A holy place is never empty - Mirantis Unlocked Appliance

    Just a few months after Nebula's final departure, Mirantis is unveiling its Unlocked Appliance platform for deploying OpenStack infrastructure.

    For 4 years, Nebula tried to sell OpenStack solutions “in hardware”, but in the next round it was not able to attract new investments to support the startup. It was not possible to wait for the market to be ready for mass platform purchases with OpenStack. A lot of people said that Nebula was in a hurry with entering the market (and even this was noted in the final press release about the closure of the project). However, it seems that marketing at Mirantis believes that now is the time and it is time to start winning customers.

    Mirantis is well known for its OpenStack distribution and initially focused on software development and service delivery, and not on the hardware component. Having good expertise and a pool of loyal customers, it is possible to start promoting complex solutions with much greater success than simply putting iron on sale. In addition, if you use “your own” hardware, you can reduce the cost of support - there are fewer problems with the tested configuration. And the client, by and large, is not so important whose equipment to use. If the entire complex from Mirantis is, in terms of operating costs, a little cheaper than a “self-assembled constructor”, then the game is well worth the candle. The Mirantis Unlocked Appliance will be sold through partners, so you don’t need to inflate the engineers and drive them around the world.

    Mirantis Unlocked Appliance allows the customer to deploy OpenStack infrastructure without the need to independently select equipment. If the selection of equipment is not so scary, then subsequent installation, testing and “finishing” to “take off” - the main source of problems. This is where the main advantage of any complete system is revealed - the speed of deployment. The customer should no longer be worried about the difficulty of running OpenStack. After the system is deployed by integrator engineers (which will not take a lot of time), you can immediately start launching virtual machines and deal with business problems, rather than administration issues.

    In the Unlocked Appliance, there is no binding to the software manufacturer - the customer can choose the hypervisor that meets the necessary requirements.

    The announced system is scaled from 6 to 51 computing nodes, which allows you to simultaneously run more than 1,500 virtual machines (4vCPU, 8GB of memory and 60GB of disk). The storage system provides 12 to 48TB of available space (Ceph). Of course, this solution is not aimed at small businesses, for which VMware is fighting with EVO RAIL, Nutanix, SimpliVity and others. Even in a minimal configuration, we will need to install a cabinet with 12 servers. The maximum configuration that is now available is 2 cabinets.

    The Mirantis Unlocked Appliance is based on Dell servers and Juniper networking equipment. Compute nodes (6-51pcs) and control nodes (Foundation 3pcs) are Dell R630 servers in a configuration with two Intel Xeon E5-2640 processors, 256GB RAM and 400GB SSD. Storage nodes (Storage node - from 3 to 12 pcs) - R730xd servers in a configuration with two Intel Xeon E5-2620 processors, 256GB RAM, 4 * 100GB SSD, 20 * 1.2TB SAS disks and 2 * 1.2TB disks for the OS.

    All servers are networked via 10Gbit adapters (2 links for computing nodes and 4 links for storage nodes each).

    Two Juniper QFX5100-48S are used as TOR (top of rack) switches in each cabinet (the cabinets are connected via 40Gbit links), and for the control network - Juniper EX3300-48T.

    After installing Mirantis OpenStack, users receive:
    • three OpenStack controllers in a fault-tolerant configuration (the OpenStack database is located on MySQL / Galera);
    • Neutron OVS + VLAN network environment
    • Ceph-based storage system - Glance, Cinder and Swift-API:
      - Ephemeral volumes configured to support live migration through Ceph;
      - Triple replication for data protection;
    • Ceilometer and Zabbix monitoring services. To store Ceilometer data, MongoDB is deployed on the management servers.

    The Mirantis Cloud Validation Suite (MCV) is used to finalize the system after installation at the customer site. MCV is not removed and allows the customer to further check the system and form performance profiles throughout the life cycle - for example, after installing updates.

    For many mid-sized companies, OpenStack is still a "toy" precisely because of the lack of complete solutions that do not require significant deployment and support costs. A complete solution from Mirantis will make OpenStack closer to business. The niche in which the Mirantis Unlocked Appliance should “shoot” is very attractive - it covers the market of serious installations, where there are no “pioneers” with two or three servers, but there are still hundreds of servers where the company can allow serious internal expertise (such as Wallmart ).

    And if Mirantis certifies several more options for hardware platforms, this will only strengthen its position in the market.

    Now that interest in OpenStack is growing, many hardware manufacturers will try to take their share, but success will largely depend on how well the software component is finalized. And it is here that Mirantis has a very strong position. I have no doubt that HP and its Helion will try their best to capture the maximum of the market, but will it work out?

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