Mirantis targets telcos that want to deploy compact clouds on premises

DENVER—Mirantis is a cloud platform vendor that counts AT&T among its customers. AT&T uses the company’s software as part of its Network Cloud, which AT&T has built using OpenStack. This week at the Open Infrastructure Summit in Denver, Mirantis announced a new product—Model Designer—to enable telcos to quickly deploy a compact cloud on premises.

RELATED: AT&T taps Mirantis to update its Network Cloud for 5G

Model Designer lets operators customize their Mirantis Cloud Platform. The product is currently in beta but will be available later this month, and it will support Kubernetes clusters in the coming months.

Boris Renski, co-founder and chief marketing officer for Mirantis, said it’s designed to make it simple to manage many small clouds when deploying edge infrastructure. This is particularly important as carriers upgrade their networks for 5G where they’re deploying a distributed cloud as opposed to one big data center. “They would have regional PoPs where they run different components of their network; maybe a couple of clusters with 50 servers,” said Renski. “But they will have hundreds of these regional PoPs.”

With Model Designer, telcos that are deploying NFV infrastructure now have the ability to do software updates on all these distributed clusters in a uniform way. Renski said it provides a model that describes what a cluster looks like, and then it can update regional locations via a software push. “Sometimes it’s kind of hard to build this model,” he said. “A guy in a telco is not likely dealing with YAMIL files. He wants an interface. With Model Designer, this is what we did.”

Telcos must be running Mirantis Cloud Platform in order to take advantage of Model Designer. Mirantis already works with “probably a couple of dozen” American telcos, including Cox Communications, T-Mobile, Verizon and A&T, said Renski.

OpenStack’s future

OpenStack software is pervasive in data centers around the world. But the OpenStack Foundation is grappling with change as containers have become very popular for cloud infrastructure.

RELATED: OpenStack, no longer the rebel, scrambles to stay relevant

The Open Infrastructure Summit in Denver this week is a smaller conference than past OpenStack events. Asked why it was smaller, Renski said, “OpenStack is becoming less popular, and Kubernetes is becoming more popular.” Kubernetes is a container management system, and its community is hosted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which is part of the Linux Foundation. The CNCF also hosts the KubeCon conference, which is drawing more participants.

Renski said that eventually much of OpenStack will become irrelevant, but “it will take a long time,” probably a decade or more. “The tendencies are manifested by how people build new applications,” he said. “Most new apps are cloud native, which means basically containers and Kubernetes. In that picture, you don’t need VMs.”