This week, Mirantis joined the small number of cloud providers who have developed and released their own OpenStack distribution. The cloud consulting company, which specializes in building OpenStack-based clouds, is calling Mirantis OpenStack the first "zero lock-in" OpenStack distribution for the enterprise market, as well as the first commercial OpenStack distro.

The first commercial OpenStack distribution is a bit of a stretch, as others -- including Rackspace, Red Hat, Canonical and SUSE -- all have their own commercial OpenStack distros, but the "zero lock-in" element is kind of interesting. According to Mirantis, its distribution integrates core OpenStack components, as well as related OpenStack projects and third-party plugins.

"We are focused only on helping our customers succeed with OpenStack. No other distribution of OpenStack offers customers this range of choice or extensibility in their cloud," said Adrian Ionel, Mirantis CEO, in a prepared statement.

Forgetting the discussion about firsts or lack thereof, the release of Mirantis OpenStack is nothing to ignore. And according to Charles King, principal analyst of Pund-IT, the company's "considerable experience in cloud consulting/implementation" puts it in a potentially good position.

King told Talkin' Cloud that "this new offering could bolster the company as a go-to partner for OpenStack/open source clouds." He also commented that the "zero lock-in" element of the release will actually be a big deal to customers because it means Mirantis OpenStack can be purchased "without regard to underlying hardware/software and deployed on virtually any platform that supports OpenStack APIs."

To customers, that is a powerful degree of flexibility -- and it's something those building OpenStack clouds may want to think about.

Mirantis is a pure play OpenStack vendor that is among the top five contributors to the OpenSource Havana release. It has taken a unique approach with the way it has developed and released its OpenStack distribution, but it probably won't stay unique for long.

King said he expects more vendors to develop and deliver their own implementations of OpenStack. It's not hard to imagine some may take a similar path in their development.