Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Blueprint: The Power of Open Infrastructure, Featuring StarlingX

by Ildiko Vancsa

In today's technology landscape, the prevalence of open source software is undeniable, with estimates suggesting that Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) constitutes 70-90% of modern software. Gartner says that over 95% of the IT enterprises across the globe use open source software for their mission-critical IT workloads, whether they are aware of it or not. Even governments are recognizing the importance of open source: the EU Commission, for example, embraces open source strategies to encourage sharing, contribute to the knowledge society, and build world-class public services.

So, what exactly is Open Infrastructure? It's IT infrastructure built with open source components. The popular LOKI(Linux, OpenStack, Kubernetes Infrastructure) stack is an example of Open Infrastructure. 

Another standout example of Open Infrastructure is StarlingX—a deployment-ready, scalable, and highly reliable edge infrastructure platform.

Open Infrastructure in Action: StarlingX

Overview of StarlingX's Open Source Components

The creators of StarlingX set out to reconfigure proven cloud technologies, including OpenStack, Kubernetes, Ceph, and QEMU/KVM, for large-scale deployments, whether local or geographically distributed. The result is a distributed cloud platform that is simple to deploy, operate and manage, while capable of running bare metal, VM and container workloads alike.

What Makes StarlingX Special

Modern software infrastructure stacks are often deployed on a large scale, with an increasing number of components distributed among sites in different geographies, which makes these environments inevitably complex. Deploying and managing these systems is no small task, with automation being the only path towards simplification.

The StarlingX platform has been designed and developed to provide the missing pieces to today’s software infrastructure components, to take them outside of the walls of large data centers without compromising on manageability or performance.

The project provides a fully integrated stack, which includes the Debian operating system with a real-time kernel. StarlingX utilizes container technologies on the platform level to package the infrastructure services, which makes the platform much more flexible and robust. By using Kubernetes for container orchestration, the ability to  manage infrastructure services as well as run containerized applications is available out of the box. At the same time, users have access to well-known APIs, whether they are running containers or orchestrating virtualized workloads through OpenStack.

StarlingX implements a distributed cloud architecture model, which means that users can deploy the platform in a geographically distributed configuration. In this scenario, operators are able to access and manage the end-to-end deployment from a central cloud, while having autonomous sites remotely, including at the network edge. This setup makes the platform much less sensitive to unreliable network connection between sites. At the same time, the ability to remotely manage and operate sites, with high levels of automation, simplifies infrastructure maintenance and brings the associated costs down.

The StarlingX project is designed and developed with high security standards, which includes periodic CVE scans, vulnerability management and a ever-growing number of related security features.

Beyond taking care of the infrastructure, the platform also provides features for mission-critical and high-performance applications, which makes it a prime candidate for a wide range of use cases. StarlingX is already highly utilized by the telecom sector in their backbone infrastructure to provide connectivity. These successful, large scale deployments help pave the way for more advanced use cases. 

Unique Features of StarlingX 

Here’s a quick recap of the features of StarlingX which demonstrate the power of this Open Infrastructure platform:

  • Engineered for Scale and Performance: StarlingX is tailored for distributed cloud and high-performance applications, providing deterministic low latency and a small footprint at the edge without compromising security.

  • Comprehensive Orchestration: The platform focuses on easy deployment, low-touch manageability, rapid response to events and fast recovery, ensuring efficiency in managing multiple sites in geographically dispersed regions.

  • Automated Operations: StarlingX enables fully automated certificate management and can scale operational support, making it ideal for applications in transportation, manufacturing, video, healthcare, energy, retail, smart cities and drones.

  • Telecom Integration: StarlingX is already deployed by telecom companies supporting 5G use cases. With telco-related features like Preciasion Time Protocol (PTP) support and O-RAN O2 interfaces, it excels in deploying thousands of  subclouds using Zero-Touch Provisioning.

Why Open Infrastructure Should Matter to You

Open Infrastructure, exemplified by StarlingX, offers several advantages over closed source alternatives:

  • Flexibility vs Vendor Lock-in: Open Infrastructure provides flexibility, allowing organizations to avoid vendor lock-in and choose solutions that best fit their needs.

  • Open Code vs Hidden Source: With open source, code transparency ensures trust and enables collaboration, fostering innovation.

  • Community Support vs Help Desk and Sales Calls: Open Infrastructure benefits from community support, encouraging collaborative problem-solving rather than relying on traditional help desk channels and increasing collective knowledge through information sharing.

  • Innovating Faster vs Reinventing the Wheel: Open source allows for faster innovation by building upon existing solutions rather than reinventing the wheel with proprietary alternatives.

