To support telecom operators in their 5G and edge projects, CNCF is pushing its Kubernetes orchestrator to validate solutions and encourage inter-cloud compatibility.
During KubeCon in Valencia, May 17-20, 2022, the Cloud Native Computer Foundation focused on building the Kubernetes platform in the telecom and edge ecosystem. The starting point for this flirting operation was the creation of a certification tailored to the needs of telecom operators: the CNF Certification Program (CNF for Cloud Native Network Function) for telcos. The latter aims to help telecom operators use container cluster orchestrators and native cloud tools to ensure better interoperability of services within and with their customers. Inspired by the initiatives of the OpenInfra Foundation, which is driving the development of OpenStack, this approach is particularly important for CNCF, which aims to expand its commercial scope by helping engineers and developers in the telecom world. to use Kubernetes.
“The transition to cloud-native infrastructures has long been difficult for telecom providers who have migrated to virtual machines and found themselves with siled resources and specialized solutions not built for the cloud,” explains by Priyanka Sharma at KubeCon 2022., CEO of CNCF. The idea now is to encourage them to use microservices with lighter and easier to deploy containers. “Kubernetes is not designed for the network, so it is a big challenge for CNCF to support the operators”. The test suite offered by the foundation-the CNF Test Suite-supports any product that runs in a CNCF-certified Kubernetes environment and will run approximately 70 workload tests. “It is based on 10 projects hosted by CNCF and several open source tools, including Fluentd, Helm, Jaeger and Prometheus”, defines the foundation. These tests are divided into seven categories: Compatibility, Ease of Installation and Scalability; microservices; State; Reliability, Stability and Availability; Observation and Diagnostics; Security; and setup. Operators will be able to verify their applications using this test suite and then submit the results to be considered for certification. Vendors like Huawei, Nokia, T-Mobile, and Vodafone are already using Kubernetes and other cloud-native technologies. In a panel discussion on the topic, Tom Kivlin, Cloud Architect at Vodafone, commented that “Building, deploying and operating Telco workloads in distributed cloud environments is complex. […] CNF certification is a great tool with which we can measure and pilot cloud native practices across our platforms and network functions. »
Orange relies on Kubernetes for its future services
After the CNCF round table, we were able to speak briefly with Philippe Ensarguet, technical director of OBS (Orange Business Services). “We have a 10+ year window from our last history on OpenStack, so we’re still pretty much learning. Operators, especially Europeans, are considering the partnership to have a common engineering base. So far, the project is modest: How can we get better? How can we be more productive? How can we change faster, how can we manage the question of costs and revenue ”. OBS, but especially its parent company Orange, has completely not gone to the cloud with risky options and less qualified partners in the Cloudwatt project (eNovance, acquired by Red Hat). Now, the French operator seems to have better understood the essence of the Kubernetes platform. “We need to have a common DNA in our infrastructure. We need to hurry, be smart, build and do it together. For example, tomorrow you will buy a service, from Ericsson for example, that is in container format for deployment. it and offer it to customers, ”Philippe Ensarguet explained to us.
“We were told that in order to have a more automated infrastructure, easier to deploy and maintain, it needs to be separated, by separating the software part from the hardware part. But we discovered that in the middle was the orchestra. And this orchestra plays an absolute key role to consider new operational models to bring stability, to provision, to provide self-healing capabilities of infrastructures that address themselves in orchestra. Finally, we are still reaching a level of technological breakthrough that will allow us to build infrastructures, which are nevertheless very interesting ”. Note that the Kubernetes project on telecom infrastructures is an Orange-led project, but it will also be beneficial to OBS, according to the technical director. “Today, 55% of revenue comes from the network, and 45% from IT and digital, in three years, we will have more revenue from IT and digital, specifically in the cloud. […] We don’t need hyperscalers to deploy 5G services from the cloud, ”the CTO concluded.