Mirantis to Help AT&T Build 5G Network on Open Source

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The two companies are hoping that other telcos will follow AT&T’s lead in building their 5G networks on open source software.

 Open source cloud company Mirantis has entered into an agreement with US-based telecoms company AT&T to help the later build its edge computing network for 5G.

The companies didn’t disclose the exact amount involved in the deal, but hinted it to be around $10 million, Data Center Knowledge reported.

Mirantis, an early on-premises OpenStack solutions provider, had last week announced that it is joining the OpenStack Foundation’s Airship project.

Airship is said to be central to Mirantis’ new contract with AT&T. The project was created by AT&T along with the South Korean telecom SKT and Intel and was folded into the OpenStack Foundation last May.

It builds on OpenStack-Helm, a software for managing OpenStack services, and allows cloud operators to manage sites through a fully containerized, cloud-native platform, the report said.

According to Boris Renski, Mirantis co-founder and chief marketing officer, Airship uses Kubernetes as the main underlying component to manage the life cycle of all the open source packages in the network cloud.

The deal is all about making AT&T’s network ready to handle 5G, the next generation of wireless connectivity that will increase carriers’ network capacity and promises to dramatically improve data speeds for users.

Terms of the agreement

Mirantis will focused on integration between Drydock, an Airship provisioning tool, and OpenStack’s Ironic, which provisions bare metal machines. Mirantis is also streamlining the initial configuration experience of deploying Kubernetes-native services on-premises and adding support for multiple operating systems to broaden the choice of virtual network functions and minimize lock-in.

Renski said that AT&T decided to use open source solutions to build its network partly due to the cost-effectiveness factor, and to escape from expensive proprietary solutions.

Building a software defined system by leveraging open source software that runs on commodity hardware is not only cheaper but will create a network that will be more agile and able to adapt to meet changing needs down the road, the report noted.

“For the 5G refresh cycle, AT&T’s leading the charge of doing it using open standards and open technologies such as Kubernetes and Airship,” Renski was quoted as saying.

Mirantis and AT&T are hoping that other telcos will also join the Airship project and start contributing around their specific use cases, eventually making it into a standard fabric for rolling out 5G networks.

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