SK Telecom, AT&T launch Airship to create OpenStack clouds

sk telecom AT&T openstack

SK Telecom, AT&T and OpenStack Foundation are collaborating to launch a new open infrastructure project called Airship.

SK Telecom says it has been working with AT&T to find a way to easily deploy and manage OpenStack, especially leveraging container technologies like Kubernetes and Helm. To that end, in 2017 the OpenStack-Helm project was launched.

Airship – which builds on the foundation laid by the OpenStack-Helm project – is a collection of open source tools that promises to make it easy to predictably build and manage cloud infrastructure.

Airship gives cloud operators the capability to manage sites at every stage, from creation through all the updates, including bare-metal installation, OpenStack creation, configuration changes and OpenStack upgrades. It does all this through a unified, declarative, fully containerized, and cloud-native platform, SK Telecom said in a blog post.

Airship is built using microservices and embraces cloud native principles out of the box. This lets each Airship microservice perform one specific role in the cloud delivery and management process.

The ultimate goal of Airship is to help operators take hardware from loading dock to an OpenStack cloud, while ensuring first-class life cycle management of that cloud once it enters production.

The initial focus of the project is the implementation of a ‘declarative’ platform to introduce OpenStack on Kubernetes (OOK) and the lifecycle management of the resulting cloud, with the scale, speed, resiliency, flexibility, and operational predictability demanded of various clouds.

The SKT post explains that ‘declarative’ is a term which here means every aspect of the cloud is defined in standardized documents that provides extremely flexible and fine grain control of cloud infrastructure. The declarative platform takes care of everything to realize what is defined in these standardized documents. This includes determining what has changed since the last submission and orchestrating those changes.

Airship project consists of eight sub-projects:

  • Armada: An orchestrator for deploying and upgrading a collection of Helm charts
  • Berth: A lightweight mechanism for managing VMs on top of Kubernetes via Helm
  • Deckhand: A configuration management service with features to support managing large cluster configurations
  • Diving Bell: A lightweight solution for bare metal configuration management
  • Drydock: A declarative host provisioning system built initially to leverage MaaS for baremetal host deployment
  • Pegleg: A tool to organize configuration of multiple Airship deployments
  • Promenade: A deployment system for resilient, self-hosted Kubernetes
  • Shipyard: A cluster lifecycle orchestrator for Airship.

Among these, SK Telecom says it is mainly participating in Armada.

SK Telecom says it is using three main open source tools. OpenStack Kolla and Loci provide a capability to build containers for each OpenStack services. OpenStack-Helm then fully leverages the Helm package management system for Kubernetes, and provides a set of helm chart to deploy and manage the lifecycle of OpenStack. Armada provides a declarative and uniformed way to orchestrate a collection of OpenStack-Helm charts, thus provide a single source of truth to deploy and manage OpenStack cloud.

SK Telecom added that it has internally introduced a platform called TACO (SK Telecom All Container OpenStack), which is the foundation of SK Telecom’s various cloud deployment efforts including private cloud service, VDI cloud service, big data and analytics cloud platform, and network virtualization. Airship (Armada), along with OpenStack-Helm, has been a core basis of the TACO platform.

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