  • Shared Burden on Common Dependencies vs High Maintenance Costs: Open Infrastructure shares the burden on common dependencies, reducing maintenance costs compared to closed source alternatives.

Conclusion: Join the Open Infrastructure Community

Open Infrastructure is the most effective way to develop technology globally and empower applications to fulfill their designed purposes. StarlingX serves as a compelling case study, showcasing the transformative potential of Open Infrastructure in diverse use cases. If you're passionate about making a difference, the Open Infrastructure community invites you to participate. Learn more at openinfra.dev and embrace the power of Open Infrastructure—it's what runs the world!

About the Author

Ildikó Vancsa is Director of Community at the Open Infrastructure Foundation. As part of her role, she is the Community Manager for the StarlingX open source distributed cloud project and a co-leader of the OpenInfra Edge Computing Group. Ildikó has been contributing to projects like OpenStack, Anuket and State of the Edge for over 10 years with focus areas of Edge Computing, Telecommunications and NFV. She is an open source evangelist and is using her experience to help individuals, companies and organizations to learn and get more involved and active in open source communities.

Spirent: Uplift expected in 5G Standalone this year

Based on its testing and validation work with more than 30 service providers over the past year, Spirent Communications is predicting during an uplift in commercial 5G Stand Alone (SA) in 2024. Spirent's newly released fifth annual 5G outlook report, based on . The “5G 2024: Market Drivers, Insights & Considerations” report, which is based on analysis and takeaways from over 500 new global 5G engagements, provides insights from across the 5G ecosystem on the status of 5G, revealing trends, geographical differences and future potential. 

“5G Standalone (SA) network deployments were delayed last year, in part due to the technical challenges of deploying and integrating new, cloud-native 5G Core technologies,” said Spirent’s Head of Market Strategy, Steve Douglas. “This year, however, we expect the market to pick up speed. For the first time, the demand for new 5G SA capabilities, and the supply of network equipment and devices to enable them, are finally aligned. Suppliers see a 5G market that’s ready to scale and demand for next generation 5G SA capabilities and the journey to 5G Advanced is ramping up.”

The most promising 5G trends include the following:

  • 5G SA and the new core – Despite slow commercial deployment momentum during 2023, Spirent’s Landslide 5G core test solution was selected by over 30 operators - a strong indicator of commercial 5G SA acceleration in 2024. With increased demand for testing the 5G core’s differentiated capabilities and a heightened focus on optimizing power consumption expect leading operators to prioritize on new revenue generating services and energy efficiency.
  • 5G SA is a catalyst for digital transformation – The move to 5G SA is becoming a primary business driver for network and OSS digital transformation programs especially around the use of automation across the network lifecycle. Based on our global engagements we estimate 20% of mature service providers have begun implementing DevOps and agile practices like continuous testing (CT).
  • 5G SA device and handset service experience testing - These engagements doubled with increased focus on the performance and experience of new services around immersive voice and video as operators look to launch new consumer and enterprise private network offerings.
  • Transport network testing – To cope with the 4-5x traffic growth seen by leading operators and in preparation of 5G SA leading operators began their 200/400G ethernet refresh cycles for IP Core backbones while 5G RAN deployments drove cell site gateway upgrades for 10/25G edge routers and the move to 100G at aggregation sites.
  • Non-Terrestrial Network testing – New low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite testing increased with industry focus on understanding performance capabilities and the technical and regulatory challenges related to delivering direct-to-device 5G services.
  • Private 5G testing - 2023 saw growing interest around early Release 17 capabilities including reduced capability (RedCap) while early commercial private network implementations were delivering return on investment (ROI) in as early as six months across a targeted set of use cases and a simplified network-in-a-box (NIB) deployment model.

The report also notes emerging and growing trends that Spirent is watching – areas where 5G is showing progress and potential, such as:

  • 5G Standalone – This is a market in infancy with 51 commercial deployments and limited population coverage. But momentum is growing as service providers prepare controlled growth deployments and device availability reaches critical mass.
  • Private 5G – More than 1,200 private LTE/5G networks have been commercially deployed over the last few years as pending SA deployments, lifecycle automation and security focused network slices could lead to more than 40,000 rollouts by 2027.
  • Open and Virtual RAN – The supply-side ecosystem comprises more than 50 suppliers, while demand-side support includes more than 30 service providers targeting meaningful coverage deployments through the second half of the decade.
  • 5G Advanced – As 5G Standalone (SA) upgrades accelerate, users will finally get a feel for what true 5G can offer. Right on its heels will be 5G Advanced, defined by 3GPP in Releases 18 and 19, it targets a wider set of industry use cases including immersive XR applications and expands the role of AI within the network.

