IBM and AT&T announced today that IBM will manage a service based on the Red Hat OpenShift platform on behalf of AT&T customers looking to deploy applications at the network edge and in any cloud computing environment.
Based on an IBM Satellite platform announced earlier this year, the managed service makes exact clones of cloud computing environments available across a distributed computing environment that can be managed centrally.
Briana Frank, director of project management of IBM, says Red Hat OpenShift, which is based on Kubernetes, will make it possible for IT organizations to deploy container applications at scale without having to manage the underlying infrastructure.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a sharp increase in the number of organizations relying on external IT services to reduce the total cost of IT and limit the amount of travel by IT staff to configure and deploy edge computing platforms, Frank notes.
AT&T already has edge computing platforms in place, while IBM makes it possible to centrally provision the Red Hat OpenShift application development and deployment environment.
IBM Cloud Satellite deploys Red Hat OpenShift on an instance of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It enables teams to define a location populated by a group of RHEL hosts. In addition to a configuration tool, there is Satellite Mesh, a federated instance of Istio that can span multiple Kubernetes clusters, and Satellite Link, a tool for automating the administration of application-level firewalls.
An instance of Razee, an open source tool for managing Kubernetes clusters at scale, is also included. Razee provides templates to group resources and clusters in a way that allows rules to be applied across a distributed Kubernetes environment. That approach enables distributed Kubernetes clusters to automatically self-update.
In addition, data is encrypted as it travels across that distributed environment, which means no IBM or AT&T personnel have access to it.
Frank says as more organizations realize that software is the key to differentiation in the age of digital business transformation, more organizations are realizing they’d rather allocate a larger percentage of their resources to application development. The managed infrastructure services from IBM makes it possible for organizations to double down on software development projects that will differentiate them from their rivals, she says.
AT&T, meanwhile, is betting many of those applications will be deployed on edge computing platforms that will be accessed over the wired or wireless 4G and 5G networking services it provides. The two companies today expect the 5G market to be worth $667 billion by 2026 alone.
It’s not clear to what degree the inherent complexity of cloud-native applications versus the new normal created by COVID-19 pandemic is driving increased reliance on external cloud services. Regardless of motivation, however, the days when internal IT teams managed every aspect of an IT environment are slowly giving way to a more collaborative model. The challenge now is finding the most efficient way for internal IT teams to manage applications deployed on infrastructure managed by someone else.