Setting up OpenStack may be trickier than stacking up some server racks. Usually customers don't know what they want and often rely on IT or systems administrators to handle it. But not everyone can afford a full-fledged IT department or an all-around sysadmin.\n\n\n"We had been seeing patterns being requested by customers in our many engagements across the OpenStack market,\u201d says Jim Sangster Sr., director of solutions marketing at Mirantis. \u201cOne pattern was for the request to \u2018just tell me what I should get,\u2019 which is very typical of many companies starting out with OpenStack."\n\n\nResponding to this demand, Mirantis launched its Unlocked Appliances program to make it easy for customers to get started with OpenStack.\n\n\nWhat the offering basically does is take \u201cthe guesswork out of OpenStack by providing a completely prevalidated and preintegrated turnkey system,\u201d Sangster says. \u201cThe complete combination of hardware and software has all been architected and tested together, and documented."\n\n\nTo achieve this feat, Mirantis is collaborating with hardware and software vendors to design and prevalidate architecture configurations that leverage Mirantis OpenStack. Then the company\u2019s rack partners build, deliver and certify appliances for customers.\n\n\nOne of the first certified rack partners to deliver the Mirantis appliances is Redapt, a cloud-focused systems integrator in Redmond, Wash. And the first \u201cstack\u201d of hardware supporting the Unlocked Appliances comes from Dell and Juniper Networks.\n\n\nThe compute and foundation nodes are based on Dell R630 servers, whereas the storage nodes are based on Dell PowerEdge R730xd with dual Intel Xeon E5-2600 CPUs and Intel SSD-based cache optimized for high-performance storage. Mirantis OpenStack 6.1 provides the infrastructure foundation, and each rack includes two Juniper QFX5100s as the data path and one Juniper EX3300 for management.\n\n\nThe appliance offers much needed flexibility and scalability, with configurations ranging from six compute nodes and 12 terabytes of usable storage to a full rack comprised of 24 compute nodes and 24 TB of usable storage. It can scale to a maximum of two racks sustaining over 1,500 virtual machines and 48 TB of usable storage.\n\n\n"Without the program, a customer must first start evaluating and considering what various hardware is going to be used for their cluster and if they are or are not part of a hardware compatibility list,\u201d Sangster adds. \u201cThen they must bring together and install all the hardware and install OpenStack and all the components, and then install any subsequent software. If they are OpenStack experts, this is all possible and, other than for time savings and assurance, they don't necessarily need an Unlocked Appliance."