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Equinix Metal and Mirantis: Multi-Cloud without Confusion or Compromise

John Jainschigg - August 23, 2021 - | | |

Recently, Mirantis completed the technical integration of Mirantis Container Cloud with Equinix Metal — a global bare-metal cloud and connectivity provider whose 220+ data centers in 63 major metros sit adjacent to internet interchange points: close to customers in tech, finance, online media and advertising, and other industries.

What does this mean? It means Mirantis Container Cloud can provision and manage Equinix Metal bare metal infrastructure by leveraging Equinix Metal’s provider API. When you need a new Mirantis Kubernetes Engine or Mirantis OpenStack cluster, you push a few buttons through the Container Cloud web UI (or make a REST call to its API), and Container Cloud marshals resources on Equinix Metal, sets up your servers, then deploys Kubernetes (and then, as needed, OpenStack) on them. In a few minutes, you can access your new cluster by clicking through the Container Cloud web UI’s single sign-on, and observe it via its StackLight telemetry (installed at deploy time by Container Cloud) and preconfigured Grafana dashboards. To experience this yourself, you can sign up for our free trial.

Cloud elasticity, with bare metal performance. Technically, this is similar to the way Container Cloud integrates with AWS or VMware, provisioning virtual machines and networks and invoking other services (such as DNS and load balancing) to host and wrap a Kubernetes cluster and make it ready for dev/test/production. But to repeat: in Equinix Metal’s case, these are bare metal servers — more performant, and in several dimensions, more predictable and secure than VMs (i.e., no sharing a physical box with VMs from unknown parties, no competition for host CPU, resources, or network bandwidth, no hypervisor overhead, and so on). And they’re located in the Equinix Metal datacenter (available in 18 global metros) that’s closest to your customers.

Internet proximity. Broadly speaking, the word “closest” means “internet proximity” — Equinix Metal datacenters are strategically located in or adjacent to major metros and attached to internet exchanges, making them a small number of router hops from customers and several-to-many milliseconds closer in packet round-trip time than any of the available compute solutions from the leading public cloud providers. For certain kinds of applications (e.g., finance, trading, communications, other SaaS services, and so on) this proximity offers a big competitive advantage.

For key industries such as media, however, Equinix Metal can do one better, and make “closest” mean “one rack over.” Part of Equinix Metal’s value is that they offer colocation services to verticals in key geographies, collecting critical systems from whole industry sectors together for better interoperation and coordinated support. So your performance-critical applications could, with some planning, end up mere feet from the customers you serve. 

A head-end for your multi-cloud. Mirantis Container Cloud, meanwhile, is a distributed, multi-provider operations management solution. That means you can extend it easily to provision consistent Mirantis Kubernetes Engine clusters on a wide range of other infrastructures — like your VMware private cloud, or AWS, or Azure, or aggregations of bare metal edge servers on customer premises.

Application, configuration, and LCM portability. Consistent clusters everywhere means your containerized applications, their configurations, and your application lifecycle-management automation work, with few adjustments, on any of these target clusters. This is much faster, simpler, less risky, and cheaper overall than trying to move complex workloads between Brand “X” K8s over here, and Brand “Y” K8s over there. 

One kind of ops automation. And because these far-flung clusters are managed by Mirantis Container Cloud, you end up with a single pane of glass for monitoring and operations, a single point of integration for identity, notifications, ticketing and more, and a single RESTful API for automating everything, everywhere. So you can build one set of ops automation, using any tool you like, that talks to Container Cloud to produce anything you need: self-service portal for devs, blue/green deployment harness, intelligent auto-scaling, and so on.

This is much cheaper, cleaner, faster, and less risky than skilling up to manage variant breeds of Kubernetes on different infrastructures, writing and maintaining what’s essentially the same DIY automation several different ways, using different tools and APIs.

Continuous, non-disruptive updates. Mirantis Container Cloud also receives and queues continuous updates from Mirantis for all components of the stack — Container Cloud itself, the host OS, Kubernetes, and OpenStack — most of which can be applied without bringing down clusters, halting applications, interrupting the flow of metrics, or disrupting other operations. You maintain full control, so you can pin Linux kernel versions, Kubernetes updates, and so on, if you want. You can manually stage updates, experiment, and roll back. But by and large, this is engineered to ‘just work,’ and work automatically. So your multi-cloud can keep up with security and other patches, and you can consume new features and improvements with minimum risk.

Deployment flexibility – Add clusters aligned as business needs for location/control/workload arise without having to worry about manageability, and friendlier pricing based on cluster size rather than enterprise instance. 

All this, and it’s fully-managed by Mirantis. Does this all sound good? Mirantis’ support organization (bolstered by Equinix Metal support) will design and build and monitor and maintain it for you under stringent SLAs, engaging other Mirantis service arms to help solve challenges you may encounter with application modernization, software development and testing workflow, “secure supply chain” CI/CD, and so on. 

Meanwhile, you’ve leaped ahead. At this point, a Mirantis Container Cloud customer running on Equinix Metal has gotten ahead of several trends:

  • They have all the benefits of private cloud: control of location, control of connectivity, deep control over the technology stack, privacy, high performance.
  • With the advantages of public cloud: including a fully-managed solution, usage-based billing (spend OpEx, not CapEx), and cloud elasticity (need to scale? just push the button — Equinix Metal has a lot of servers).
  • And a single, simple gateway to multi-cloud: Want to leverage a new machine type on AWS, keep your finance data on your VMware private cloud, or air-drop your applications into k8s clusters deployed on edge servers at your customers’ premises? We got you. Mirantis Container Cloud, Mirantis Kubernetes Engine, and Mirantis OpenStack for Kubernetes can do all this.

So we’re excited about this joint offering with Equinix Metal, and both organizations are working hard to make it a success. Please take a look at the joint solution brief, sign up for our free trial, and get in touch if you’d like to learn more. 

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