Mirantis is already reselling Juniper‘s commercial version of Contrail and providing low levels of support. Taking a step further, the company is announcing today that OpenContrail will be the default fabric offered with Mirantis OpenStack, although the use of it will still be optional. Mirantis will offer support for OpenContrail as well.
Mirantis is delivering OpenContrail in container form, to be orchestrated by Kubernetes.
It’s the first example of a company other than Juniper putting this much weight behind OpenContrail. Mirantis has also been working to improve OpenContrail’s performance on non-Juniper gear. That work will be contributed to the open source community, says Boris Renski, Mirantis’ chief marketing officer.
But the strategy also reflects Contrail’s acceptance among OpenStack users. “A lot of customers have been asking us to use Contrail as a plug-in to Neutron,” Renski says.
Something similar happened with Ceph, the storage system that became popular with OpenStack users. Ceph comes as an option with Mirantis OpenStack.
Most OpenStack deployments use Open vSwitch (OVS) and OpenStack Neutron for their networking. Larger production deployments, though, call for a more commercial product, and OpenContrail provides an option that doesn’t contain proprietary elements.
VMware’s NSX could be used with any variety of networking equipment but is really tailored for a VMware environment, Renski says. Other alternatives come from vendors that offer their own networking — Cisco’s Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) in particular.
OpenContrail, by contrast, is open source and uses the same code that Juniper sells in the commercial version of Contrail.
(Another open source option would be Midokura, but in Mirantis’ experience, it doesn’t have OpenContrail’s traction. Building a fabric using the OpenDaylight Project’s framework would be another non-proprietary option.)
Mirantis vs. Juniper
Mirantis was concerned about irritating Juniper — after all, the open source software technically competes with Juniper’s commercial version of Contrail — but Renski says his company’s strategy has been blessed by cloud guru Randy Bias, who joined Juniper in October.
The inclusions of OpenContrail and Kubernetes are part of Mirantis’ attempt to go beyond plain OpenStack and provide a full stack for the cloud. That shift — which included some layoffs and restructuring after the TCP Cloud acquisition — reflects the way enterprises’ software consumption is changing in the age of the public cloud. They’re favoring prepackaged products that are easy to operate, Renski says.
To that end, services are getting some emphasis. Mirantis offers managed services, where the company will tend to the enterprise’s cloud and guarantee a certain amount of uptime. The concept is similar to the Rackspace Managed Cloud, Renski says.
OpenContrail will be included in those managed services. At a basic level, the customer would be on the hook to make fixes (more likely, the customer would go to Juniper for help). A more fully managed service would have Mirantis taking responsibility for upgrades and fixes.