Mirantis jumped on the OpenStack bandwagon a few years ago when most companies had never heard of it, and it has ridden the wave as the project has grown increasingly popular with each passing year. Today, the company announced $100M in Series B funding to continue its quest to be the leader in enterprise OpenStack, a chunk of change that should help it keep marching forward.
It’s a huge round for any company, but especially one based on open source software, and it’s even more impressive when you consider they raised $20M in total in two rounds total prior to this. The round is led by Insight Venture Partners. Other investors include August Capital, as well as existing investors Intel Capital, WestSummit Capital, Ericsson, and SAP. Alex Crisses, managing director at Insight Venture Partners will get a seat on the Mirantis board of directors as part of the deal.
OpenStack is an open source platform for deploying infrastructure as a service. It was launched four years ago as a joint project by Rackspace and NASA. The idea was to create an open source project as a check against the growing power of large proprietary IaaS providers including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. It has grown steadily and has an involved and growing community, a rich ecosystem and a vibrant supplier network that includes some of the biggest names in enterprise software.
While they probably wouldn’t put it this way, Mirantis wants to be to OpenStack what Red Hat has been to Enterprise Linux. In other words, they want to be the corporate face of the project. And chances are, it’ll need every bit of that money, because it has some pretty stiff competition with the likes of HP, IBM, Cisco and yes, Red Hat, going for a piece of that enterprise OpenStack business. Just a couple of weeks ago, Red Hat announced it would be transitioning from client-server to cloud computing with an emphasis on OpenStack.
But the competition doesn’t scare CEO Adrian Ionel. In fact, he appears to be supremely confident that his is the best pure play OpenStack out there, and he says it’s the only version that is true to its open source roots. When asked about his corporate competition, he says they don’t scare him, and in fact, he tells me his team trained the HP, Red Hat and Cisco engineering teams in OpenStack. “I’m not so sure they are heavy hitters, but they are all large, that’s for sure,” he said sarcastically.
Ionel feels good about his position because he says he’s the only real open-OpenStack vendor out there unless you want to take your chances with the raw open source code. “Most customers who are adopting OpenStack are looking for open pure play. They don’t want to be locked into the product architecture of one specific vendor.” And he claims if you go with one of the big corporate names, they will add proprietary parts that will lock customers into those versions.
He says his company’s is the only version out there that has actually been tested in large deployments and he says the company has 136 customers such as Wells Fargo, Orange, DirectTV and Ericsson (one of the company’s investors), and he says the company raised this money to send a message that they are in it for the long haul. “We are in it for the long run and think we can build a VMware-sized company,” he told me. What’s more Ionel says the company has gone from booking $1M a month in new business last year at this time to $1M a week now. The company is growing in leaps and bounds, and it has obviously attracted the attention of investors. He says straight out that the company expects to submit their IPO paperwork some time in 2016.
And Mirantis is being a good corporate citizen. Ionel says they contribute 100 percent of everything they do upstream to the project and dedicate over 100 engineers to the next release of OpenStack. That’s a lot of resources for a company with 600 employees, 420 of which are engineers.
As you would expect, that number is going to grow now with the new influx of cash, but even without the money, Ionel is a leader with confidence in his company and his products and he clearly wants to be the leader in enterprise OpenStack. The money his company got today should help.