OpenStack poster child Mirantis signaled some time ago that it was moving on from being a pure-play OpenStack shop and would instead be looking at supporting a range of open source technologies in order to justify its existence build its business. Mirantis has, of course, raised a truckload of cash and much of that was poured into building an OpenStack business. That fact, when viewed in the light of the fact that there is limited chance to derive repeatable revenue from OpenStack, and you have a setting prime for some epic, prima donna-level pivoting.

And this is what Mirantis have done – they have flagged their move, both away from relying on a big team of Russian developers (election meddling is merely a coincidence) and onto a product offering that includes everyone’s’ favorite shiny new thing, Kubernetes.

That is being extended today with the news of a new platform, the Mirantis Application Platform, that is coming out by way of a beta trial. The platform (I’ll abbreviate it to MAP from now on) is designed to be a one stop offering to help enterprises run applications on the public cloud. In doing so, MAP is hoping the allure of offering organizations the ability to emulate the Netflix’ and Google’s of this world will be an enticing concept.

To further their cloud-native credibility, Mirantis is basing MAP upon Spinnaker, yet another open source project, this time one created by Netflix. To clarify, MAP is a standalone (but, presumably, complementary) offering to Mirantis’ infrastructure management offering, the Mirantis Cloud Platform (which is, as detailed, based upon OpenStack and Kubernetes).

This is a pretty big deal since it seems to be something of a capitulation by Mirantis that, while private cloud has its uses, the most powerful momentum is occurring in the shift to the public cloud. And Mirantis wants to be an important player in that field hence its focus on helping organizations make that move. Mirantis’ recently re-instated CEO (and that is another story from this company that has so many tales woven around it), Adrian Ionel states the case for MAP saying:

While it’s easy to start using public cloud and get immediate benefits as a small team, getting ROI from cloud for a large enterprise requires streamlining the various processes, tools and security requirements across a diverse set of engineering silos. Mirantis Application Platform aims to address this challenge, enabling enterprises to maximize cloud ROI at scale through cloud native continuous delivery.”

So what value does MAP hope to offer the organizations that use it? According to the company, MAP covers enterprises moving to both Amazon Web Services and Google Compute Platform and will deliver the following benefits:

  • Migrate up to 80% of existing workloads by recreating on-premises application execution environments in the public cloud
  • Maintain existing security standards by integrating familiar security tools and processes with continuous delivery pipelines   
  • Avoid disruption to ongoing development by integrating with existing CI tools and providing a self-service continuous delivery portal to the development teams
  • Mitigate cloud lock-in with native Kubernetes integration and flexible cloud driver plug-ins available out of the box in Spinnaker
  • Achieve 10x improvement in frequency of production deployments through continuous delivery automation and adoption of advanced deployment strategies   

Some lofty promises there so what does MAP actually include. The beta offering covers:

  • Installation, configuration and 99.99% uptime SLA of a dedicated Mirantis Application Platform instance, including Spinnaker, Jenkins, Gerrit and Terraform on a private or public cloud of choice.
  • Integration with customer’s existing Identity Provider (LDAP, AD etc.), CI systems, Compliance Scanners (Inspec.io, Qualis, etc.), ITSM Platform and ChatOps platform (e.g., Slack).
  • Configuration and ongoing support of golden images and continuous delivery pipeline templates for one starter application for a period of one year.

It should be said that Spinnaker, Netflix’ home-grown continuous delivery platform, has seen some real traction – it has been used across a huge number of organizations and from the vendor side, Google has announced that it is investing in developing native Kubernetes support and integration with GCP into the product.

MyPOV

I’m a bit of a Mirantis fanboy, not least because they are one of the most entertaining tech vendors on the planet. But I’d be lying if I were to claim that it’s been plain sailing for the company. The issue seems to have been a difficulty in finding repeatable recurring revenue – they had lots of high profile service contracts, but they seemed to be primarily one-off deals.

I’m not 100% certain that MAP is going to change that, although it is fair to say that the market for public cloud migration and uptake is significantly bigger than for OpenStack environment setups – time will tell whether it’s big enough for this player.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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