Kubernetes at the Edge with Platform9

5G promises to change the industry every bit as much—if not more—than 4G did. But with that change comes a host of new challenges.

Perhaps the biggest change of all is IT infrastructure. It’s now distributed everywhere, instead of being confined to a static data center. The fundamental technology making that happen is containers. Without containers, there’s no 5G.

That revolution has also led to the rise of Kubernetes, which orchestrates this vast collection of containers. If all this sounds mind-bogglingly complex, you’ve got the right idea. That’s why many companies are looking for a managed service—a partner that tackles that complexity, leaving your IT team free to do what it does best.

In this episode, Platform9 speaks with ActualTech Media about the staggering potential of 5G, along with similarly daunting challenges.


Key Highlights:

  • 02:37 — Introduction to Platform9, and what it offers
  • 07:57 — The new capabilities 5G can deliver
  • 09:48 — Top 5G use cases, including telco
  • 17:50 — Typical components of a modern 5G infrastructure
  • 21:35 — How Kubernetes enables this new type of distributed architecture
  • 27:35 — Challenges that come with implementing containers and Kubernetes
  • 31:35 — The advantages inherent in Platform9’s managed Kubernetes solution, for both developers and operations
  • 34:56 — Specific benefits for Platform9’s solutions when it comes to 5G infrastructure


Resource Links:

  1. Free trial of Platform9
  2. Get more information


Guest: Roopak Parikh

Roopak Parikh, co-founder/CTO. Before co-founding Platform9, Roopak was a technical lead at VMware, where he helped architect and ship major vSphere products: Update Manager and vCloud Director. Before VMware, Roopak was an early engineer at an early stage Mobile computing startup.


About Platform9

Platform9 delivers the leading open source cloud frameworks—Kubernetes, Fission Serverless, and OpenStack—as a SaaS-managed service. Simply plug in your different environments to the Platform9 technology, and automatically bring your diverse infrastructure under centralized management.


About ActualTech Media

James Green, host of Inside the Guide, is Partner and VP for Content at ActualTech Media where he is responsible for developing unique content offerings that help enterprise IT vendors accomplish their most critical content marketing objectives.

The folks at ActualTech Media are the technology experts behind Gorilla Guides – short, consumable books that help you navigate the increasingly complex technology landscape. All episodes of Inside the Guide are audio companions to a book from our popular Gorilla Guide book series. 

Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts so that you never miss an episode. Don’t forget to check out our website www.gorilla.guide for the full library of free books!


James [00:00:04]

It's a jungle out there in the world of enterprise technology. That's why we launched Gorilla Guides, short books that help you navigate the technology landscape. Now we're diving even deeper in our new podcast series, Inside the Guide, where you'll get to hear directly from leaders creating the future of tech. I'm James Green, partner at ActualTech Media, and I'll be your host. This is the first in a three-part series looking at the impact of Kubernetes on the way we do business. In this episode, we're diving into Kubernetes at the Edge, specifically in 5G and telco infrastructures with the co-founder and CTO of Platform9 Systems, Roopak Parikh. Welcome to the show. Now let's go Inside the Guide.

James [00:00:54]

Well, folks, welcome to the inaugural episode of the inaugural series of the Inside the Guide podcast. I'm really excited to start this with a conversation or a series of conversations, rather, about how Kubernetes specifically is impacting businesses. And I'm going to bring on a series of guests from our partner Platform9, who specializes in this area to talk about the way that the technology and the operational impact of Kubernetes is changing business. And so, in the first part of the conversation in this episode, my guest is going to be Roopak, who I'm going to have introduce himself in just a minute.

James [00:01:35]

I'm James Green, partner and VP for content at ActualTech Media. I'm going to be your host on Inside the Guide, where we're going to take the concepts from recently published Gorilla Guides and dive deeper into those topics and kind of expand the ideas even further with experts in that area. So, before we get started on today's topic, Roopak, would you introduce yourself to the audience, please?

Roopak [00:01:59]

Sure. James, thanks for having me. My name is Roopak Parikh, one of the founders, as well as CTO at Platform9. At Platform9, we do Kubernetes as a service. We have specific solutions for telco, specifically 5G, and are looking forward to the conversation.

James [00:02:18]

Awesome. So just by way of framing where you're coming from and where Platform9 comes from, I'd like to learn and let the audience learn a little bit about yourself and about Platform9 before we get started. So maybe just real briefly, what is your background and what else have you done in your career?

