OpenStack 10 years on: how far have we come?

In July 2020, OpenStack turns ten years old. This open source software is a key technology for virtualization and an important part of NFVI solutions for communication service providers. Now we can look forward to another ten years of OpenStack support to help our customers moving forward.

Product Marketing Manager at Digital Services

Product Marketing Manager at Digital Services

This summer, OpenStack is celebrating 10 years as an open source software community. This important milestone presents a good opportunity to recap on our time in the community, what OpenStack has helped us achieve and what the future holds.

OpenStack is a cornerstone of NFVI solutions

The telecom industry is now around eight years into the network functions virtualization (NFV) transformation for communication service providers. NFV allows service providers to manage and expand their network capabilities on demand using virtual, software-based applications where physical boxes were once placed in the network architecture. It has been a long journey with many bumps alongthe road, but that’s normal in the telecom world.

OpenStack plays a foundational role in the network functions virtualization infrastructure (NFVI) solutions. Here, it forms the virtual infrastructure manager (VIM), together with other software components. NFVI is a telecom cloud platform, which virtual network functions (VNFs) and container-based applications are deployed on. Many types of VNFs and applications can be onboarded including core, IMS, operations support systems, business support systems and a huge number of IT and IoT applications used in 5G. To make a long story short: no NFVI – no 5G.

Our VIM is called Ericsson Cloud Execution Environment and is OpenStack compliant. The VIM dynamically allocates compute, storage and network resources for VNFs with telecom grade capabilities such as redundancy, high availability, high throughput with low latency and trusted tenant isolation.

Ericsson’s engagement in OpenStack

Ericsson joined OpenStack in 2012, and today we are a platinum member of the community. We have dedicated core members and contributors covering upstream development, bug fixing and documentation tasks. Since Ericsson’s solutions are addressing service providers’ needs, our focus during these years has been to contribute functionalities that are necessary to run telecom workloads with all the required characteristics. Our first feature contribution landed in Ceilometer, which is a component of the telemetry project. In total we have close to 1700 commits, and more than 200,000 lines of code.

Today Ericsson is in a position we can be truly proud of in terms of OpenStack deployments – more than 130 live customer deployments all over the world. The initial installations were appliance-type solutions for individual or few virtual VNFs, and after a few years switched over to more advanced cloud deployments including software-defined infrastructure, SDN and orchestration. The work that the OpenStack community has done the last 10 years has played a crucial role in making these deployments possible. A BIG thank you from Ericsson to the entire community!

How to industrialize OpenStack for service provider deployments

One of the most important experiences Ericsson has gained throughout the years of deploying NFVI is that it can be challenging to make the system work, especially when the service provider has cherry-picked components into a “best-of-breed solution”. The service provider is faced with designing a solution that considers the network, integrating it and tuning it, for example setting many parameters correctly. When the solution is in operation, similar challenges must be considered when various parts of the solution are updated and upgraded. Who takes responsibility for the full solution in such a scenario?

Ericsson has chosen to deploy OpenStack as part of a system-verified NFVI solution, which means that we have built competence into the solution. It is tuned for performance, tested thoroughly and we have ensured the high-level and low-level design simplifies customers’ projects. Succeeding with the deployments requires a high degree of automation, which makes it easier to achieve high success rates during deployment and repeat the process many times for new installations. Using a system-verified solution also makes it possible to provide support for the full solution since this important aspect has been considered from the beginning and is a naturally inherent part of the system verification.



System verified NFVI


The future outlook for NFVI and OpenStack

Deploying an NFVI solution is a big investment for service providers. The solution must be able to handle many different workloads, be operationally efficient, robust and easy to evolve to include containers and edge computing capabilities. The solution lifetime must be long – you don’t replace this kind of technology easily. It will stay in the network for many years, and Ericsson provides support throughout the whole lifecycle. Since OpenStack is such a vital part of the solutions we provide, we will also continue to support this community. It is a must for our business and establishing credibility with our customers.

At Ericsson, we’re looking forward to another ten years of continued OpenStack support.

If you want to learn more about how NFVI is used and what it is part of enabling, attend this webinar “Enabling enterprise business through the edge”.

Learn more about Ericsson NFVI

Learn more about edge computing

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