Red Hat and Mirantis: The gloves are off

Once upon a time Red Hat and Mirantis got on very well. Just last year, Red Hat invested in and partnered with the OpenStack systems integrator, but then Mirantis released its own OpenStack distribution and buddied up with Canonical, and when Mirantis raised $100 million last month Red Hat was most definitely not a participant.

Also, in June Red Hat bought French systems integrator eNovance to kinda do for it what Mirantis was supposed to be doing. So, with all that activity in recent months, how are Red Hat and Mirantis getting on these days? Funny you ask.

“We took an investment in [company]Mirantis[/company] under the pretense that was going to be a consulting [partnership],” [company]Red Hat [/company]tech chief Paul Cormier told me today at the OpenStack Summit in Paris. “We were looking for a consulting partner and they decided to get into the product space. That’s their prerogative.”

“So we went out and got a better consulting partner, eNovance. They’ve got really interesting management technologies that we’re integrating into our products now.”

But hang on … Mirantis CEO Adrian Ionel (pictured above) has a very different take on what happened between the two companies.

Paul Cormier,  Red Hat's executive vice president and president of products and technologies.

Paul Cormier, Red Hat’s executive vice president and president of products and technologies.

“There is a contract on the books that had our software and product story as part of the agreement with Red Hat, that Red Hat signed as part of the investment,” Ionel told me. “We signed an alliance agreement at the time to integrate our product story with theirs. They didn’t honor it.”

Now, as you’ll recall, earlier this year there was a bit of a kerfuffle around Red Hat’s unwillingness to fully support non-Red-Hat OpenStack deployments on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) – an arguable storm in a teacup that nonetheless painted a picture of the company as one that wants to achieve some lock-in in the supposedly anti-lock-in OpenStack game.

Bearing that in mind, back to Ionel: “Red Hat asked us to completely lock ourselves into their operating system as a condition for honoring the agreement.”

Was that in the contract? “No, because we were supposed to be free,” he replied. “So they changed their position from saying, ‘Let’s make Red Hat a first-class citizen on par with everybody else,’ and they wanted to change it to be the only choice. After the deal Red Hat came back, Paul specifically, and he said Red Hat is the only citizen, not a first-class citizen.”

Wowzer. So, with this much bad blood, does Mirantis want out of its tattered partnership with Red Hat, as was reported? “We’re going to let it run and that’s it,” Ionel said. “We want to work with Red Hat, we want to work on Red Hat, but we can’t make Red Hat the only one.”