Adrian Ionel is back at the helm of Mirantis as CEO at a time when the shift to hybrid cloud computing is tantalizingly close to being an everyday IT reality.
Ionel is one of the original co-founders of Mirantis, which provides a curated instance of OpenStack and Kubernetes cluster software alongside a suite of services to manage them on behalf of a customer. Ionel replaces Alex Freeland, who will remain on the board of directors of Mirantis.
The decision to shift leaders is being driven by the need for Mirantis to grow more rapidly at a time when IT organizations soon will be moving toward unifying the management of multiple clouds, said Ionel.
While Mirantis owes its existence to OpenStack, the company has been rapidly developing Kubernetes expertise that is at the heart of a recently unfurled managed hybrid cloud computing service. Ionel said the rise of Kubernetes provides a unique opportunity to manage private and public cloud services based on Kubernetes via a central control plane.
The challenge Mirantis will face in achieving that goal is the reluctance IT organizations historically have shown when it comes relinquishing control over their IT environments to a third party. In addition, an already fierce number of rival managed service providers (MSPs) also are moving to embrace Kubernetes.
Ionel said most IT organizations underestimate the complexity of managing multiple clouds. As more of them come to that realization, the number of organizations looking to rely more on external expertise to deploy modern microservices-based applications on Kubernetes should increase substantially. To facilitate that transition, Mirantis has crafted a hybrid Kubernetes service that can be invoked programmatically by developers. A crucial factor driving that decision will be increased awareness of the perils of being locked into a specific public cloud service provider. In fact, Ionel noted that many IT organizations today underestimate how easy it is to become entangled by proprietary application programming interfaces (APIs) on a public cloud service such as Amazon Web Services (AWS).
For the immediate future Ionel said Mirantis expects to see most instances of Kubernetes to be deployed on top of virtual infrastructure. Use of Kubernetes on bare-metal systems is confined largely to application development, he said. But as Kubernetes continues to mature, Ionel noted it’s only a matter of time before IT organizations will be deploying more instances of Kubernetes running on both virtual machines and bare-metal servers. That, of course, will further add to the complexity that needs to be navigated.
Ionel said rivals underestimate just how healthy the current Mirantis business is as use of OpenStack continues to increase. AT&T, for example, has now deployed more than 10,000 nodes employing instances of OpenStack provided by Mirantis, he said.
New CEOs don’t usually magically transform a company by their mere presence. But in the case of Mirantis, the opportunity for Ionel to turn potential in real growth is higher, for no other reason than he doesn’t have to first learn how the company operates.