At its KubeCon + CloudNativeCon conference this week, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) announced a new program that aims to help communications service providers and telcos adopt Kubernetes and other cloud-native tools. In the future, the CNCF will offer a new certification, the Cloud Native Network Function (CNF) Certification Program for Network Equipment Vendors (NEP), which certifies that these providers follow cloud-native best practices.
At first glance, this may seem like a lot of acronyms and yet another certification, but it’s an interesting move for CNCF, which hasn’t always focused on telecom users to the extent it might have, and a recognition that many of these enterprises are now beginning to move away from their existing infrastructure as cloud-native solutions reach the kind of maturity needed to run their networks. It also puts CNCF back in competition with another open source foundation, the OpenStack Foundation, a project that has found much of its recent success with telcos.
“Migration to cloud-native infrastructures has long been difficult for telecom providers who have moved to VNFs and found themselves with siled 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 the world’s largest telecommunications organizations, including Huawei, nokia, T-Mobileand 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 source) test suite will support any product that runs in a CNCF-certified Kubernetes environment and will run approximately 70 workload tests. Vendors will be able to self-verify their applications using this test suite and then submit the results to be considered for certification.
“Building, deploying and operating Telco workloads in distributed cloud environments is complex,” said Tom Kivlin, Principal Cloud Architect at Vodafone. “It’s important to adopt cloud-native best practices as we scale to achieve our goals of agility, automation, and optimization. CNF certification is a great tool with which we can measure and pilot cloud native practices across our platforms and network functions. We look forward to working with our partners and the CNCF community to grow and drive adoption of the CNF Certification program.