Roopak [00:02:37]

Me and my co-founders, Sirish, Madhura, Bich Le, all four of us, were at VMware prior to Platform9, working on various infrastructure projects, starting from hypervisor to management layer, the cloud, vCloud Director and a bunch of other products. So that's really the background that we started with. And we wanted to solve the problem of really delivering the cloud, the private cloud, to our customers who we saw struggling to deploy and manage these really complicated systems by themselves. So Platform9 started with a goal to really simplify that. And when we started, we started with virtualization in 2013 as the first problem to solve. And over the years, we have obviously added containers, specifically with the rise of Kubernetes. We are one of the major vendors in this area now. And as the industry has shifted from virtual machines to more cloud native, specifically with containers, we are working with that trend.

James [00:03:48]

Just as an aside, something that is so fun for me right now, like in the last couple of years here, is, I made some major leaps in my career practicing in the VMware ecosystem and was working very closely with VMware. And there were a lot of companies around the same time, some very important contributors at VMware said, hey, we see another sort of tertiary problem or something, maybe not even tertiary, but big need coming a ways down the road. We're going to jump out and solve this. And so, there's all these startups that came from people who were at companies like VMware or Dell EMC or wherever else. And now they're at maturity like Platform9 is creating their own sorts of ecosystems. And those are the people that I'm speaking with today. And it's super fun for me.

James [00:04:39]

Well, as you mentioned, Platform9 has some customers working in the 5G space and the technology that Platform9 provides has some unique things to offer there, and we're going to talk about that later. I think for a lot of the audience of this show, the idea of 5G is still solidifying from a delivery standpoint. I think most of the audience will know what it is, why it matters, maybe some of the benefits that it's supposed to offer. When it comes down to actually delivering infrastructure for 5G or creating applications that take advantage of the promise of 5G, for some folks, that may still be solidifying. For some folks, they may be right in the thick of it, trying to do it, and they're running up against the hard problems. And so that's some of the stuff I want to talk about today, because you're speaking with customers who are right there and you're helping them get through it. So, let's start by talking about just 5G broadly. Would you explain for folks the shift that 5G is creating in the way that they do business or deliver services?

Roopak [00:05:49]

Yeah, if you look at the communication systems, maybe 15 years ago we started with 3G and iPhone obviously, it has created a new industry with the bandwidth and obviously smartphones with Ubers and Airbnbs of the world. 5G is the next level of transition. So, if you think about how 3G and 4G made it possible for everyone to have a computer in their hand. With 5G, we are talking about every device on the planet connected to the network and that's really the big promise of it. And to make it happen, you need high bandwidth, low latency and more reliability and coverage at every place. So that's really what's going to change how we work, how we connect and what we see in our ecosystem. So, starting from cameras, your doorbell, to sensors in your gas pipeline, to sensors on windmills and everywhere around us. That connectivity that 5G will bring will change the experience that we have as consumers, but also how industries operate.

James [00:07:14]

Yeah, so it's so applicable so broadly, it's hard to wrap your head around just how much this touches. And it’s consumer IoT, to industrial IoT, to everywhere; everything is going to need to be connected somehow. Obviously, this poses some really interesting challenges for the telco providers who need to transfer this traffic around the world and connect the endpoints with the services and that kind of thing. I want to dig into that in a minute. But can you describe, especially for those telco providers, what are the new things that they're going to deliver or the new capabilities for their customers because of 5G?

Roopak [00:07:59]

Well, we are already starting to see that. I recently got a paper in the email that says, hey, do you want to go over T-Mobile Broadband or Verizon Broadband? And guess what? They are all powered by 5G. So that's just the start of it, but then for industry, specifically for enterprises, they are going to offer that bandwidth to those customers. Remember, in the old days, you used to have offices connect to your data centers via these lines. Now, you can do that via this 5G wireless link. So you can have folks working in remote places and still connected via high bandwidth, low latency to their work. And that's phenomenal. So that's one part of it from the workforce. But also going back to the IoT devices, you can imagine how you can have devices connected in your retail stores or, if you're an enterprise, operating a factory, your whole factory layout can have sensors at various places which are connected to this network, which is uber present, which is much better than Wi-Fi and much easier to install than all the cables running around. So that's the power of 5G that you will start seeing. And with that, these telco operators have this new opportunity to sell into these markets, not only consumers, but also enterprise, giving them private 5G for their own consumption, as well as network connectivity for all these sensors and devices. And on the media side, we are talking about more immersive experience with an AR/VR kind of use cases.

