Mirantis: 'We'll Probably Piss Off' OpenStack

Mitch Wagner
7/26/2016

Mirantis today announced a plan to rearchitect OpenStack to run on Kubernetes, which a company official says will likely "piss off" some in the OpenStack community who were working on a different approach.

Mirantis Inc. is looking to solve "acute" problems maintaining and upgrading OpenStack after installation. It's working with Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) to change the cloud software so it effectively runs as an app on top of Kubernetes. That will also have the effect of making OpenStack workloads easily portable between private and Google clouds.

"We'll probably piss off a few people in the community because it's not aligned with some projects, such as Magnum," Boris Renski, Mirantis co-founder and CMO, tells Light Reading. "But we nonetheless feel this is something that needs to be done."

Magnum is an OpenStack API developed under the auspices of the OpenStack Foundation, making container orchestration engines such as Docker and Kubernetes available as resources in OpenStack. Mirantis is turning that model on its head, effectively making OpenStack into an app that runs on top of Kubernetes, Renski said.

"OpenStack was built by people with marginal experience running large, distributed systems. It's a good tool, and the day one problem of installing OpenStack has been solved," Renski says. "But when it comes to running it, installing incremental patches, upgrades and restarting at scale, there is no one way to do it." Enterprises have no problem installing OpenStack but encounter difficulties running it.

"The operations problem is acute, and if it's not solved it can throw OpenStack into oblivion," Renski says. Mirantis is looking to solve that problem. "You can think of OpenStack as yet another app that's managed by Kubernetes."

Mirantis plans to release the code in general availability in Q1 2017, in Mirantis OpenStack 10.

Google, which initially developed Kubernetes before spinning it out as an open source project, sees the Mirantis project as a means of allowing enterprises to write code that's easily portable between private and public clouds -- including Google's own. "Our belief is our customers should pick their clouds solely on the merits of the technology itself. They shouldn't be tied to a platform by bespoke technologies. Kubernetes is a critical piece of the story," Craig McLuckie, Google group product manager, tells Light Reading.

So is the OpenStack Magnum team pissed off (as Renski says)? Project team lead Adrian Otto isn't thrilled.

"OpenStack is not an application," he tells Light Reading in an email. "If a cloud operator wants to use a configuration management system to deploy an OpenStack cloud control plane, that's actually a best practice already in widespread use today. Substituting the word 'Kubernetes' for 'configuration management' is not newsworthy, in my opinion."

He adds, "Suggesting that Kubernetes and Magnum are interchangeable suggests a lack of understanding about the nature and focus of each," Otto says.


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Jonathan Bryce, OpenStack Foundation executive director, was more sanguine. He tells Light Reading in an email that OpenStack has already been demonstrated as a set of containerized services orchestrated by Kubernetes.

"On the Magnum side, I don't see the controversy," Bryce says. "Magnum takes a completely different approach, which is to automatically deploy and manage container orchestration frameworks on top of an existing OpenStack environment. This simplifies the work of getting Kubernetes, Mesos, or Docker Swarm running in an elastic environment, allowing cloud operators to offer these next generation cloud native development environments to their software developers more quickly and robustly."

Magnum is designed for users and developers, Bryce says. On the other hand, the Mirantis work is focused on cloud operators, as is Kolla, another OpenStack project developing containers and deployment tools.

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Gabriel Brown
Gabriel Brown
7/28/2016 | 6:47:47 AM
Re: It's a stack
"It's a stack. You stack it this way, or you can stack it this way. Or you can stack it both ways."

Comment of the week, I think
Magnets-are-cool
Magnets-are-cool
7/27/2016 | 8:03:25 PM
It's a stack
You stack it this way, or you can stack it this way. Or you can stack it both ways.

You could stack Kubernetes on top of Mirantis on top of Kubernetes.

That happens already in network protocol land, it's called encapsulation.

In future, an OpCo may have a product that offers a virtualised network, the customer doesn't care (much) what's under the hood. The customer could run their own kubernetes/mirantis/whatever stack over the top.

There won't be a single correct stack, as always, it will depend on what the customer is trying to achieve and how much overhead they are willing to accept to get it.
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
7/26/2016 | 5:26:31 PM
Re: Users will vote with their virtual feet
OpenStack's Bryce suggests possible peaceful coexistence -- different use cases for Kubernetes vs. Magnum (and other approaches). 
Ray@LR
[email protected]
7/26/2016 | 9:25:19 AM
Users will vote with their virtual feet
There will always be different ways of doing, or trying to do, the same thing and people get passionate about stuff -- it'd be a sad day if there were no heated debates about developments that people put their time and effort into (and, of course, there are jobs and reputations to consider...)

The ultimate apparaisal will come from users -- if this solves a problem then they will be testing the hell out of it. I imagine.
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