Open Source

CableLabs Connects With Kubernetes

Following an earlier move centered on OpenStack, CableLabs has introduced a Kubernetes stack as the industry R&D house tries to add more open source software to the mix and MSOs size up their software-defined networking and network functions virtualization strategies.

CableLabs 's formal name of the release is SNAPS-Kubernetes. SNAPS -- an acronym specific to CableLabs that stands for SDN/NFV Application development Platform and Stack -- is an over-arching project tied to CableLabs's efforts on SDN and NVF. (See Cisco & Google's Kubernetes Partnership Could Deliver in October and VMware Launches Kubernetes-as-a-Service.)

The general idea for SNAPS-OpenStack and the newer SNAPS-Kubernetes is to provide CableLabs members (MSOs, primarily) with open source platforms, rather than ones that are vendor-specific, Randy Levensalor, lead architect of wired technologies at CableLabs, explained.

Though SNAPS-Kubernetes was created to be vendor-agnostic (the current release is based on Kubernetes 1.10), Aricent Inc. contributed to its development. (See Aricent, CableLabs Team on NFV System.)

In addition to offering "pure open source" alternatives, the new platforms are also optimized and tailored for the cable industry, Levensalor said. Plus, he noted, they aim to establish a baseline for interoperability while providing a path toward best practices.

While it will foster interoperability and establish a foundation and a common base, the CableLabs effort will also involve some fine-tuning and tweaking to help optimize the software for performance on cable access networks.

Because they are open source, CableLabs's SNAPS projects are free to use and modify. As a result, CableLabs expects operators to tap into them to run lab and evaluation trials, conduct proof-of-concept tests and explore use cases. The R&D group then expects operators to use those findings to develop a more "hardened solutions" that would be integrated later into vendor products and ultimately deployed by MSOs, Levensalor said.

While cable operators have looked to OpenStack or proprietary visualization systems for regional data centers, the Kubernetes flavor of SNAPS is lighter-weight and more targeted to the cable access network.

That's becoming increasingly important, Levensalor said, as cable operators explore virtualized versions of the Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) and pursue Remote PHY architectures, which employ a control plane that manages key electronics being pushed further toward the edge of the network. (See Remote PHY Moves Needle in Europe and Remote PHY Takes Early DAA Lead.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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