Containers / Kubernetes

Verizon Fields Mesosphere’s DCOS to Deploy Nimbler Applications

30 Dec 2016 12:34am, by

Telecommunications giant Verizon is testing Mesosphere’s Data Center Operating System as a potential new approach to managing scalable applications.

DCOS “is the foundational software for how we orchestrate containers on internal clusters,” said Lawrence Rau, director of architecture and infrastructure at Verizon Labs. According to Rau, DCOS is running in a number of U.S. Verizon data centers.

The company plans to run a variety of workloads within containers, such as back-end support for mobile applications and Internet of Things-type systems, video services, as well as data processing and analytics.

What fueled the move to containers was the desire to “more rapidly deliver new solutions,” Rau said.

To date, the company has had multiple environments for building and deploying applications. App development teams would have to find some hardware within the data centers to run their creations. Developers also had to plan a growth cycle for the application as well. “All this planning had to take place,” Rau said.

“This causes the same application to run through the same process, which is time-consuming. If you step back and are able to make all that common, the more the application teams can focus on the solutions that they need to deliver,” Rau said. “I think the industry is moving in this direction in general.”

Alongside this investigation of Mesos, Verizon has been also trying to standardize the hardware in its data centers as much as possible, in order to support scalable workloads. With this effort, “you look holistically across the requirements of a bunch of applications,” Rau said.

Verizon doesn’t have to worry about multi-tenancy — certainly, its workloads fill entire data centers —  “so we didn’t want to incur the costs of virtual machines,”  Rau said. “Running virtual machines is just another thing to manage so if you eliminate that complexity, as well as the software overhead, that’s a good thing.”

So where Verizon’s servers run Linux, containers could provide a base for scalable workloads. Containers have “good-enough” isolation and sets of feature for running internal applications, Rau said. Docker provides a common image format, as well as a standard way of moving an image around.

The next question was how to orchestrate the deployment and management of many containers. Here the company looked into Mesos, upon which DCOS is based. This was before Kubernetes had even reached its 1.0 milestone. Docker Swarm hadn’t even been released yet.

Even in its early days from its early days being developed at the University of California Berkeley, Mesos was “fairly mature” in its base functionality,  Rau said. “It has a good foundation of concepts.” The software paired well with Verizon’s plans for its hardware and how it wanted to manage its applications. Another mark in it is that some organizations were already deploying Mesos at scale.

Only after Verizon started using Mesos did it contact Mesosphere, which provided support for the software, and upgraded Verizon to the full DCOS suite, which provided many additional capabilities, especially with the Marathon scheduler, such as service discovery and advanced networking support.

Essentially, Verizon and other DC/OS users don’t have to reinvent the wheel like earlier Mesos users had to in order to go from Mesos into a functional system,” Mesosphere senior analyst Derrick Harris noted in a follow-up e-mail.

There are a lot of other places where DCOS could be used within Verizon, though Rau doubts it will be the single point of managing all applications for the telecommunications giant. “I can’t say any one solution will be the de facto solution across Verizon,” Rau said.

Intel sponsored this story. Mesosphere is a sponsor of The New Stack.

Feature image via Pixabay.

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