Definitive Requirements for Telcos, CDNs and CSPs Launching Kubernetes-as-a-Service

Something has changed in the industry. The number of cloud service providers, Content Delivery Networks and telecommunications companies that are exploring options to offer Kubernetes-as-a-service (KaaS) to enterprise customers is growing at a surprising pace. Here’s what driving them to explore offering KaaS platforms:

  • Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) provide managed services (compute environments, networking, operations) to enterprises and are now being asked by customers to now enable them to deploy modern (containerized) apps in the CSP network.
  • Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) maintain compute presence (Edges) for content caching and security in highly populated areas, and are now being asked by customers to enable customer apps to be run at the CDN Edge.
  • Telecommunications companies (telcos) are rolling out 5G networks that provide multi-access edge computing (MEC) capabilities, and customers are interested in facilities whereby they can deploy and operate apps in public and private MEC environments.

Many companies begin exploring ways to build a KaaS platform in-house using open source offerings, but quickly find that:

  1. The time it takes to get a platform operational results in a competitive disadvantage, and
  2. Getting operations teams trained to support application infrastructure doesn’t happen overnight.

If you’re a CSP, a CDN or a telco evaluating Kubernetes automation and operations platforms, in addition to the basics (Kubernetes bringup, dashboards, upgrade methodologies, etc.), you should make sure the company you partner with delivers the following:

  • Operational Support Model
  • Multi-Tenancy and White Labeling Support
  • Single pane of glass for Service Provider and Enterprise operations
  • Dedicated (SaaS) Controller as a Service
  • Zero Trust Connectivity for Cluster Management and Developer Access
  • Turnkey Automation for any Infrastructure Platform
  • Turnkey Integrations with Enterprise Tools

Operational Support Model

Kubernetes is hard. Running Kubernetes clusters for many companies as a managed service is even harder. You’ll be better off working with a partner who not only provides a turnkey platform for Kubernetes automation, but also provides an operational support model to help you operate the Kubernetes platform in production.

Be sure to ask about their experience supporting customers in production and about their status as a Kubernetes Certified Service Provider.

Being a Kubernetes Certified Service Provider (KCSP), Team Rafay can help companies make fast progress with their Kubernetes projects. Rafay’s solutions team can work with you to get your Kubernetes projects off the ground quickly. Having supported service providers, enterprises and startups alike, Rafay’s deep bench of experts can help any company at any point in their Kubernetes journey.

Multi-Tenancy and White Labeling Support

A service provider delivering Kubernetes services to hundreds of customers cannot realistically run a control plane for each customer. When choosing a partner, be sure to understand the levels of tenancy supported.

The right platform must provide multiple, hierarchical views such that your operations teams can manage and support all customer clusters, while customer operations teams have a view across their fleet of clusters.

Further, the right platform must allow for white labeling so you can confidently sell a differentiated product with your logo/name on it.

Rafay delivers a highly flexible, multi-tenant operations model that meets service provider requirements in full.

Single pane of glass for Service Provider and Enterprise operations

The right platform must provide a fleet-wide view for your operations team such that they can support individual customers as needed. The platform must also provide portals for end customers’ operations teams to manage their clusters and modern applications deployed on their clusters.

Whether your clusters are deployed on premises across customer networks, in the cloud across multiple customer accounts, or at the Edge, Rafay lets you manage all your assets through a single pane of glass.

Further, customer operations should be able to view their respective clusters fleets in one place without needing to install their own dashboards for visibility and monitoring.

Rafay delivers a highly flexible, multi-tenant operations model that meets service provider requirements in full.

Dedicated (SaaS) Controller as a Service

Although Rafay’s default service offering is SaaS based, large enterprises and service providers may choose to deploy the Rafay controller as on premises or in their cloud environments.

But having an operational partner that can seamlessly integrate with your operations team and augment your team’s skillset can speed up your time to market.

Rafay operations is ready to assist our large enterprise and service provider customers with hands-on operations needs. We offer dedicated SaaS models (a controller dedicated to you, and delivered as a service) as well as hosted options that are managed and operated by our teams remotely.

Be sure to understand if your chosen partner offers a broad set of options depending on your needs.

Zero Trust Connectivity for Cluster Management and Developer Access

The Kubernetes clusters you will deploy and operate on behalf of your customers will likely be in disparate environments with no guarantee of direct connectivity between the central controller and all the clusters. Moreover, developers and CI/CD systems needing access to the clusters you are operating for their respective employers will need direct access to the clusters; what is the jump host strategy you will follow to ensure that only developers and CI/CD systems belonging to a specific enterprise can access clusters belonging to that enterprise with full auditing and access control?

Rafay delivers a zero-trust connectivity model that secures cluster to controller connectivity, as well as developer to cluster connectivity.

Full access control and auditing is built into the platform to ensure that security and compliance teams can easily review all activity carried out by developers and CI/CD over time.

It’s critical for service providers to think through the connectivity and access model before rolling out a Kubernetes service.

Turnkey Automation for any Infrastructure Platform

Depending on the situation, clusters may end up getting deployed in environments powered by VMware or OpenStack, on bare metal servers or in cloud providers such as AWS.

Rafay delivers turnkey automation for Kubernetes cluster deployment in any environment. Service providers and enterprises can deploy clusters in a variety of infrastructure types based on end customer needs to deliver a platform that addresses broad market requirements.

It’s important to understand if your partner provides such infrastructure-level flexibility.

Turnkey Integrations with Enterprise Tools

Each of your end customers will have their preferred single sign-on (SSO) system, continuous integration (CI) platform, log aggregation system, and more. You must be ready to allow each end customer to leverage their own toolsets, which means your platform must allow for it.

Rafay’s platform seamlessly integrates with a broad ecosystem of products including API Gateways, Ingress Controllers, DNS providers, container registries, log management systems, Identity Providers (IdPs), incident response systems, CI/CD systems, visibility/monitoring platforms etc. Rafay’s pre-built integrations make the platform a significant productivity driver enabling organizations to fully deploy their applications on Kubernetes quickly. And because Rafay is designed with multi-tenancy in mind, each end customer can carry out their independent integrations without requiring service providers to maintain a controller per customer.

It’s important to understand if your partner provides such turnkey integrations that your end customers can use.

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If you are a cloud service provider, content delivery network and telecommunications company making a Kubernetes platform decision, please do leverage the above requirements list during your decision making process.

Let’s schedule a time to chat about how Rafay can help you accelerate your modern application’s time to market. If email-based scheduling is more your thing, you can email me directly.

Tags:
CDN , Kubernetes

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