The report is available to download here: www.spirent.com/5Greport


#MWC24 Preview: Top 5G Trends

Check out complete MWC Barcelona 2024 Showcase at: https://ngi.fyi/mwc24yt

Here's a look at the big trends for the upcoming MWC 2024 in Barcelona, courtesy of Steve Douglas, Head of Market Strategy from Spirent, based on their latest annual 5G report:

  • The perfect storm of 5G stand-alone supply and demand is expected to occur in 2024, with over 30 service providers set to commercially deploy the new 5G core network. This will offer increased and differentiated services to the market.
  • The emergence of new services delivered by the 5G core network, including voice over new radio, immersive video communications, and early versions of augmented reality. These services are expected to hit the market in mature markets where 5G stand-alone gets deployed.
  • The shift to 5G Standalone has triggered digital transformation in many service providers, becoming a primary business driver for OSS Transformations and the use of automation across the lifecycle. Over 20% of leading service providers have already started to implement techniques like DevOps, GitOps, and agile practices like continuous testing.
  • The expansion of open and virtual RAN, with over 50 suppliers providing radio units, distributed units, and centralized units for the new open RAN ecosystem. More than 30 service providers globally are targeting meaningful coverage deployments by the second half of this decade.
  • The move to 5G Advanced and non-terrestrial networks, with early movements in terms of capabilities expected to be out to pilot and trial by the end of the year, with a focus on non-terrestrial networks and direct-to-device communications.


For more detailed insights, watch the video and discover what's next in the world of 5G.

Like our videos? Want to participate? Contact info@nextgeninfra.io


#MWC24 Preview: Think APIs for Simplified Utilization of Networks

 Check out complete MWC Barcelona 2024 Showcase at: https://ngi.fyi/mwc24yt

APIs promise to simplify the interface between developers, users, and network infrastructure.  Harpreet Geekee, Co-founder and CTO from Shabodi, explains:

  • The current state of the market where network services are becoming intelligent assets and the industry's attempt to expose these services in a simplified, cohesive manner.
  • The challenges faced by application developers in deciding which interfaces to work with, and how this affects the adoption of their applications.
  • Shabodi's solution to these challenges: discovering and simplifying access to network services, enabling developers to use them without needing to understand the intricate details of the network. 


Join us as we delve into the future of network services and how Shabodi is making it easier for developers to harness their power.

Like our videos? Want to participate? Contact info@nextgeninfra.io


AT&T Dynamic Defense brings new network capabilities

AT&T will begin offering new security features embedded directly into the network without the need for extra equipment. The capabilities are derived from cyber threats detected across the AT&T network backbone, which carries more than 680 petabytes of data every day.

AT&T Dynamic Defense is offered to new and existing AT&T Dedicated Internet business customers in the following areas with a broader rollout expected later this year: Washington, D.C., Dallas, TX, Atlanta, GA, Houston, TX, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Chicago, IL, New York, NY, Cleveland, OH, Los Angeles, CA, San Francisco, CA. The offering includes three package options to suit a variety of business needs, which are:

  • Standard, priced at $20/month, but is now being offered at no cost for the life of your AT&T Dedicated Internet Service.
  • Advanced, $175/month, includes the first two months at no charge, if you start your service before the end of 2024.
  • The Premium plan is set at $275/month.

“Cybersecurity is a core strength at AT&T, and we’re setting a new standard of connectivity, with security that starts at the network level,” said Rick Welday, Head of AT&T Business. “Our customers deserve our best effort when it comes to protecting their businesses and this innovative product offers a robust shield against cyber threats, enabling them to do more than they ever could before.” 



Cadence to offer optimized design flows for Intel Foundry Services

Intel Foundry Services (IFS) and Cadence Design Systems entered into a multiyear strategic agreement to jointly develop a portfolio of key customized IP, optimized design flows and techniques for Intel 18A technology featuring RibbonFET gate-all-around transistors and PowerVia backside power delivery. 

This will enable joint customers to accelerate their SoC project schedules on process nodes from Intel 18A and beyond while optimizing for performance, power, area, bandwidth and latency for demanding AI, HPC and premium mobile applications.

Fast-growing market segments, such as AI/ML, HPC and premium mobile computing, require the latest standards in IP to take advantage of advanced packaging and silicon process technologies. Cadence’s leading-edge implementations of trailblazing standards, such as advanced memory protocols, PCI Express, UCI Express and others for these key segments, enable joint customers to achieve scalable, high-performance designs that accelerate their time to market in IFS’ most advanced silicon technologies and 3D-IC packaging capabilities.