James [00:09:49]

So, let's just contrast what you're talking about with 4G over the last, say, decade, what we've seen is, I could take a 4G hotspot and turn up an edge location most anywhere in the US, let's just take the US for example, and have decent connectivity. As a matter of fact, in 2018 I did the digital nomad thing and basically worked on the road for six months with a 4G hotspot and I had video calls, I recorded podcasts, it was a rolling office. And you know, what we've done with that is allow you to connect up devices with, you know, if I've got great coverage, maybe it's 20, 30 Mbps bandwidth, a couple of hundred milliseconds latency. When you're talking about 5G and you say, high bandwidth, low latency connections, what does that mean in the context of 5G?

Roopak [00:10:48]

It can be an order of magnitude better. So, about a gig. And latency is down by 10 times, and that is huge.

James [00:11:00]

Yeah, huge. So, you know, if we're talking about a branch office, say, or you mentioned retail stores or something like that, you imagine that rather than having to find a carrier who can get you connected up with the specs that you want because they've got lines into that particular real estate development. I mean, it's a big chore. Essentially, you can turn up this 5G connection and have a high-performance extension of your local network just about because the bandwidth is so high, the latency is so low, it's just another arm of your corporate network. And so, the enterprise market is close to my heart. I've done a lot of work there. This is a big transformation, big change in what is possible for them.

Roopak [00:11:45]

And telcos can do more interesting things with that. It's not just the public network which is getting better, but they can offer reservations and say, you know what, I can give you, as an enterprise, this bandwidth which would be reserved for only your branch office in my network and that is huge.

James [00:12:06]

I suppose there's probably some possibilities for telco in terms of the way that they build their network as well, that open up, just because of the nature of 5G, where geography or some constraint of the prior generation of networks did not allow them to serve this area or to serve it well. 5G sort of overcomes that in some cases, I would think.

Roopak [00:12:30]

One of the big things that 5G is bringing to the table is really the concept of slicing, or what they call network slicing. Which actually assumes that the network is going to be multi-tenant. And we have known multitenancy in the cloud, but essentially think about taking the same concept and applying it to a network. And now this particular network is available to serve many different folks who are actually separated logically, even though the physical medium is the same. And so that's one of the big things that 5G is going to bring to the table.

James [00:13:05]

So one of the things that I've come to learn, and this sort of has a jaded sound to it, but when we have one massive technological breakthrough, especially when it comes to infrastructure, we talk about it like it's this silver bullet and everything's going to be easy from here on out, and the reality of it is it just moves the bottleneck somewhere else. When storage becomes screaming fast, so fast that you can run whatever on it, it doesn't matter, well now the network is your bottleneck. There are a million examples like that. So when 5G comes along, and offers incredible bandwidth and low latency, connectivity that we could barely dream of a few years ago, my suspicion is that just moves the bottleneck somewhere else and now we have a new problem. Is that true? And if so, what's the new problem or problems?

Roopak [00:13:59]

Well, the physical distances are not changing as much. So, my house is where it is. When there was 4G, it's still there and we have 5G. What's changing is things are coming closer to me, which means some of the computation that was done about 100 milliseconds further away from me, that's actually coming closer to me, about 20 milliseconds away from me. So what's going to happen is, and this is where a lot of investment from operators is going to take place, where they are going to push a lot of compute towards the edge. And when they do it, then you have this opportunity to do connections between you and me if you are not that far away, just short circuit it with the closest route that we have in between us, rather than going all the way to the cloud and coming back. So those are the kinds of tradeoffs that we will have to do. And it would also mean that people and companies who want to give their users that experience and really use this compute, which is closer to the edge, they have to program to it. They have to write software to move to it. There is a whole concept about multi-axis edge computing, MEC as it's called, which moves the compute closer to you as a user. There will be new systems which we'll have to build, there will be new management paradigms that we have to come up with, to make sure these applications can take advantage of that.

James [00:15:32]

Help me paint a clearer visual picture of what that new architecture looks like. When you say that the compute is going to be closer to me, what you're contrasting that to is, you know, it's running in one of any number of data centers or Azure data centers and that's a ways away. When you say it's going to be closer to me, do you mean in my city, on my block, in my garage?

