At its KubeCon + CloudNativeCon conference this week, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) announced a new program that aims to help communication service providers and telcos adopt Kubernetes and other cloud native tools. Going forward, the CNCF will provide a new certification, the Cloud Native Network Function (CNF) Certification Program for Network Equipment Providers (NEPs), that certifies that these vendors follow cloud native best practices.
At first glance, that may sound like a lot of acronyms and yet another certification, but it’s an interesting move for the CNCF, which hasn’t always focused on telco users to the extend that it could have, and an acknowledgment that many of these enterprises are now starting to move away from their existing infrastructure as cloud native solutions reach the kind of maturity that’s necessary to run their networks. It also puts the CNCF back into competition with another open source foundation, the OpenStack Foundation, a project that found a lot of its recent success among telcos.
“Moving to cloud native infrastructures has long been difficult for telecom providers who have transitioned to VNFs and found themselves with siloed resources and specialized solutions not built for the cloud,” said Priyanka Sharma, executive director of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. “The CNF Certification program is designed to fill this gap by creating solutions optimized for cloud native environments. Some of the world’s largest telecom organizations, including Huawei, Nokia, T-Mobile and Vodafone, already use Kubernetes and other cloud native technologies, and this program will make it easier for others to do the same.”
The new (and open sourced) test suite will support any product that runs in a CNCF-certified Kubernetes environment and run about 70 workload tests. Vendors will be able to self-verity their applications using this test suite and then submit the results to be considered for certification.
“Building, deploying and operating Telco workloads across distributed cloud environments is complex,” said Tom Kivlin, principal cloud architect at Vodafone. “It is important to adopt cloud native best practices as we evolve to achieve our goals for agility, automation and optimization. The CNF Certification is a great tool with which we can measure and drive cloud native practices across our platforms and network functions. We look forward to working with our partners and the CNCF community to further develop and drive adoption of the CNF Certification Program.”