“We furthered our partnership with Intel Foundry Services through a significant strategic multiyear agreement to provide design software and leading IP at multiple Intel advanced nodes, thereby advancing Intel’s IDM 2.0 strategy and accelerating mutual customer success,” said Anirudh Devgan, president and chief executive officer at Cadence.

“We’re very excited to expand our partnership with Cadence to grow the IP ecosystem for IFS and provide choice for customers,” said Stuart Pann, Intel senior vice president and general manager of IFS. “We will leverage Cadence’s world-class portfolio of leading IP and advanced design solutions to enable our customers to deliver high-volume, high-performance and power-efficient SoCs on Intel’s leading-edge process technologies.”

Samsung Foundry’s Gate-All-Around supports Arm Cortex-X

Samsung Electronics Co. will deliver the next generation Arm Cortex-X CPU optimized on Samsung Foundry’s latest Gate-All-Around (GAA) process technology. 

The companies have bold plans to reinvent 2-nanometer (nm) GAA for next-generation data center and infrastructure custom silicon, as well as a groundbreaking AI chiplet solution that will revolutionize the future generative artificial intelligence (AI) mobile computing market.

“As we continue into the Gen AI era, we are excited to extend our partnership with Arm to deliver the next generation Cortex-X CPU, enabling our mutual customers to create innovative products,” said Jongwook Kye, executive vice president and head of Foundry Design Platform Development at Samsung Electronics. “Both Samsung and Arm have built a solid foundation from many years of collaboration. This unprecedented level of deep design technology co-optimization has resulted in a ground-breaking accomplishment, providing access to the newest Cortex-CPU on the latest GAA process node.”

“Our longstanding collaboration with Samsung has delivered multi-generation, leading-edge innovation,” said Chris Bergey, SVP and GM of the Client Business of Arm Inc. “Optimizing Cortex-X and Cortex-A processors on the latest Samsung process node underscores our shared vision to redefine what’s possible in mobile computing, and we look forward to continuing to push boundaries to meet the relentless performance and efficiency demands of the AI era.”

Samsung announced its initial production of 3nm Multi-Bridge-Channel FET (MBCFET™), based on Samsung’s GAA technology in 2022. GAA technology allows further device scaling beyond the FinFET generation, improving power efficiency with reduced supply voltage level, and enhanced performance with higher drive current capability. The GAA implementation approach with nanosheets structure delivers maximum design flexibility and scalability.

European Commission approves Orange + MASMOVIL in Spain

The European Commission gave permission to Orange and MASMOVIL to combine their operations in Spain in the form of a 50-50 joint venture. As part of its proposed package of remedies, the parties have agreed to divest to Digi as remedy taker 60MHz of spectrum assets (pending approval from the Spanish Government) and to propose an optional national roaming agreement at market conditions.  

This Joint Venture between MASMOVIL and Orange will create a leading operator of the Spanish market in terms of customers, user experience, talent, fiber and mobile coverage and a sustainable player with the financial capacity to continue investing in the development of a leading telecom infrastructure in Spain.

Both parties would convert into a leading operator, bringing together the assets, capabilities and teams of the two companies in Spain to serve +7.3M fixed customers, +30M mobile services and +2.2M TV customers. The Joint Venture would manage important network and IT assets to assure a nationwide coverage both in FTTH as well as 4G/5G. In financial terms, the combined entity would become a stronger and solid market player with estimated revenues of above €7.4 billion and EBITDAaL of over €2.3 billion, with an enterprise value of €18.6 billion and expected synergies of more than €450m per year (from year four post-closing).

Christel Heydemann, CEO of Orange, commented: “Today’s announcement is a crucial moment for the future development of the Group in Europe. Our proposed Joint Venture with MASMOVIL will create a single, stronger, and more sustainable player in Spain. By joining forces, we can scale, we can innovate, and we can drive investment in Spain for the benefit of consumers and businesses.” 



Zayo adds Nicola Palmer to Board

Zayo announced the addition of Nicola Palmer to its Board of Directors.

Palmer previously was CTO of Verizon Wireless, she played a pivotal role in the strategy, deployment, and operation of 4G and 5G networks. She holds a BS in industrial engineering from The Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

“Nicola’s addition to Zayo’s Board of Directors brings another top-tier advisor with proven leadership credentials and experience, directly related to our business strategies, and core products and services,” said Steve Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Zayo. “Looking ahead to Zayo’s future, we eagerly tap into Nicola’s extensive expertise to shape our strategy, benefiting from her decades of experience in driving innovation across the telecommunications and digital infrastructure sectors.”