Newly launched, the AT&T Airship open infrastructure project aims to simplify site operation for cloud operators. The company is working with Intel Corporation, the OpenStack Foundation and Korean telecom provider SKT on the initiative.
“Simply put, Airship lets you build a cloud easier than ever before,” said Amy Wheelus, AT&T vice president of Cloud and Domain 2.0 Platform Integration, in a blog post announcing Airship.
Among other things, Airship will be the foundation of the cloud that will run the network core that will support AT&T’s 5G service launch in 12 cities later this year, Wheelus noted. She noted that the platform also may be attractive to other telecom providers, as well as to manufacturers, healthcare providers and individual developers.
As Wheelus explained in her blog post, Airship is built using microservices, which AT&T has described as individual functions. The company’s development philosophy today is to avoid creating monolithic enterprise applications but instead to assemble numerous microservices to create new applications.
“When you build an enterprise app with individual ‘blocks’ or microservices, it’s easier to upgrade, replace or reorganize the functions within the application,” a different AT&T exec said in a previous blog post.
Wheelus used the term “declarative” to describe another important concept behind Airship and offered a description of that term. “[E]very aspect of your cloud is defined in standardized documents that give you extremely flexible and fine grain control of your cloud infrastructure,” she wrote. “You simply manage the documents themselves and submit them and the platform takes care of the rest.”
She noted that the platform determines what has changed since the last submission and orchestrates those changes.
Another role for Airship will be to “fuel and accelerate” AT&T’s Network AI initiative, which the company previously described as a framework for a range of open source projects that the company has undertaken. The framework determines how the projects integrate with and support one another, the company said.
One AT&T internal development that had a wide industry impact after being released in open source was ECOMP, a software defined network platform that the company made available to other carriers. ECOMP ultimately served as the foundation for the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP), a joint open development project of the Linux Foundation and the Metro Ethernet Forum aimed at establishing a standard for automating service turn-up.