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Kaloom 2021 Predictions: The Transitioning of Virtual Machine to Container Based Technologies

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual series exclusive.

The Transitioning of Virtual Machine to Container Based Technologies

By Suresh Krishnan, Chief Technology Officer at Kaloom

As we head into a new year, we at Kaloom see the implementation of cloud-native and open-source container orchestration to continue at an accelerating pace within the telecoms and specifically in Edge implementation. In fact, we believe that Communication Service Providers (CSPs) and enterprises will accelerate deploying 5G networking components as containers using advanced orchestration platforms such as OpenShift Container Platform (based on Kubernetes). The use of containerized technologies has been one of the cornerstones upon which the company placed its bets since its founding. Kaloom made fairly radical technology choices from the start and which are part of its innovative container-based Software Defined Fabric and Cloud Edge Fabric products today and into the future. 

Overcoming the Obstacles on the Path to 5G  

The demands arising in the realm of 5G and associated emerging applications such as Virtual/Augmented Reality, Industrial robotics/controls (also known as the Industrial Internet of Things), Interactive Gaming and Remote Medicine to name a few, will be a driving force for CSPs in 2021 and beyond. CSPs will be expected to seek out new technologies to meet the stringent requirements that 5G will impose on their network buildouts.

The emerging applications mentioned above require performance, latency, cost efficiency, service availability, and scale that simply cannot be delivered via the use of Virtual Machines running in a typical public cloud infrastructure. Many of these new applications require end-to-end latency below 10 milliseconds. Unfortunately, typical public cloud deployments are unable to fulfill such requirements. For example, the round-trip latency measured from New York towards cloud providers Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure in Northern-Virginia is greater than 20 milliseconds.

Containers: Better Suited for Low Latency Apps

When considering how the previously mentioned emerging applications are best packaged in the era of 5G, as virtual machines or containers? The answer for Kaloom has always been clear; pointing to containers as the obvious choice, with several key reasons as mentioned below and as illustrated in the figure further below.

For example, in the event of failure for a given Virtual Machine or Machines, it takes several minutes to restart a VM after a crash. Such system behavior is not acceptable for reliability and latency sensitive applications.

In addition, since containers do not package system resources as much as VMs, you can run at many more applications on the same server hardware more efficiently with containers. This is a fact Kaloom's founding team long ago realized when we were running 4G Evolved Packet Gateway (EPG) using virtual machines (VMs) on Red Hat's software platforms and were investigating the difference in the performance and other characteristics of containers versus VMs. It was realized that by using containers, the same physical servers could sustain several times more applications as compared to those running VM-based overlay networks. This meant that the cost per user and cost per Gbps could be lowered dramatically. Knowing the economics of 5G would require this vastly reduced cost point, containers were the clear choice.

This advantage maximizes resource usage and brings down operating costs. As well, with Agile development and testing, faster time-to-market is achieved with containers, more so than if VMs were to be used. Therefore, with these considerations, one can easily see how the overall cost effectiveness of deploying Containers versus legacy VM based applications becomes truly compelling. At the end of the day, we believe that it is all about Total Cost of Ownership!


Figure: Benefits of Container vs Virtual Machine

Kaloom has embraced the direction of a cloud native architecture based on Kubernetes/OpenShift whereby container functions are natively supported today. Kaloom is also fully aware that customers face VM to CNF transformation challenges, and there will be a lengthy transition period for this move. To assist in this regard, the native slicing (a.k.a. vFabrics) support in the Kaloom products fully enables VMs currently managed by OpenStack to be integrated with the Software Defined Fabric and Cloud Edge Fabric products using the Neutron ML2 plug-in today and managed by technologies like Kubevirt in the future.


Containers or cloud-native, will continue to win over traditional Virtual Machines (VM) because they are more agile software packages that can perform small, well-defined tasks. Cloud-native is simply more cost effective. On the same physical server, service providers can run a much larger number of instances of the same application, a much larger number of connected devices and users than with a VM, all while using the same physical structure. While we believe that VMs will not disappear anytime soon, container-based architectures are better suited to manage the new wave of emerging 5G applications and data. Red Hat OpenShift and VMWare ecosystems will continue to drive important developments in the coming year.


About the Author

Suresh Krishnan 

Suresh Krishnan is the Chief Technology Officer at Kaloom, where his main areas of work are in data center networking, software defined networks, 5G and M2M. His leadership and experience contribute heavily to the unique IP capabilities that Kaloom supports while ensuring full compatibility across data center IP infrastructure. Suresh is a leading expert in the IETF, the main standards organization for the Internet, having led and contributed to over 45 IETF RFCs. Prior to Kaloom, Suresh was a distinguished engineer at Ericsson and a software engineer at Cisco where his work focused on Routing and Switching, IPv4/IPv6, Mobile IP, GTP, Datacenter infrastructure, Linux, C/C++ and Evolved Packet Core Networks. He has a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Madras in India and a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering from Concordia University in Canada.

Published Wednesday, January 06, 2021 7:45 AM by David Marshall
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