There's a war on for control of a hugely important market, cloud computing—and an enterpreneur you've never heard of, Boris Renski, is smack in the middle of it.
Mirantis helps big IT vendors build clouds—Internet-based agglomerations of storage, computing power, bandwidth, and other resources—based on an open-source technology called OpenStack. So far, Mirantis has worked with Cisco, Dell, GE, Agilent, NASA, HP and AT&T on OpenStack deployments, it says.
And OpenStack is one of four main ways of building clouds. Its competitors are Amazon, the 800-pound gorilla of cloud computing; VMware; and Citrix. OpenStack was created by a consortium of tech vendors led by Rackspace. Its backers include HP, Dell, and Cisco.
Cisco even turned to OpenStack and Mirantis to help it find a way out of its increasingly hostile relationship with VMware, once a close partner.
Cloud computing is turning into a modern-day version of the race to build the railroads. Back in the day, railroad builders couldn't agree on a standard gauge, which meant trains couldn't switch from track to track. Similarly, enterprises can easily move their apps between clouds built on the same technology, but they can't move to clouds built on a different standard. Right now each faction is trying to build as many clouds as it can and pull customers into their camp.
Mirantis has amassed so much power because OpenStack is a very young technology. The first OpenStack clouds came online in October. Mirantis's employees have the most experience with OpenStack. Renski is on the board of the OpenStack consortium.
The investment by Dell Ventures and Intel Capital doesn't necessarily give those companies an inside track on Mirantis, since those companies' venture funds operate at arm's length. But their investments do give Mirantis a valuable stamp of approval among enterprise buyers.
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