Ryan van Wyk, assistant vice president of cloud platform development at AT&T, explained in a blog post that the collaboration is part of the carrier’s new AIC Container Platform (AIC-CP). The platform relies on Kubernetes for its automated deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications; containers as a stand-alone, executable package of software components; and the OpenStack-Helm project for deployment, maintenance, and upgrading of OpenStack services.
Van Wyk said that OpenStack-Helm combines Kubernetes, OpenStack, and Helm to create templates – dubbed Helm-Charts – for each OpenStack service. Helm is the package manager, while Charts are the packages. The Charts packages reside within a Kubernetes repository.
“These Helm-Charts are a mechanism for describing how to instantiate the cloud resources using Kubernetes,” van Wyk explained. “They also instruct Kubernetes how to manage the complete life cycle of the OpenStack cloud infrastructure.”
This allows for a customizable framework for operators and developers, and allows end-users to deploy and manage operational OpenStack environments.
CoreOS CEO Alex Polvi said that OpenStack can be “a bit fragile,” and containers can be useful to make an organization’s infrastructure behave like that of a web-scale cloud provider.
Van Wyk said the overarching goal of the AIC-CP plan is to bolster the carrier’s cloud platform by streamlining the development process and adding new capabilities. He noted this would address challenges of large-scale OpenStack clouds, and bring OpenStack applications into a cloud-native model.
“Through our work with OpenStack-Helm and the greater open source community, we are establishing a new industry standard for building, deploying, and upgrading cloud environments, and ultimately, hastening the global shift to a software-centric infrastructure,” van Wyk said.
The move also appears to tackle some previously expressed concerns over the scalability of OpenStack deployments.
Randy Bias, vice president of technology and strategy for cloud software at Juniper and an early leader in the OpenStack community, had previously explained the platform had become bogged down in attempting to meet the needs of large operators. This led to a number of carriers that jumped in early on using OpenStack for their software-defined networking (SDN) plans complaining that the vendor community was unable to provide the needed solutions.
Earlier this year, Andre Fuetsch, president of AT&T Labs and CTO at the carrier, said that despite those concerns, AT&T remained committed to the OpenStack community.
“Certainly some have been concerned about OpenStack in terms of its scaling and complexity, but we’re far enough down the road with OpenStack that we are fully committed,” Fuetsch said at that time. “We absolutely look at a very long horizon in terms of where things are going and are always evaluating alternatives and options, but for now we are all in.”
AT&T had initially planned to have more than 100 AIC zones by the end of last year, but ended up with just more than 80 zones deployed. The carrier now plans to hit more than 100 AIC zones by the end of 2017.