Mirantis climbs aboard converged infrastructure bandwagon

Turnkey appliances for OpenStack, with help from Dell and Juniper

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OpenStack vendor Mirantis has decided that the converged infrastructure caper looks like a decent idea, so has cooked up its own set of tightly-coupled, pre-configured boxen.

Dubbed “Unlocked Appliances”, the rigs will look familiar to anyone who's contemplated kit from Nutanix, SimpliVity, VCE, a NetApp/Cisco Flexpod the IBM/Cisco Versastack or many of Oracle's Engineered Systems.

Unlocked Appliances come start at six compute nodes and 12 TBs of usable storage and go all the way to 24 compute nodes and 24 TBs of usable storage. Put two together and Mirantis says you'll be able to run “over 1500 virtual machines and 48 TBs of usable storage.”

The first lot of appliances will pack Dell PowerEdge R630 servers and more Dell kit, the PowerEdge R730xd, as storage nodes. A pair Juniper QFX5100s handles the data path and one Juniper EX3300 does management. Mirantis is calling this the “first iteration” of the appliance and appears to be holding out the possibility that other hardware vendors might come and play. Version 6.1 of Mirantis OpenStack drives the rig. It and future versions are presumably non-negotiable future inclusions. Mirantis is also hinting that future versions of the appliance will be tailored to different workloads. This one, it says, is for "developing cloud-native applications".

Mirantis has created a splendid new piece of jargon - “Certified Rack Partner” - to describe the companies that will assemble these systems. There's just one such partner for now, Redmond, Washington's Redapt. Clearly Mirantis hopes others will follow.

Alex Freedland, Mirantis' president, says the company's doing appliances because “About 20 percent of infrastructure is consumed through the appliance form factor because it is extremely easy to set up and operate.” Mirantis clearly doesn't want to miss out on that market, especially seeing as HP's already there with its Helion Rack and Ubuntu's having a waft with its Orange Box.

OpenStack is powerful, but critics point out it can be devilish hard to configure. Offerings like those from Mirantis and its rivals address that situation, so the Unlocked Appliances have potential to be good for Mirantis and good for OpenStack too. ®

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