Ericsson joins OpenStack, aiming at operators with cloud ambitions

The company will help improve fault management and support for VMware

Ericsson has joined OpenStack as part of its plan to serve operators that want to become cloud computing providers, the company said on Tuesday.

OpenStack is an open-source community that develops software for private and public clouds. The Swedish telecommunications vendor will contribute to help develop OpenStack to support carrier-grade services and applications.

The services and applications include a number of areas, according to András Vajda, cloud management driver at Ericsson's Cloud Program. One of those areas is fault management, which is completely missing from OpenStack today. Ericsson is also planning to develop proper support for VMware, including the ability to migrate virtual machines between hosts, Vajda said.

The company will most likely contribute to help improve OpenStack's networking features, as well.

"There will always be a trade-off between what goes back into OpenStack, and what we use as an add-on on top. That is still not worked out completely internally," Vajda said.

At Mobile World Congress, Ericsson is demonstrating an upcoming management tool for OpenStack-based clouds.

The demonstration uses a test bed consisting of three data centers, distributed across different continents. The tool is used to create and connect virtual data centers at each of the three physical locations, and join them together to form a distributed virtual private cloud.

The tool can also automate the deployment of cloud services or applications, and Ericsson has integrated an automated service-level agreement (SLA) resolution, as well. Along with technology from Telcordia, which Ericsson has acquired, the management tool will feed into Ericsson's recently announced Network-enabled Cloud concept.

"There are two main differentiating factors for operators compared to other cloud providers. One, they have a trusted relationship with their enterprise customers and the second one is their control of the network," Vajda said.

Ericsson's concept will allow operators to provision a cloud service and configure the network resources needed at the same time. That is something Amazon or other big public cloud providers can't do, according to Vajda.

The next step in Ericsson's cloud concept will be to start moving data centers out into the network. Many components in today's operator networks run on hardened Intel-based servers. Spare capacity on those servers is a tremendous resource that can be used for cloud services, according to Vajda.

"Our solution will allow that compute power to be used for latency or bandwidth-sensitive services," said Vajda.

By moving applications closer to the user, operators could both save bandwidth and improve performance, he said.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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