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By | Gavin Clarke 21st October 2014 18:41

How much will it take to make OpenStack better? Well, stack dev Mirantis just bagged $100m ...

We'll knock out a wall there, put through some pipes there

Three-year-old OpenStack startup Mirantis has scored $100m in venture-capital funding, we're told.

The series-B cash injection came from Intel Capital, Ericsson, and Sapphire Ventures (formerly SAP Ventures) and other investors.

Mirantis was founded in 2011, and (until now) had $20m in the bank from Valley sugar daddies. It offers software, services, testing, certification, training, and support to customers running OpenStack. Mirantis's flavor of the software is the basis of OpenStack Express, the firm’s hosted cloud service.

The upstart claims to have helped more than 130 customers implement OpenStack – from Ericsson, Expedia and PayPal to Huawei and NTT Docomo.

Increasingly, it’s the service-provider field where Mirantis has found a niche: it claims to be the largest provider of OpenStack products and services for network carriers, such as Orange, Comcast and Tata Communications. Ericsson, meanwhile, has a $30m five-year deal with Mirantis to license the company’s software.

Mirantis is one of the top-five contributors to the OpenStack project, and will use the fresh Valley lucre to double its engineering efforts.

And a hundred million dollars is not bad for a series-B round. Venture-capital funding is edging up, with Alfresco and Xamarin taking about $50m each this year, for example.

Bagging double that reveals Mirantis's negotiation powers and/or the state of the OpenStack market. VCs couldn’t be more optimistic about the cloud.

However, the money tells another story: it takes a lot of expensive work to develop, install and configure OpenStack clouds – even grizzled veterans in the service-provider space lack the skills needed to weave OpenStack, it seems. The software is notorious for being difficult to set up and run.

One telling comment in the announcement came from a real-world customer of Mirantis: Home Depot, the US equivalent of the UK's Homebase.

Nicholas Summers, Home Depot cloud architect, in a statement called Mirantis's flavor of OpenStack the only “truly hardened and commercially-supported OpenStack distribution” that you can just download, install using an “intuitive” user interface, and be up and running in no time.

“With everyone else, you either get raw upstream code or need to engage in an elaborate sales discussion before even getting your hands on the commercial version,” he said. Indeed. ®

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