HP Enterprise, Mirantis sack couple of hundred OpenStack engineers

Still super committed, though, we're told

Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Mirantis have laid off roughly 200 OpenStack developers in recent weeks, calling into question the appeal of OpenStack, the open source project for cloud computing infrastructure.

HPE spokesperson Meghan Fintland in an email confirmed the layoffs, noting HPE does not provide details about the number of positions eliminated for specific locations or business units.

"These activities are part of a previously announced restructuring program, which includes an overall effort to focus on supply chain productivity, disciplined discretionary spending and efforts to reshape the workforce," said Fintland. "These actions will continue to enable a more competitive, sustainable cost structure for HPE, while enabling us to meet the evolving needs of our customers around the world."

Fintland also confirmed there has been "a small reduction in our workforce related to the previously announced global restructuring programs" in Israel. HPE, she said, remains committed to Israel as a market and expects the Yehud Development Center to remain significant source of talent and innovation for HPE.

The mid-October layoff, according to GeekWire, included at least 65 people from HPE's Stackato group, which is in the process of being sold to Micro Focus International's SUSE. In total, given the changes at the Yehud center and across the whole organization, we estimate 100 OpenStack engineers have been dropped by HPE.

Nonetheless, HPE is still showing interest in OpenStack. Only a week ago, at the OpenStack Summit, HPE introduced HPE Helion OpenStack 4.0.

Mirantis co-founder and chief marketing officer Boris Renski, in an emailed statement, said that following the acquisition of TCP Cloud, Mirantis restructured and has "chosen to wind down a number of engineering investments that we didn't feel were aligned with our focus of delivering an operations-centric OpenStack distribution through a build-operate-transfer model."

Renski said about 100 OpenStack Developers were laid off and another hundred or so were shuffled internally, but not laid off.

Those affected came primarily from two groups: the Fuel project, a deployment and management tool for OpenStack, and the Workloads team, an effort to build a PaaS product. Fuel is being redesigned to help deliver managed infrastructure-as-code, said Renski, and the Workloads project is being shelved to focus on Kubernetes.

"To be clear, I want to be on record that we are not abandoning OpenStack and we are not exiting OpenStack distribution business," said Renski. "We did go through our restructuring very quickly and could have probably handled internal and customer communications better to minimize rumors."

Stackalytics, a website that tracks OpenStack community contributions, shows declining commitment – in terms of amount of code contributed to the project – from HPE and Mirantis. For this year's Newton release, HPE and Mirantis accounted for 8 per cent and 19 per cent of code contributions respectively. For next year's Ocata release, those figures have dropped to 5 per cent and 12 per cent.

Consultancy 451 Research nonetheless appears to be optimistic about OpenStack, particularly in the private cloud market. The firm recently predicted [PDF] that revenue from OpenStack business models will exceed $5 billion by 2020 and grow at a 35 per cent CAGR. ®

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