networking plugins such as VMware's Nicira-based NSX tech and Juniper Networks' Contrail system.

The thinking behind this approach is that Mirantis offers companies a reasonable level of choice and modifiability with their distro, while making sure that they won't end up building their clusters in a distinctly Mirantis-esque manner and therefore get locked-in. But, as with all claims like this, we're skeptical until we find some organizations that have spent a long time with Mirantis then hopped to various other distributions without app logic breaking.

Mirantis has done OpenStack consultancy for companies ranging from IBM to Red Hat to PayPal, and is also a top-five code contributor to the project.

The company recently caused some controversy by arguing that the release of "Havana" OpenStack would make platform-as-a-service technologies such as Cloud Foundry and OpenShift obsolete – a somewhat optimistic idea, given the gulf in capabilities between Havana and these technologies. ®

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