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Cloud Native Ecosystem / Open Source

SUSE offers RHEL support for Mirantis OpenStack, While Red Hat Demurs

Aug 9th, 2016 3:29pm by
Featued image for: SUSE offers RHEL support for Mirantis OpenStack, While Red Hat Demurs
Feature Image: An army of SUSE’s Geekos, the mascot chameleon, at OpenStack Silicon Valley 2016.

Mirantis and SUSE are joining forces to offer seamless support for running the Mirantis OpenStack distribution not only on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) but, surprisingly, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and CentOS as well.

“Many of our larger customers run two or three different Linux flavors. Now OpenStack users can get support for their major Linux distributions in one place from Mirantis,” said Mirantis co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Boris Renski.

The two companies announced the partnership at the OpenStack Silicon Valley 2016 conference, taking place this week in Mountain View, California.

Mirantis will offer full support for SLES on Mirantis OpenStack. “Previously, Mirantis OpenStack has not been certified/supported to run on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. This means a SUSE customer who selected Mirantis has needed to introduce another Linux,” said Michael Miller,  SUSE president of strategy, alliances and marketing.

Customers can now run Mirantis OpenStack on SLES that’s supported by both companies. “This means they maintain SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as their strategic platform for mission-critical workloads and OpenStack private cloud.”

Mirantis will take on L1 and L2 support, collaborating with SUSE to handle backend OS-level L3 support. From the viewpoint of customers, they are dealing only with Mirantis. Hence the “one stop shop” experience for customers.

“Establishing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as a development platform for use with Mirantis OpenStack will ensure timely testing, validation and optimization of the solution,” Miller said.

Over time, SUSE and Mirantis will explore collaboration options to further optimize SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for Mirantis OpenStack, and contribute all changes to the respective open source projects.

“The key here is that we will begin working together upstream in the community to begin collaborating on certification and support — and that’ll be an ongoing process — by having the engineering teams working upstream to develop and test,” explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, Mirantis vice president of product marketing.

Throwing RHEL into the Mix

Mirantis already has a partnership with Canonical for Ubuntu integration and now with its SUSE support too. The only major enterprise Linux distributor not formally supporting Mirantis is the 800-pound gorilla of the enterprise Linux world, Red Hat.

Red Hat is not part of this deal, so how are Mirantis and SUSE going to support RHEL customers? “The offer is based on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server with Expanded Support, which covers RHEL and CentOS. SUSE is very experienced in this area, having offered Expanded Support for several years,” said Miller.

Mirantis will offer support for current versions of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, RHEL and CentOS in one- or three-year terms, and include security and other updates, plus 24-hour email and phone-based support, with guaranteed one-hour response time.

Perhaps this was a necessary move, given that it doesn’t look like Red Hat itself will be supporting Mirantis anytime soon, choosing instead to support its own OpenStack distribution.

“From an OpenStack perspective, every enterprise vendor has chosen a Linux OS to be integrated with its respective OpenStack,” said Margaret Dawson, Red Hat’s senior director of Global Product Marketing.

“We integrated our OpenStack with Red Hat Enterprise Linux in order to ensure the same level of security, reliability, stability and support the Red Hat Enterprise Linux ecosystem has enjoyed for years. Breaking the OS and OpenStack pieces apart would break our enterprise stability, support and lifecycle, as well as compromise the ecosystem,” she said.

She made it clear. “Our position hasn’t changed as we can not technically support other vendors’ Linux/OpenStack distributions.” This is not unique to Red Hat, as all OpenStack vendors —  including Mirantis — have integrated and supported their own versions of Linux.

Nor is Red Hat particularly pleased with the idea of  SUSE’s RHEL support. Dawson said, “A claim from Mirantis and SUSE that they can provide support for another company’s offerings not only makes no sense to us, but it would certainly be confusing and potentially dangerous for customers. As with any mission-critical infrastructure, security, consistency, and performance are paramount at the beginning and throughout the lifecycle of the deployment.”

“This is why customers work with Red Hat. Red Hat subscriptions deliver continuously integrated, updated, and supported technology platforms, digitally signed and provided directly by Red Hat,”  Dawson said. “When one or more packages are replaced and delivered by a third party, the engineering integrity of the product is compromised, and we no longer consider the deployment a Red Hat product.”


Mirantis at OpenStack Silicon Valley 2016.

“Red Hat pursues the strategy of co-engineering OpenStack with their Linux distribution and, therefore, effectively refuses to support customers that choose to run any non-Red Hat version of OpenStack on their Linux. This strategy is unique to Red Hat, with neither Canonical or SUSE pursuing the same strategy,” Renski said.

Mirantis does not ship a Linux distro, Renski noted, choosing instead to work with Linux distribution vendors on support of underlay Linux operating systems. Mirantis has had meetings with Red Hat, but, according to Renski, nothing meaningful has come from the discussions.

“The irony of this whole argument is that by certifying and optimizing its OpenStack platform on SUSE’s operating system, they are doing exactly what we believe is needed — having a fully supported and integrated OpenStack and Linux OS,” Dawson said.

Remember the Users

The primary goal here is to make lives easier for OpenStack customers. In a nutshell, outside of all the competition between companies, the deal means flexibility and convenience for OpenStack users.

“This partnership provides customers more choice without vendor and technology lock-in,” Miller said.

There is a possibility of conflict because SUSE already offers their own OpenStack Cloud. Miller clarified that this partnership is focused on enterprise Linux support and does not affect SUSE’s commitment and focus on the OpenStack market with SUSE OpenStack Cloud.

“SUSE OpenStack Cloud is strategic and foundational to the SUSE vision of the software-defined data center. SUSE will continue to innovate on SUSE OpenStack Cloud and offer that innovation to our customers who are looking to build private clouds. SUSE and Mirantis clearly continue to compete directly in the OpenStack market.”

With partnerships in place with Canonical and SUSE, and now support for RHEL and CentOS, Mirantis is inching closer towards becoming a one-stop OpenStack shop

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TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: Mirantis.
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