ZTE claims current container platforms can’t meet the networking needs of telecom operators, especially as the market migrates to 5G networks. To meet those “carrier-grade” needs, ZTE is adding its newly developed open source Knitter container networking product as part of a cloud platform already serving the IT space.
Deep insight into the new product remains scarce, but the company did note that Knitter is an end-to-end container networking platform that supports the Kubernetes framework. It includes multiple network planes, static application IP address migration, and configurable IP resources. This allows it to meet telecom requirements for high concurrency, throughput, and multiple network planes.
Knitter fits into ZTE’s Tulip Elastic Cloud System (TECS) platform-as-a-service (PaaS) that currently serves the IT space. TECS is based on OpenStack and complies with network functions virtualization (NFV) architecture. It uses centralized scheduling and management for virtualized infrastructure resources through unified interfaces.
More specifically, Knitter sits inside ZTE’s OpenPalette, which is one of six components within TECS. OpenPalette is a container cloud platform that uses Docker containers and Kubernetes as an orchestrator.
ZTE in a statement explained that Knitter offers increased versatility compared with traditional native Kubernetes network models, which it deemed “too simple to meet telco service requirements.” This includes lower costs and support for continuous NFV development that is core to 5G network deployments.
The vendor last year was announced as a founding member of the OpenStack Foundation’s Kata Containers project. The project’s goal is to unite the security advantages of virtual machines (VMs) with the speed and manageability of containers. It’s designed to be hardware agnostic and compatible with the Open Container Initiative (OCI) specification for Docker containers as well as the container runtime interface (CRI) for Kubernetes.