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Q&A: Interview with @MirantisIT Talking OpenStack and Mirantis Unlocked
Yesterday at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, Mirantis unveiled a new partner program dubbed Mirantis Unlocked, a partner program that's designed to help infrastructure and solution providers seamlessly deliver technology in the OpenStack ecosystem.  So how does Mirantis view the difficult nature of getting OpenStack up and running with all the bits and pieces that don't necessarily work together seamlessly?

To dig in deeper and find out more, I spoke with Mirantis director of partner marketing, Kamesh Pemmaraju.

VMblog: What's different about Mirantis OpenStack and the Unlocked program?

Kamesh Pemmaraju: Mirantis Unlocked is a very different kind of partner program, everything about it is open and transparent. In fact, you can tell by the name that we're not pushing a very-limited field of ‘preferred solutions,' because -- although that might be profitable for us, and certainly easier -- it would also be ‘Locked.'

Mirantis Unlocked has the opposite aim: to give our users lots of meaningful choice, while helping our partners participate in OpenStack's disruptive future. Our Unlocked partners are technology and solution providers who are ready to help OpenStack change the game for our mutual customers. And they're companies who are willing to undertake non-trivial new-technology development programs, willing to join the OpenStack community, to adopt Community-accepted methods for development-pipeline integration, to open source and upstream their drivers and other OpenStack-unique technology, to participate in our open, transparent testing and certification programs, and to collaborate with us on mutual training and global support, so that our customers always know who to call to get problems solved.
VMblog: Why couldn't I get all these services from a public cloud provider like Amazon?

Pemmaraju: You probably do -- and probably should -- get certain services and scale-out burst capacity from public clouds. A hybrid cloud or a multi-cloud environment is more a norm now than an exception. But you probably don't want to get locked into public offerings in ways that limit your freedom to explore economically and operationally beneficial strategies for your organization.

With respect to this, Mirantis' mission is, on the one hand, to provide a rich private-cloud OpenStack solution that enables easy workload onboarding, simplfies workload mobility, and (with the help of Unlocked Partners) supports zero-friction mobility strategies (e.g. containers, PaaS) for maximally-agile use of private (or public) cloud facilities as needs and arbitrage opportunities dictate.

VMblog: Why should someone move to OpenStack instead of directly to a container management framework like Docker or Kubernetes?

Pemmaraju: The simple answer is: because containers need to abstract infrastructure, but can't run without it. Mirantis sees containers and PaaS as the ‘hands on' part of cloud computing, and as the next region for major competition and emergence of dominant solutions. Our Unlocked Partners and collaborators will play major roles making containers work for end-users, and we will ensure that Mirantis OpenStack can interoperate with and support the highest level abstraction plane by providing robust, API-accessible (hence ‘abstractable') infrastructure services underneath. In fact, using our Murano application catalog, users will have a choice of container orchestration and PaaS technologies that you can deploy today on OpenStack.

VMblog: And why should someone choose Mirantis OpenStack and Unlocked instead of the OpenStack distribution or a variant produced and recommended by one of the largest current solution vendors (Red Hat, HP, VMware, Oracle, Canonical, etc.)?

Pemmaraju: OpenStack is a broadly disruptive technology, engineered to replace legacy tools and methods with faster, simpler, cheaper, more frictionless and more open solutions. Ultimately, the story of OpenStack won't just be a story about ‘building better clouds,' but also a story about ‘how we changed the way hardware works, scales, and costs out,' ‘how we changed what "virtualization" means and redefined the hypervisor,' and ‘how we changed the role of the operating system' and ‘how we opened up and virtualized the network' and ‘how we replaced the giant SQL database with something more distributed with greater capacity and resilience.'

That's got to be scary to vendors of legacy stuff. So legacy vendors always have some incentive to lock you in, slow you down or, if that's not possible, then to direct your evolution, for two reasons: 1) To keep themselves relevant and profitable and, 2) Maybe even more important, because if you make hammers (or operating systems, or hypervisors, or data center hardware), everything looks like a nail.

We'd argue that any company -- even very smart and successful ones -- that view OpenStack as "a new and promising adjunct to our core business" are going to end up selling a distorted view of what OpenStack is good for, and ultimately do something that slows down innovation. Of all the major OpenStack players, only Mirantis is ‘pure play' OpenStack -- free to let OpenStack be its maximally-disruptive self and thus deliver maximum value.

And with Unlocked, we expand the idea of "No lock-in" to the next level by providing a broad ecosystem of partners certified through an open, transparent process and plugged into OpenStack through standard and open API's.


Once again, a special thank you to Kamesh Pemmaraju, director of partner marketing at Mirantis, for taking time out to speak with
Published Tuesday, May 19, 2015 6:21 AM by David Marshall
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