Mirantis declared a major victory when automaker VW chose it over Red Hat for a huge OpenStack implementation, says a report from TechCrunch. For both — the open source OpenStack project and Mirantis (one of the few pure-play OpenStack startups left standing) — this was a huge achievement.

Mirantis Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn

Mirantis grabs a big project but not its first

Boris Renski, CMO and co-founder at Mirantis, said the project is enormous, involving dozens of data centers and tens of thousands of nodes. When Renski was asked if such a massive project might be a strain on a startup, the executive pointed out that it is not their first large customer implementation. Their other enterprise customers include GAP, eBay, Ericsson, and AT&T, says TechCrunch.

Speaking to TechCrunch, Mario Mueller, corporate director of IT operational services and infrastructure technologies at Volkswagen Group, said VW went the private cloud route because it saw some problems with public cloud offerings, including a lack of features it was specifically looking for.

“Given the scale of our use case, we knew we [would] need to have a private cloud at some point. We also knew that private cloud would require more work. As we pursue digital transformation at VW group, we aim to tackle the hard problems first,” Muller said.

Purely on merit

VW wanted to run a private cloud on OpenStack, and after a call for requests for proposals, it came down to Mirantis and Red Hat. The two vendors were judged by VW solely on technical merit and based on their performance in solving tasks based on VW’s technical requirements. Mirantis scored highest and won the project in the end. Throughout the process, VW put its finalists through the paces with 63 small pilots and use cases they had to solve at VW headquarters by working in groups in separate rooms, says TechCrunch.

Mirantis’ VP of worldwide sales, Marque Teegardin, told the website,” It was an extremely rigorous process. We had two weeks to complete all of the tasks and a week to present them to the VW team.”

OpenStack was created in 2010 by NASA, Rackspace and others as an open source private cloud project to check the growing power of AWS. Mirantis has been hanging in and securing its wins against some of the biggest traditional IT vendors even when many early startups have gone out of business. Since it was founded in 2011, Mirantis has raised $220 million with the most recent round being $100 million in August 2015.