Verizon Business this week launched a managed service through which IT teams can deploy applications on Kubernetes clusters residing at the network edge as well as the public cloud.
Beth Cohen, cloud technology strategist for Verizon Business, says this extension to the existing Virtual Network Services (VNS), dubbed VNS Application Edge, makes it possible for IT teams to deploy applications without having to master all the nuances of networking environments.
Instead, developers access a portal based on a platform developed by Rafay Systems that allows them to choose where they want to deploy an application, including an edge computing platform that Verizon already makes available using an instance of OpenStack deployed on a Kernel-based virtual machine (KVM).
With the rise of edge computing, Cohen says IT teams are looking for a means to deploy applications that allow them to co-manage the environment alongside a managed services provider (MSP) that automates the management of all the associated IT infrastructure.
Cohen says applications are generally deployed at the edge when they are either latency-sensitive or there is a need to process data locally. Over time, Verizon Business expects most applications deployed on the edge will also depend on application services accessed via the cloud. The number of those applications will increase rapidly as additional higher bandwidth 5G networking services continue to become available, he notes.
The Verizon Business approach provides IT organizations with a more agnostic approach to working with multiple cloud service providers, adds Cohen.
Potential use cases for edge computing include applying computer vision models to data collected in real-time, deploying microservices in retail locations to automate inventory management and order handling, and predictive maintenance applications in manufacturing environments.
It’s not clear to what degree Kubernetes clusters will be consumed as a managed service versus deployed by an internal IT team. However, as the number of Kubernetes clusters being deployed over multiple geographic regions increases, the harder it becomes for internal IT teams to manage an extended enterprise on their own.
In addition, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations are less inclined to put their own people on a plane to physically set up their own clusters when they get programmatically invoke an existing service. As such, the number of MSPs that have launched Kubernetes services continues to escalate in response to increasing demand.
Longer-term, Cohen says there will eventually be a role for bare-metal platforms at the edge once networking and security platforms can be reliably deployed at scale at the network edge. For now, however, it makes more sense to extend an existing virtual machine-based platform to run container applications on a service that has already been shown to work at scale, he notes.
Regardless of who owns the IT infrastructure, more application workloads are heading toward the network. That are, of course, multiple classes of edge computing platforms upon which those workloads will be deployed. Verizon Business is simply making a case for one that is already set up.