Mirantis on OpenStack: Look, we do telcos

Nearly all of the major software and hardware players are offering OpenStack support of some sort, which presents a big challenge to smaller players. Mirantis is doing its best to differentiate itself by offering deep expertise and many design wins. This time, it's a series of telco projects.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor on

OpenStack has been getting the nod from nearly all of the major hardware and software players in the industry. Recently VMware begrudgingly joined the party with an announcement of support at its VMworld. Smaller players, such as Mirantis, have to find a way to play to their strengths and maintain industry mind share even though others have more marketing firepower.

Mirantis recently announced that it is one of the top 5 providers of OpenStack based products and services for the telecommunications industry. The announcement didn't support that claim by referencing outside, neutral research. We'll go with their claim for the moment anyway.

The questions that immediately came to mind when I read this announcement was "Why telco?" and "Why now?"

OpenStack and Telcos

Telecommunications companies often are supporting some of the most complex IT environments. They are supporting applications and data for literally millions of customers. These applications must be reliable, perform well, and be manageable.

If we look at Mirantis's recent successes, Mirantis has helped build and deploy what it claims are some of the largest OpenStack clouds at companies such as Cisco WebEx, Comcast, Symantec, Ericsson, Expedia, Samsung, NASA, NTT Docomo, Workday, PayPal and Red Hat.

This announcement includes a mention of the following companies:

  • Orange is one of the most recognizable telecommunications companies in Europe with millions of customers across the Continent.
  • Pacnet possesses the most extensive privately-owned submarine cable system, with connectivity to interconnected data centers across 14 cities in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Huawei serves 45 of the world’s 50 largest telecoms operators.
  • Ericsson is the world leader in the 2G/3G/4G mobile network infrastructure market with 35 percent market share in 2012.

Snapshot analysis

Unlike many of the others that have hardware and software offerings, Mirantis is a pure-play OpenStack company that delivers technology, integration, training, and support. The company has a deep and broad understanding of OpenStack, customer requirements, and how to help customers simply and easily implement on-premise and off-premise clouds as well as dedicated and shared cloud environments. One look at the company's string of successful implementations of the OpenStack platform for customers will certainly impress an observer.

Let's consider why Mirantis is talking about telcos and why now:

Why telcos?

Telcos are supporting some of the largest and most complex customer-focused networks. Scalability, reliability and manageability are key requirements of these companies. Mirantis believes that if it has demonstrated success in this demanding market, it has demonstrated that it has the skills and expertise to address the needs of any enterprise.

It knows that many of its larger competitors can't point to successes in this market.

Why now?

While well known in the OpenStack community, Mirantis is not as well known outside of the community. It is in competition for industry mind share with other suppliers of OpenStack distributions including companies such as Canonical, HP, IBM, RackSpace, Red Hat, SuSE and very recently VMware.

Although many of these suppliers have turned to Mirantis for help when implementing large or complex OpenStack-based clouds for their customers, they have not brought Mirantis to the forefront when talking about their OpenStack-based projects.

Many of these competitors have "deep pockets" and can out out-spend Mirantis. So, Mirantis must focus on its agility, vendor neutrality and exceptional expertise. This time, Mirantis is pointing out successes in the telecommunications industry.

Will this announcement make Mirantis a household name? I have doubts. What is clear is that a steady stream of announcements of this type will keep Mirantis on the industry radar screen and eventually build mind share.

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