Roopak [00:15:56]

It may be in a high rise building, maybe five kilometers away or three miles away from you, so that's what it would mean. And it won't be all of it, it would be some of it. So, for example, if there are two users who are using an AR/VR system to look at a particular architecture of a building, that compute can be closer, a few miles away from you rather than in a data center which is maybe 100 miles away from you. So that's what we are talking about. And that's what gives that immersive experience.

James [00:16:30]

Yeah, so when we've eliminated the challenge of bandwidth specifically, there's still a significant difference between, say, 50 milliseconds of latency and one and for the user experience, that really matters. So when we can move data even geographically, it makes a big difference. We can move it from a couple hundred miles away to ten miles away. The laws of physics haven't changed, that still matters and makes an impact on usability, right? The other thing is a lot of the applications that you're talking about, AR/VR being a very good one, there is a data gravity issue where a rich AR/VR rendering is a significant amount of data and if that data lives in a data center in Oregon, my user experience is going to be quite different than if it lives in the office building across the street, right?

Roopak [00:17:29]

Yeah. Specifically, if you are talking about rendering, which is very compute intensive, and the latency can play a huge role in your experience.

James [00:17:39] Yeah, so before we move on, maybe just to put a bow on the 5G piece altogether, what does a typical 5G infrastructure look like at significant scale today?

Roopak [00:17:53]

So 5G is a combination of various technologies. So, starting from your phones and the devices which needs to be 5G enabled, going on to the actual radio, so you will probably see a lot more radio towers coming up around your place. And then you have the actual radio access network, which is part of the 5G, which is maybe a few miles away from where you are. So that's really the first step of the network. From that, you may have a regional data center, maybe in the city where you're living, so you have a small data center where the packets are processed and then get to the Internet. And then at the end of it are the actual systems for your billing and quality monitoring and so on and so forth. So it's a series of different systems that makes up 5G and each one of them is a set of components that run in off-the-shelf compute or COTS. And that's one of the big changes that's happening in 5G, where instead of the proprietary systems that they used to have there, now they are running into your x86 servers that you can buy from wherever or whatever vendor you want and then plug it in, put the software in, put the right hardware cards in and then you're ready to go.

James [00:19:26]

Yes, so this might not be a perfect analogy, but what I thought of as you were describing that is, it's a little bit like the way that we have shifted from designing these monolithic applications to a micro services architecture where everything is kind of small and decoupled. A similar sort of thing is happening to the network, instead of this one monolithic endpoint, there's all these little ones sprinkled all around.

Roopak [00:19:53]

Yeah. You spoke about how you were working with the VMware ecosystem, and it's interesting how the industry evolved. So 20 years back, everything was these proprietary ASIC based systems which were manufactured by each one of the vendors. And then when virtualization came along with VMware obviously, and other open-source solutions, enterprise moved to virtualization, and then 5G moved to everything virtual. You might have heard about VNFs and that's what happened. And now in the last few years, everything is moving into what we call cloud native or working with containers. And then all the 5G components that we are talking about, all the software components, they are following the same paradigm. And now instead of those three or four services, now you have thirty-odd services in one place that you need to run to make the 5G work. It has other advantages. You can scale one up and down as you want. You can bring one down without affecting others. So there are many, many advantages to it, but the system is a lot more complicated, a lot more compute intensive as well.

James [00:21:03]

Yeah, and so to build an infrastructure in this new way, we have to approach it from kind of a different angle. So I mentioned that the big theme that we're going to carry across this series is how Kubernetes is impacting business in the way that we deliver technology. The punch line is that is a mechanism for helping deliver the vision that we're talking about right now. And we've got a lot deeper to go into that, but can you talk a little bit about how folks are using Kubernetes to deliver the type of infrastructure that you just described?

