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Mirantis Bets On Past, Present & Future With Mirantis OpenStack for Kubernetes

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Mirantis yesterday announced the release of MOS – Mirantis OpenStack for Kubernetes. The company is leveraging both Kubernetes and OpenStack to not only help customers who are still running VM based legacy workloads but also aiming at the next generation of workloads at the Edge using 5G technologies. MOS is a bet of past, present, and future.


Here is an abridged version of our discussion

Swapnil Bhartiya: This is your host Swapnil Bhartiya. Welcome to TFiR Newsroom and today we have with us Shaun O’Meara, Field CTO at Mirantis. Shaun, it’s nice to have you on the show.

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Shaun O’Meara: Thanks for having me. It’s good to talk to you. Yeah.

Swapnil Bhartiya: What are you announcing? It’s Mirantis OpenStack for Kubernetes or MOS or MOSK, whatever you call it. So, tell me what is it?

Shaun O’Meara: We are going to go back to the old MOS acronym and it’s our new way of looking at OpenStack for the future.

Swapnil Bhartiya: If you look at Mirantis, the company started off as a pure OpenStack company in those early days and now you guys are also strong in Kubernetes. So, first of all, tell me what is the need of MOS at this point?

Shaun O’Meara: The reason we’ve gone down this road as much as we can, we’ve entered into this Kubernetes journey and this container journey for the future. We’re seeing a lot of customers require OpenStack; they need virtual machines alongside their container environment. Mirantis has a strong customer base with focus on OpenStack and as part of our future, we’ve decided to put OpenStack on top of Kubernetes so that we can leverage Kubernetes to handle that infrastructure layer.

Swapnil Bhartiya: I’ll talk about what market you’re trying to address with this. But before that, I also want to understand what the core components of MOS are.

Shaun O’Meara: Its core components include our Mirantis Container Cloud product, which handles the deployment and management of our Kubernetes clusters in the multi cloud environment. It is the basis that we built the entire product on top of. MCC or Mirantis Container Cloud, builds and deploys the Kubernetes clusters. We then deliver OpenStack on top of that, as a set of Kubernetes services. So we’ve containerized all of the OpenStack services, where the agents are the networking components, and we deliver them as Kubernetes applications, cloud native applications on top of these Kubernetes clusters. Along with that, we’re also delivering our Ceph Storage management products and our visibility toolset, which is StackLight.

Swapnil Bhartiya: So are we looking at a fully managed OpenStack with Kubernetes kind of solution? 

Shaun O’Meara: Absolutely. We’re bringing both of them to the party at the same time through the Mirantis Container Cloud. We have this fully managed, fully lifecycle managed Kubernetes cluster, which handles that underlay layer. On top of that we’re putting all the OpenStack components to give you that full virtual machine layer. So you can now have both together in the same environment, managed together with the full day two and lifecycle management for the operations component so that it’s very quick, simple and easy to deploy a new OpenStack cluster or a new Kubernetes cluster, or on top of each other. Allowing for the future of a joint virtual machine environment or Kubernetes environment as you need it.

Swapnil Bhartiya: What are the use cases you’re targeting with this one?

Shaun O’Meara: So out of the box, the initial use case is the traditional enterprise IT environment that today is focused heavily on, say, the VMware market where I have a large legacy set of applications or web applications that are not suited, at this stage, to go to containers. As we move forward, we’ll be focusing heavily on telco workloads. The telco market and the Edge market are very big workloads. They have a number of deep technical requirements that Kubernetes is not yet ready to service, although it will be coming in the future. So we’re hoping to bridge that gap as well. It’s also a great use case for customers that have a lot of traditional internal infrastructure but want to be able to slice that up and do software-defined data center work, utilizing OpenStack to better define and manage infrastructure resources that they have.

Swapnil Bhartiya: Mirantis already has a very good OpenStack story with telcos. So is this a kind of evolution of the same market? 

Shaun O’Meara: We believe there’s also a lot of new market in the 5G and Edge space. 5G and Edge is no longer just a telco use case. We’re starting to see that coming in manufacturing and financial services. A lot of private 5G networking and small business 5G networking, where they’re leveraging the power and the networking capabilities of 5G to deliver IoT type services. The bandwidth primarily and the guaranteed throughput, which meant efficient manufacturing industry, the motor vehicle industry, automated cars –  the list can go on and on of all these possibilities. We believe we have a specific niche that we can fit in there, which is providing for that infrastructure on the Edge and in the data center, managing that and making it easy, simple to access.

Swapnil Bhartiya: You may or may not be able to name some customers, but can you tell who is either already leveraging it?

Shaun O’Meara: I can’t name customers directly. But I can say that we’ve done a number of large scale betas with a couple of customers here in Europe. So we’ve had a number of service providers here in Europe who have already been using our products who have done betas and are busy deploying the new GA product. We’ve also just completed quite literally today, a design session with a large customer here in Europe, who is focused on building a large scale internal cluster using mass over the next couple of months. In the US, we’re talking to a couple of small telco customers who are leveraging it and want to see how we can take us into the Edge space.

Swapnil Bhartiya: I also want to talk about OpenStack. Has the OpenStack story changed after all these public cloud outages and a trend that companies want to control their data?

Shaun O’Meara: Yes. OpenStack is already seeing a lot of change coming. It went through the phase of people saying things like OpenStack is dead. It’s definitely not. We’ve actually seen a large uptick in customers asking about OpenStack, asking about how they develop private clouds. As an example, the latest CNCF report has seen an increase in people moving back on prem. So, you know, Kubernetes, on its own, doesn’t manage that infrastructure problem, you still need to manage that underlying infrastructure challenge. That really is where I see OpenStack becoming the future of the open source way of delivering infrastructure and providing for that software-defined data center. Once we’ve done that, we can see the maturity. OpenStack Foundation has become an open infra Foundation. A lot of change is happening there. A lot of products are maturing, a lot of the components of OpenStack have matured considerably to the point where they almost seem static. But that’s just because they’ve reached that point where they’re very easy to use and very stable.

Swapnil Bhartiya: How can people try and evaluate it?

Shaun O’Meara: So for testing and trying it very simple. We offer it as a freemium downloadable option. You can go to our website. There you’ll be able to sign up to download a tool, deploy our MCC product as the starting point, and then you’ll be able to do it in your own environment. Right now, it requires hardware infrastructure. Moving forward, we’ll be offering a service that’ll allow you to do that in a virtual infrastructure so you can just try it out. From a pricing model perspective, we’re focusing on node-based pricing for today and we plan to deliver pricing in the future that will be on demand-based pricing. We’re also talking to a number of partners who are able to offer the whole service as a deliverable option and offering food??.

Swapnil Bhartiya: It’s too early for that but what kind of roadmap do you have for the project?  

Shaun O’Meara: So you know, right now, as I said, we started on that enterprise use case. We started by focusing on what the enterprise means. As our very next step, we will be delivering early in the new year, a number of features aimed specifically at the telco market at the NFV market. From there, we will evolve to start taking into account more of the Edge market. Right now we can offer for the Edge market, but we really want to take it to the next layer with Edge, where we can start to do more interesting deployment models where we can have single compute nodes at remote locations. We can start to leverage very, very small or very specific footprints, potentially alternate hardware types. So bringing in ARM chipsets as an example, so that we can do very lightweight deployments to support the IoT market. Future of OpenStack for us will leverage that side of the market, leverage where the telco market is going and leverage reducing the footprint and increasing the performance criteria at the same time, delivering Kubernetes alongside that as we move through this.

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