Benefits of Kubernetes on bare metal cloud infrastructure

Bare metal cloud infrastructure is being introduced to run 5G applications in containers. This is a natural development of the shift the industry is going through from virtualized network functions to cloud native applications. But what are the benefits of running Kubernetes on a bare metal cloud infrastructure compared to a virtualized infrastructure?

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Product Marketing Manager at Digital Services

Strategic Solution Manager at Business Area Digital Services

Product Marketing Manager at Digital Services

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Strategic Solution Manager at Business Area Digital Services

Cloud native technology and the role of CNCF

Let’s start with a brief recap on cloud native and CNCF – Cloud Native Computing Foundation. With the introduction of 5G, new use cases drive the need for designing applications based on containers and service-based architecture to address some technology gaps associated with virtualization. The most important technology gaps involve smoother software upgrades, automation and the realization of a CI/CD software pipeline to end customers.

In the center of cloud native technology development is CNCF, an open source community driving the adoption of the cloud native paradigm across industries by fostering collaboration between the industry’s top developers, end users and vendors. Since CNCF is such a huge community, the focus on the telecom industry has been limited. But now with the formation of the Telecom User Group (A Special Interest Group) within CNCF, Ericsson has taken a leading role in telecom related discussions in the community.

Cloud native

Cloud native infrastructure using bare metal

The current industry trend is to deploy Kubernetes in virtual machines hosted on a virtualized platform within an NFVI solution. This deployment approach works well as an intermediate step for introducing cloud native applications, but deploying Kubernetes in virtual environments adds additional cost and complexity to the cloud infrastructure.

In order to further simplify the deployment of Kubernetes and to leverage the full benefits and efficiency promise of the cloud native technology, the underlying cloud infrastructure needs to be optimized. That’s why Ericsson recently launched a new cloud infrastructure solution optimized for cloud native applications.

The solution, Ericsson Cloud Native Infrastructure, is using a bare metal cloud native architecture which means that no virtualization layer is needed in the cloud stack. Instead, cloud native applications are deployed in containers running directly on the bare metal cloud, which results in a radical simplification of the network implementation. It is important to note that virtual network functions (VNFs) will be around for years to come, and they will continue to run on NFVI.

Ericsson Cloud Native Infrastructure enables a fully automated deployment of Kubernetes layer over bare metal servers without the need for an underlying virtualized layer. This evolution in NFVI is a huge step forward in simplifying the deployment and operations of telecom cloud native applications.


What are the benefits of Kubernetes over a bare metal infrastructure?

  • Network deployment and operations are simplified through easier lifecycle management of the cloud infrastructure. Since the virtualization layer is not part of the cloud stack, fewer teams are involved, thereby streamlining management and operations. The reduced complexity also results in faster fault isolation and troubleshooting.
  • With the elimination of the virtualization layer, the infrastructure overhead is drastically reduced. More compute and storage resources are now available for application deployments thereby increasing hardware efficiency. This is especially important for edge computing, which often have resource constraints in remote sites.
  • Another big advantage is that no software license fees are needed for the virtualization software, resulting in substantial TCO savings for CSPs.
  • Application performance is better and more deterministic on bare metal deployments since bottlenecks like the guest operating system and virtual switches are removed with the virtualization layer.
  • Automated lifecycle management and the seamless introduction of CI/CD are crucial benefits with a bare metal cloud infrastructure. These functionalities are challenging to introduce in a cloud stack with many dependencies, but with a simplified solution using fewer layers, automation will be easier to achieve end-to-end
  • Another advantage is that the introduction of new hardware acceleration technologies like smart NICs (Network Interface Cards) and support for GPUs (Graphics Processing Units), needed for very demanding applications become easier for new 5G use cases.

Ericsson estimates that the TCO savings for deploying Kubernetes on a bare metal compared to a virtualized infrastructure can be as high as 30 percent, depending on application and configuration. Ericsson Cloud Native Infrastructure will be available on the market later this year to support CSPs 5G and cloud native introduction. View this brief video about Ericsson Cloud Native Infrastructure summarizing the next step in cloud infrastructure evolution.


Watch the Telecom TV interview where Peter Wörndle, expert on NFV at Business Unit Digital Services at Ericsson discusses how far CSP's has come in adoption to cloud native technologies.

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