Roopak [00:21:38]

So if you look at the 3GPP standard, each one of those components, if you call it 5G Core or 5G RAN, they're a bundle of services, that's how it is described. At the end of the day, you can deploy services however you want, but with the promise of containers, specifically where containers can hide the infrastructure, so you can run on bare metal servers or you can run it in public clouds as well for some workloads, or you can run on virtual machines. That's the promise of containers. And we have seen that promise really take off in the enterprises where people are taking their applications running on VMware, virtual machines, or open stack virtual machines, and on-premises and then moving to cloud. So that's what it gives you. And Kubernetes is essentially the forefront of that. With micro services, it's not as if you have to maintain one machine where everything is a monolith that you can shut down and you're done. Today's applications, and 5G applications as an example of that, where you have many components that build applications. Each 5G Core or RAN has many, many services, so all of them work together, and you need a system that can orchestrate it. And that's where Kubernetes comes into the picture. And in the last few years, we have seen that Kubernetes has evolved to be the de facto container orchestration system. And working with other customers, we are seeing that just about everyone is using Kubernetes as a deployment system to which they are building towards. If I dare to say, that is the new distributed operating system that we are seeing in practice. Now, not a lot of things are in production, specifically on 5G, with Kubernetes, but that's where the industry is going.

James [00:23:39]

Let's talk about some of the things that folks are using Kubernetes to get done. So, as we build this very distributed kind of architecture, things like lifecycle management get really tricky. I spent a lot of time in organizations where it was one data center with this monolithic application, and what would happen is, once a quarter say, everybody would come in on the weekend and they'd update this big, huge application and of course, it would go horribly sideways. Then they'd stay there all night eating pizza and trying to fix it, and hopefully by Monday morning everything was working again. Well, now, in the architecture that you've just described, there's hundreds or thousands of locations, each one of those is running their own version of that piece of software. To upgrade that is a totally different thing than what I just described used to happen. And so, Kubernetes is an enabler for doing things like that. Consistency across all of those edge locations is another thing that Kubernetes can help with. Can you just talk a little bit about the functions that Kubernetes helps them with for managing this deployment at scale?

Roopak [00:24:47]

Absolutely, and you touched upon that particular point where you are just shutting down a virtual machine and you have downtime. With Kubernetes, you can actually take that out. If you have a particular service, and when I say service, it means one of the components in the 5G stack is up and running, and you want to upgrade it, you can have multiple instances of it running across different machines so you can take out physical machines, still keep your applications running, as well as upgrade them using the same semantics. So that downtime that we were talking about, may no longer be necessary, but it does mean that the application level needs to work more. But from the infrastructure level, Kubernetes is making sure that you can really update these individual components one at a time. And that's where the power comes in of Kubernetes. So that's one. If you're running applications across machines, let's say a cluster of 200-300 servers, you don't need to know where they are, you can discover them. Where my GCP is or where my AWS Services and then really connect to them. A lot of the standards that are built in 5G, they have taken those approaches that have been very successful in the Web scale companies, like use of HTTP, they're implementing it in 5G now. And that's where Kubernetes really shines.

James [00:26:20]

So you mentioned a few minutes ago that once upon a time, it was ASIC based, sort of very specialized things, running in the data center. And when virtualization came along, it sort of changed all that, and let us provide those same functions on off-the-shelf x86 hardware. Kubernetes and containers are doing much the same thing and we're able to, as you said, virtualize network functions in this case. That's all great. When VMware did the sort of abstraction the first time around, what that created was a need for an army of VMware experts to tell you how to properly virtualize exchange without breaking it. Kubernetes is kind of doing the same thing. It's solving huge problems, enabling incredible outcomes, however, caveat, asterisk, there are some big challenges, especially for teams that have not done this before. I mean, there's a lot of organizations out there that are sort of looking at this going, I see the promise, but this is a completely different paradigm and I have no idea how to do this. Can you talk about what some of those challenges are and maybe even you've seen some of this in clients that you've worked with, who had a sort of rude awakening, where they thought they were going to do this, and they tried it, and then they found out all these hard things they didn't even know they didn't know.

Roopak [00:27:40]

