Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Monday, February 24, 2020
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OpenStack Developer Gets Another Boost from Intel 

OpenStack developer Mirantis is on the receiving end of another big investment round led by Intel Corp., which headed a previous $100 million funding round last October in the pure-play OpenStack software vendor.

The cloud partners announced Monday (Aug. 24) that Intel Capital and other investors would sink another $100 million into Mirantis. The chipmaker has also committed to financing future OpenStack development at the Mountain View, Calif.-based, company.

"The collaboration will focus on accelerating enterprise feature optimization in Mirantis’ OpenStack distribution and fueling enterprise OpenStack adoption," the company said.

Joining Intel in the latest funding round are Ericsson and SAP's investment arm along with previous investors August Capital, Insight Venture Partners and WestSummit Capital. Also joining the funding round as a first-time investor in Mirantis is Goldman Sachs, the software developer said.

The Intel-Mirantis collaboration will focus on accelerating enterprise feature optimization in the Mirantis OpenStack distribution while promoting enterprise OpenStack adoption, the partners said. Mirantis claims to be the only cloud vendor "100 percent committed" to OpenStack.

Intel and OpenStack pioneer Rackspace announced a separate collaboration in July called "Cloud For All" that seeks to overcome hurdles to OpenStack deployment, including complexity, lack of scaling and gaps in open-source enterprise features.

"Our investment in Mirantis is the next step in bringing open cloud infrastructure to the entire industry as part of Intel’s ‘Cloud for All’ initiative," Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Data Center Group, noted in a statement. "As enterprises embrace public, private and hybrid cloud strategies, they need choices in their infrastructure software." Bryant added that OpenStack offers a viable alternative to delivering "cloud-native applications and services, and our collaboration with Mirantis is well placed to ensure the delivery of critical new enterprise features helping to create of tens of thousands of clouds."

The collaboration must also address lingering concerns over the difficulty of installing and deploying OpenStack. Critics argue that cloud operators with little cloud configuration experience often find OpenStack deployment and scaling to be a challenge.

Hence, parts of the growing OpenStack ecosystem are beginning to offer automation tools like dashboards that can help automate deployment while eliminating the need for cloud administrators to visit datacenters to wrestle with physical machines.

"The trillion-dollar question is: Where will the enterprise workloads run and who will own the cloud?" noted Mirantis co-founder and president of Alex Freedland in an Aug. 23 blog post. "A betting man would be sorely tempted to put his chips on the public cloud providers to win."

Intel, Rackspace, Goldman Sachs and others are placing big bets that OpenStack, once deployment kinks are worked out, can compete against incumbent cloud giants like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and the Google Cloud Platform.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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