Nokia updated its CloudBand software platform with an in-house developed open source OpenStack platform that better supports containerized deployments for edge computing. The vendor had previously worked with Red Hat’s OpenStack platform for CloudBand.
Nokia’s CloudBand software platform is an ETSI NFV management and orchestration (MANO) system that can be deployed on any combination of NFV infrastructure (NFVi), virtualized infrastructure manager (VIM), generic VNF manager, and NFV orchestrator. It allows an operator to host, orchestrate, automate, and manage VNFs and services.
From a macro level, the latest update provides a single NFVi/VIM to support and manage virtual machine (VM) and containerized workloads. This includes the integration of Kubernetes to support the migration of those workloads from VMs to containers.
Dan McBride, software marketing director at Nokia, said the update was a response to operators moving toward digitization using a cloud platform; the deployment of 5G networks and supporting edge computing and cloud RAN architectures; and the increased use of containers to support those edge and cloud RAN deployments.
Ronen Totem, CloudBand program manager at Nokia, said that last point was the basis for the inclusion of Kubernetes into the platform.
“We are introducing Kubernetes as part of this, and it will help us to eventually move from VMs to containers,” Totem said.
Zooming in on the switch away from Red Hat’s OpenStack platform, McBride said Nokia was looking for more agility and control.
“The Red Hat distro made it difficult to find a footprint small enough to operate in those [edge cloud] environments, so we found we needed to veer off and develop our own,” McBride said, adding that the move also simplified the licensing process for Nokia and it’ customers. “It’s one less license for us and our customers to bear.”
McBride said the CloudBand platform now provides for “more timely maintenance and feature updates” as Nokia provides more direct control over the platform. It also has more control over localized infrastructure security. He noted this was of growing importance in terms of geographical compliance regulations.
Despite the move away from Red Hat with this latest CloudBand update, McBride said Nokia was not moving away completely from Red Hat. “We are still a Red Hat customer and will remain so,” he said.
Red Hat itself has moved to further tighten the integration between its OpenStack platform and its container-focused OpenShift platform.
As for timing, McBride said that going with a container-based environment today would provide operators with time to get more comfortable with that environment as they progress toward their edge cloud deployments. “We will then work on the ability to add tools for working in that footprint,” he said.
The platform is targeted at operators that lack the resources to tackle such deployments on their own. Nokia is supplying the CloudBand platform as part of its recent $3.5 billion 5G contract with T-Mobile US.
“The folks like AT&T and Verizon can go it alone. They can take on the integration work, the hardening and collecting of the tools needed,” McBride said. “But a vast majority don’t have that luxury and want simplicity to help them along this path. We are lowering that bar for these folks.”
AT&T, for instance, has been pushing its recent Airship initiative that is the implementation of a declarative platform to introduce OpenStack on Kubernetes (OOK) and the lifecycle management of the resulting cloud. Basically, Airship allows operators to manage cloud sites at every stage from creation through minor and major updates, including configuration changes and OpenStack upgrades. It does this through a unified, declarative, fully containerized, and cloud-native platform.