Mirantis to offer on-demand OpenStack private cloud

Consider OpenStack. The good news is that the open-source cloud framework has huge promise — and lots of vendor backers. The bad news is it consists of lots of modules and remains a complicated install for most companies.

Mirantis aims to change that with OpenStack Express, which it claims will let a company, or even an individual without a ton of IT expertise, order and deploy a private OpenStack implementation and pay for it as it’s used.

This is a “top-down OpenStack cloud at the click of a button, running in the data center of your choice, you select from a drop-down menu how big a cloud you want, where you want it deployed and you pay as you go,” Mirantis CEO Adrian Lionel said in an interview. And by data center of choice, he means one of three IBM/SoftLayer data centers — in San Jose, Amsterdam or Singapore. And, he reiterated — this is “private cloud, no shared infrastructure.”

A customer can, for example, order 2 bare metal servers that support up to 60 virtual machines for $59.98 a day or up to  50 bare metal servers (up to 2,940 VMs) for just under $1,500 per day.

If that works as advertised it would be a big deal for companies interested in running OpenStack but put off by the difficulty in deploying it themselves or the expense of hiring someone else to deploy it for them.

The OpenStack story is the same as every other cloud, said 451 Group analyst Carl Brooks via email.  “It looks easy and fun but it’s actually a giant pain in the rear and super complicated under the hood. It requires direct expertise that doesn’t come with other types of IT operations.”

Mirantis is not the only OpenStack private cloud in town. Rackspace(s tax) is in this space as is HP, Red Hat(s that) and others — and execs from all those companies as well as Nebula will be on hand next week  at Structure, to discuss the progress and pitfalls of OpenStack adoption from their perspectives. In addition, MetaCloud offers private and hybrid OpenStack implementations and manages them for the customer.

But Mirantis has a lot of experience deploying OpenStack for customers — it started off as a systems integrator before deciding to offer its own OpenStack distribution.  If it can package that up in a truly easy-to-consume way, that’s a plus.

General Electric(s ge), McAfee, Symantec(s sync), Alcatel-Lucent and Liberty Mutual have been testing out OpenStack Express since the beta became available 8 weeks ago, he said.

“There’s no long-term contract and you can stop any time you want,” he said.