So there are kind of two challenges that I have seen. One is the initial learning curve, like you said. This is a different thing. Virtual machines was an interesting bit of technology because it was simulating the actual machines. They were just smaller, more nimble, you could create, you could stop them. Containers are a different beast altogether because there are many, many small processors that are running and they're just talking to each other. And Kubernetes have added abstractions to make it easier for you to manage them, but it's a paradigm shift in the way you develop applications. So application developers, they have to think differently on how to deploy these applications, how to architect for it, so that's one huge hurdle. But once you overcome that, and I think we can safely say now that it is an industry trend, everyone has bought into it. Everyone is doing it. There are recipes available. Yes, it's hard, but once you get it done, there are lots of benefits. So that's part one. Once you are done with it, now you need to operate Kubernetes, just like the way you operate at VMware. And this can be more complicated because the number of machines that we are talking about, and this is just laws of not physics, but our compute requirements are growing, so the number of clusters are bigger, the number of services are more. Everything can scale out. You need to account for high availability, so on and so forth. So managing Kubernetes is also a challenge, specifically if you are doing it on your own hardware, or in the virtual machine. And at the rate at which Kubernetes is changing, you may want to get the fixes for some CVE that came out last week. Or you want to upgrade from one version to another because you are looking for a newer feature that's available in the next version of Kubernetes. All of that requires constant maintenance, which means you need to, even if you're not an expert, you need to hire experts to make sure that you're able to operate Kubernetes at scale. And it becomes even more challenging when you're talking about these distributed edge environments. When you don't have one or two or three clusters running, you have hundreds of clusters running with thousands of nodes under management. And really the challenge is to optimize those operations without killing yourself and going to these locations and fixing them manually.

James [00:30:19]

So I'm excited to kind of shift the conversation a little bit and talk about how we can overcome some of those challenges, Platform9 has focused, at least for as long as I've been aware of the company, which is like seven, eight years, on taking those kinds of technologies that require a ton of expertise to successfully deploy, doing all the hard stuff, and just handing it to you ready to go, so that you can just reap the rewards. And today, Kubernetes is something that a lot of businesses see the value in, but it's too hard for them to do or too time consuming. Maybe they could go out there and hire the experts and build it themselves, but it's going to take them nine, twelve, eighteen months to get up and running. Or you could turn your Platform9 Managed Kubernetes instance on and start now, which is a huge competitive advantage. So as we transition to talking about Platform9, I'd like to hear how you have thought about taking away those challenges for Platform9 customers? When you think about the hard things about Kubernetes, as you just described, how is the Platform9 team abstracting those away for Platform9 clients, so that they can just use the good parts?

Roopak [00:31:40]

When I spoke about the challenges, I spoke about two major users, developers and then DevOps. For developers, there are certain things that you need when you want to deploy any micro services application, you want to make sure you are able to monitor, you're able to log, and then a bunch of other add-ons that will make your life easier. So things like, hey, I want to expose one of my applications as a service to the outer-world. How do you do that? So those are the things that Platform9 helps with for developers. So when you bring on Platform9 Kubernetes, you are able to say, you know what, I can run Prometheus or I can connect my logging system to Platform9, or I can use load balancer as a service that Platform9 already provides. So those are some of the examples by which we help developers quickly get to running their applications or DevOps to deploy their applications and not worry about collecting five different components from different places and working with them.

James [00:32:45]

So before you move on to the next piece, the analogy there is kind of like, let's take your logging example, at the point where you've identified, hey, we need to be doing logging for all of this, you could go out then and research and select an option and then put a team on figuring out how to deploy this new logging technology and do the rollout. The way it works when you're using Platform9, I'm hesitant to say this because I think the analogy is overdone, but it's kind of like an app store, where you go in there and you say, I'd like this kind of logging please, and then you just have it.

Roopak [00:33:19]

Yep, and not only that, but at times our systems in-house in enterprises, you might have Splunk or you might be using Datadog and all you need to do is connect with Platform9 and say this is the system that I want to use and it's out there. Your analogy of the app store is actually pretty good. We do have a component called App Catalog, which is very similar to the app store. So that's one part. The second part is for operations folks, specifically on the bare metal side, or virtual machines on-premises, if you are deploying Kubernetes, managing it, upgrading it, making sure somebody is taking care of the CVEs, it's still a new technology. There are security issues that come out. You want to act quickly because your business depends upon it. As well as making sure it's up and running with high reliability, are the things that Platform9 can help with. You don't have to because Platform9 does that for you. So it's a full-featured service, operated as SaaS, where Platform9's systems and people are looking through each and every cluster that our customers are deploying, whether it's on-premises or the public clouds and we are watching over it. We are upgrading it with all the nice features and so on and so forth.

James [00:34:46]

Now, this conversation has revolved especially around 5G and providing the underpinnings for delivering 5G. Talk a little bit about how Platform9 Managed Kubernetes specifically helps operators who are deploying 5G.

