Data Center Infrastructure

Verizon Uses Mesosphere to Manage Data Centers

Verizon's choice of Mesosphere's Datacenter Operating System to automate its data center is another clear example of a major telecom operator adopting technology that grew up in the Web 2.0 world. (See Verizon Taps Mesosphere for Data Center OS.)

The Mesosphere DCOS is based on Apache Mesos, the open source cluster manager being used widely by companies such as Twitter, Apple and others to automate data center processes and enable rapid scaling and faster application rollouts. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) wants those same capabilities and has been looking into using an Apache Mesos-based solution for more than a year, says Larry Rau, director, technology, Verizon Labs.

With Mesosphere, Verizon will be able to view its data center resources as a single entity, launch tasks as containers within that larger infrastructure, and manage those containers as well, Rau explains. "That is what Apache Mesos does, and it is used by a variety of different companies," he tells Light Reading. Being able to run applications at scale, and easily manage hardware to support scaling up and down, are processes common to Verizon and the Web 2.0 companies already using Apache Mesos. (See Containers a Critical Piece of Telecom's Future.)

"We have different types of applications than some of those companies and so we might have different needs, [including networking needs], and that probably causes us to operate things in a slightly different way," Rau notes. "But for the most part, the idea is to run highly scalable and horizontally scalable applications and serve them up, to scale these up quickly and offer huge capacity to our customers using those applications."

Among the applications Verizon has in mind are big data and associated analytics, Internet of Things connections, video services and mobile apps.

Stay up-to-date on data center strategies including infrastructure in the data center connectivity section of our Data Center page here on Light Reading.

The telecom giant looked at other options for a DCOS but settled on Apache Mesos in part because of its track record among the bigger Internet players, which are also doing things on a massive scale.

"There are some other options we looked at and we did some technical evaluations internally," Rau says. "We felt that Apache Mesos offered the best solution for what we are trying to do and also had enough maturity in the technology, based on where it is used by other companies. It's cutting edge but it has some maturity. When you look at the type of workloads and applications it's being use for -- it has been adopted by Web technology firms that run highly reliable networks and high scale as well."

Mesosphere is also a young firm, but it was launched by some of the folks that created Mesos and have been primary contributors to the Apache Mesos open source project, giving their company "a pedigree of support and knowledge" of the core technology, Rau says.

Verizon wants to be able to follow the "fast failure" model popularized by Web 2.0 companies: Introduce an app and see how the market responds, knowing it can then either rapidly scale that application or pull it back. The goal is to innovate faster and bring new services to market quicker, he notes.

It wasn't that long ago that seeing a major telecom operator adopt an open source technology that grew up in the IT and Web 2.0 space would seem unusual. Now it's a perfectly logical step in the evolution to the New IP.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

[email protected] 8/28/2015 | 4:04:52 AM
Interesting to see the Open Source DCOS maturity & adoption This is really interesting. The real value of Opensource DCOS will be benchmarked by Verizon and that gives the clear signal that Open source softwares like Mesospere is ready for Telco and enterprise adoption. 
CChappell 8/26/2015 | 6:02:34 AM
Re: V interesting development for data centers! I agree. As I said in a comment to another of Carol's stories, it will be interesting to see how the OpenStack community will pivot to address this challenge and what the impact on the NFV MANO - currently predicated on OpenStack - will be. There are new OpenStack developments like Murano underway. But this third wave of cloud is undoubtedly disruptive to the OpenStack IaaS approach.  
dwx 8/25/2015 | 1:04:59 PM
Re: V interesting development for data centers! It's interesting they are using Mesos because I believe as much as OpenStack has gained momentum there is a movement now away from OS into pure PaaS clouds.  Apache Mesos, Kubernetes, and Docker as the container format can run on either baremetal or in a VM infrastructure.  OS is very complex and if you do not need isolation of VMs or other things having an underlying OS layer provides, then why bother.  
cnwedit 8/25/2015 | 9:47:21 AM
Re: V interesting development for data centers! Ray, 

I would agree - a lot of this activity has been going on for some time, but behind the scenes. It's now moving into the open and preparing to be market-ready which is a significant step forward. 

[email protected] 8/25/2015 | 9:26:15 AM
V interesting development for data centers! This is really interesting for the telco data center community -- much of the key hot tech R&D right now is coming from the open source and enterprise IT world right?

Couple this with the new developments in SDN, switch and server alternatives and OpenStack evolution and the sector is light years ahead of where it was a year ago, it sems to me.
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