Bare metal cloud infrastructure: your questions answered
What is bare metal cloud infrastructure, and why is this technology important for the telecoms industry? In a recent podcast, Dez Blanchfield and Ulf Jönsson, Head of NFVI Portfolio Strategy Management at Ericsson, answered these key questions. Here, we outline the main insights from their discussion.
The roll out of 5G is gaining traction, and as a result cloud native is taking off. Cloud-native deployments, however, require a much more efficient and flexible cloud infrastructure. In a recent podcast, Ulf Jönsson, Head of NFVI Portfolio Strategy Management at Ericsson, shared his views on bare metal cloud infrastructure and its benefits, including why it’s becoming an essential prerequisite for edge deployments. Here are some of his insights.
The need for bare metal cloud infrastructure
In 5G, applications are built using cloud native design principles such as micro-services and containers. In addition, the entire telecom network is being transformed to a distributed cloud infrastructure where applications are deployed at an optimal location taking technical and financial aspects into consideration. The reason for these developments is the need to increase speed in application development and deployment, and to be able to meet requirements that many new enterprise services have on the network, for example, short latency, increased security levels and cost efficiency. Another driver is that cloud-native technology addresses some of the technology gaps associated with virtualization, where the most important ones involve smoother software upgrades, automation capabilities and the realization of a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) software pipeline to service providers. In order to handle all of this, service providers will need a very efficient yet flexible cloud infrastructure, which is called bare metal cloud infrastructure. It will be especially important for the realization of edge computing – a vital enabler for many new services going forward.
Bare metal cloud infrastructure and the edge
One of the main challenges for successful edge deployments is to achieve an ultra-low footprint. Most edge locations do not have space enough for modern datacenter facilities, and instead the equipment will be placed in, for example, outdoor cabinets or in old-fashioned central offices with limited space. In these environments, there is no room for wasting server capacity with a lot of software overheads, such as virtualization software. Bare metal cloud infrastructure solves this problem by simply removing the virtualization layer from the cloud stack which can result in a 95 percent utilization of the server capacity for application traffic – which also reduces the amount of hardware needed. There is also a requirement to co-locate enterprise applications with telco functions, which further strengthens the need for software-efficient deployments.
Cloud-native infrastructure using bare metal
Ericsson has recently announced a bare metal cloud infrastructure solution – Ericsson Cloud Native Infrastructure – where cloud-native applications are deployed in containers running directly on the bare metal cloud i.e. no virtualization layer is used. This results in a radical simplification of the network implementation. Ericsson Cloud Native Infrastructure enables a fully automated deployment of a kubernetes layer over bare metal servers without the need for an underlying virtualized layer. This evolution is a huge step forward in simplifying the deployment and operations of cloud-native telecom applications.
Finally, even though we can already see cloud-native applications will run on a bare metal cloud infrastructure in the future, it is important to note that virtual network functions (VNFs) will still be used for many years to come, and they will continue to run on cloud infrastructure solutions using virtualization, such as Ericsson NFVI.
Listen to the full podcast here and learn more about cloud-native, bare metal cloud infrastructure and their relationship to edge computing.
Listen to podcast
Read more about the benefits of Kubernetes on bare metal cloud infrastructure