Roopak [00:35:02]

We spoke about how with 5G there are many problems. So one of the problems is distribution. You will have clusters close to your house. You will have machines in some buildings, in data centers, and colos and public clouds, and there are thousands and thousands of them. You will need to manage it from one central location. That's one. 5G applications themselves need interesting features from Kubernetes that are not always available from Kubernetes. For example, you need multiple networks for each container that you're running, without that, no network software would work. And Platform9 has integrated with other systems like Multus, which gives you the ability to create multiple networks for your containers. Then, a lot of telco operators use IPv6. IoT, if you look at the projection of the number of devices, you will need to use IPv6, IPv4 wouldn't be able to keep up with the demand. So you need an IPv6 network. You need a system that works in an IPv6 network. For doing packet processing, you want to make sure, specifically on a multicore machine, the containers that you're running, that they don't move between different cores or different sockets. So you need to make sure that you are able to pin them down and get the most out of the CPU. You need to also make sure that the cards that you have, which have special functionality like SR-IOV, that you're able to use them with Kubernetes and that's not always easy. So Platform9 has spent a lot of time and created systems to make all of those easier. So once you deploy Platform9 Kubernetes with the specific extensions that we have done, you will be able to run your 5G workloads very, very easily, and sitting in a central place, you are able to manage them across different geographies.

James [00:37:15]

I know you've been working very closely with some of your customers in this space. Can you talk at all about interesting projects they've been working on or outcomes that using Platform9 Managed Kubernetes has delivered for them?

Roopak [00:37:29]

Recently, we came out with our partnership announcement with Mavenir. They are one of the major vendors in this space. They have systems built for 5G Core, RAN, IMS, and a bunch of other things. And we have also been working with other customers, as well as other partners, who are in a similar space. And when you look at their challenges, they're all the same. You have a large number of nodes or servers spread across a large geographic area, with all the features that I spoke about, where they want to run network specific functionality which require specific extensions to Kubernetes that Platform9 provides. And that's what they really value from Platform9, the ability to centrally manage it and the specific things that Platform9 has done to make sure 5G applications are able to run on that stack.

James [00:38:30]

Very cool. Roopak, this has been an enlightening conversation for me. I've had a lot of fun. Before we go, just given the number of folks you talk to you about this stuff and your experience in the industry, I'd love to hear about your thoughts on where we are going from here. What is exciting you about what's next or what interesting challenges do you see out there that might need to be solved? Let's just look forward a little bit before we go.

Roopak [00:38:58]

So we have some present challenges, the industry as a whole. 5G is still evolving. We are, what I call, at the very first phase of the deployment where some 5G applications are being deployed, but it's going to evolve in the next four or five years. So very first would be, yes, deploying with this new technology. And you have, in this industry, where we went from custom ASICs to virtualized servers, we are going through a similar transformation right now. So that's one. Then the second one that I anticipate we will hit in a few years is how do you move compute closer to these remote sites and how do you manage it? I think that would be a very interesting problem to solve for the industry as a whole. And there are proposals out there. There are some systems out there. But I think that's going to evolve heavily in, I would say the next four to five years.

James [00:39:55]

Fun times. Well, folks, if you've been listening to this conversation and enjoyed it and want to learn more about this space, ActualTech Media and Platform9 have partnered to produce a Gorilla Guide called the Gorilla Guide to Kubernetes Operations, which digs deeper into a number of the things that we've talked about today. And if you want to learn more in that guide, you can download that over at Platform9.com. You can also get a demo of the stuff that Roopak and I have talked about and see how Platform9 works. I've seen it myself and it's cool stuff and I recommend you check that out. So, Roopak, thanks so much for joining us on the show today. If people want to connect with you or learn more about you, how should they do that? LinkedIn or website or anything like that?

Roopak [00:40:44]

LinkedIn. Website. Twitter. Obviously Platform9.com. Check us out. We do have a free offering that you can play with.

James [00:40:54]

OK, very cool. Thanks for being on the show, Roopak.

Roopak [00:40:57]

Thanks for having me.

James [00:41:00]

For more information or to connect with our guest, Roopak, from Platform9, head to Platform9.com, where you can also learn more about Platform9's 5G solutions, register for a free trial and download more helpful resources. If you want to learn more about Kubernetes, download the Gorilla Guide to Kubernetes Operations at Platform9.com. The link will be in the show notes. If you like what you heard here today, be sure to hit subscribe to make sure you never miss an episode. You can also leave us a review on Apple Podcasts to help others find the show. Until next time, thanks for going Inside the Guide.