Canonical picks up major OpenStack cloud telecom win

Russia's largest mobile network, MTS, will soon be running on a private cloud built on Canonical's OpenStack cloud software.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

When you think of cloud-based businesses, telecommunications companies may not be the first ones to spring to your mind. They should be. Telecom, thanks to software-defined networking (SDN) and Network functions virtualization (NFV), runs on the cloud. Now, Canonical, best known for Ubuntu Linux, has won a significant customer for its Charmed OpenStack: Leading Russian telecom MTS.

With over 80 million mobile subscribers, MTS is a serious player, and the company needed a serious cloud for its network. With this new partnership, MTS aims to decrease its time-to-market and speed up the deployment of new services such as 5G. And, of course, as everyone does with the cloud, it wants to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) of cloud infrastructure. 

MTS is doing this with Charmed OpenStack. Based on the popular open-source OpenStack cloud, this stack runs on a combination Metal-as-a-Service (MAAS), Juju Operator Lifecycle Manager (OLM), OpenStack Charms, and the Ceph open-source storage stack. 

OpenStack has long been the cloud of choice for telecoms. "All around the world, carriers love OpenStack. What started as an agile framework to deploy and manage network functions has grown to become a preferred platform for managing the evolution of networks from LTE to 5G," said Mark Collier, Open Infrastructure Foundation's COO. Indeed, last year, Canonical won a contract with BT, formerly British Telecom, to use Ubuntu Linux and OpenStack to deploy 5G in the UK and around the globe.

A big reason for Canonical's market success is that Charmed OpenStack is designed to be an easy-to-deploy and use carrier-grade private cloud implementation. It comes with enhanced SDN handling and edge compute capabilities. 

While financial details haven't been revealed, Canonical's pleased by the deal. "Canonical is truly excited to partner with MTS and provide a platform on which they can roll out their 5G network," said Regis Paquette, Canonical's VP of Global Alliances. 

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