Airship 1.0 marries Kubernetes and OpenStack for 5G's good


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In Denver, Colo., at Open Infrastructure Summit, formerly the OpenStack Summit, the OpenStack Foundation announced that Airship 1.0, a set of open-source tools for automating cloud provisioning and management, has been released. Airship provides a declarative framework for defining and managing open infrastructure tools and their underlying hardware. These tools include OpenStack for virtual machines, Kubernetes for container orchestration, and Metal-as-a-Service (MaaS) for bare metal, with planned support for OpenStack Ironic.

By design, Airship has four goals:

  • Use a declarative architecture: Sites are declared using YAML. This includes both hard assets such as network configuration and bare-metal hosts as well as soft assets like Helm charts, their overrides, and container images. You manage the document and Airship implements it.
  • A single workflow for life-cycle management: We needed a system with predictable life-cycle management at its core. This meant ensuring we had one workflow that handled both initial deployments and future site updates. In other words, there should be virtually nothing different when interacting with a new deployment or providing an update to an existing site.
  • Containers are the only unit of software delivery: Containers are the unit of software delivery for Airship. Everything is a container. This allows us to progress environments from development, to testing, and finally to production with confidence.
  • Flexible for different architectures and software: Airship is delivering environments both very small and large with a wide range of configurations. We use Airship to manage our entire cloud platform, not just OpenStack.

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While Airshop will make complex infrastructure cloud building easier for everyone, job one is to build a robust delivery mechanism for organizations that need to embrace containers as the new unit of infrastructure delivery at scale. Specifically, that means telecoms, such as one of Airship’s primary builder: AT&T.

Airship will make it easier to deliver 5G infrastructure programs, such as: Software Defined Networks (SDN), Virtual Network Functions (VNFs), Virtualized Evolved Packet Core (vEPC), Virtualized Radio Access Network (VRAN) backhaul, traffic shaping services, customer usage tracking, smart voicemail, video streaming, and consumer-facing services.

Starting from bare metal, Airship will let companies manage your software-defined infrastructure life-cycle with a production-grade Kubernetes cluster working in concert with OpenStack Helm-deployed artifacts. It does this by enabling sysadmins to manage their infrastructure deployments and life-cycle through declarative YAML documents. Thus, Airship can handle both your initial deployments and their updates.

This isn’t just a batch of half-baked code. Ryan van Wyk, AT&T’s assistant vice president of Network Cloud Software Engineering, said: “AT&T has been using Airship in our production network since last December.” AT&T is powering its 5G rollouts on an Airship-based, containerized OpenStack cloud.

AT&T isn’t the only one deploying Airship. Matthew Johns, SUSE‘s product and solutions marketing manager, said: “We are already using Airship for life cycle management as a key part of our plans for future releases of SUSE OpenStack Cloud. As active contributors to OpenStack, we are also active in the Airship community and part of that means making open source easier. Airship helps us do that.” 

Finally, Ericsson is demoing a virtualized Radio Access Network (VRAN) on an Airship-based containerized OpenStack cloud

Want to see it for yourself? You can download Airship 1.0 or run a trial version of Airship for a single node on Ubuntu Linux.

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