Verizon Business tees up managed Kubernetes service for edge and multi-cloud

Verizon sign
Verizon Business serves up a managed Kubernetes service platform for enterprises' multi-cloud and edge deployments.(Monica Alleven/Fierce Wireless)

Verizon Business has dropped VNS Application Edge into its Virtual Network Services (VNS) portfolio to help enterprises deploy their business applications at the edge and in multi-cloud. The platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering also includes a turnkey automation framework for managing Kubernetes clusters and containerized app deployments.

Verizon's VNS portfolio enables customers to replace their traditional network devices, such as routers, firewalls and switches, with virtual network functions (VNFs) that can be managed and orchestrated from a central location. On that note, Verizon said VNS Application Edge provides a unified experience for network and containerized application lifecycle management by using a single orchestration platform along with end-to-end service management.

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Verizon Business said use cases for VNS Application Edge could include computer vision models at the edge to apply instrumentation and telemetry in the field for near-real time anomaly detection and mitigation.

It also could be used for predictive maintenance for improving assembly output quality by reducing downtime and maintenance costs in manufacturing facilities using IoT coupled with artificial intelligence and machine learning at the edge.

VNS Application Edge could also be employed for microservices that would automate inventory management and order management for retail and enterprise locations.

"It's an interesting announcement that might be early for the market given the maturity of the edge infrastructure today," said Roy Chua, founder and principal at AvidThink. "The sophistication of enterprises in developing, distributing and managing container-based applications across both cloud and edge is limited today.  

"Nevertheless, it's a smart move by Verizon to attempt to put in place a management layer that can span their uCPE or on-premises edge installations, their edge offerings—with AWS and perhaps other hyperscalers—and into multiple public clouds."

In a press release statement, Verizon Business' Aamir Hussain, senior chief product officer, said VNS Application Edge was key to enterprises evolving to deliver a "new set of experiences and functionalities," which seems to indicate that Verizon is planting a flag at this point.

"I'm not convinced yet that enterprise customers will turn to their connectivity provider for an application platform, or application platform management solution," Chua said. "What we at AvidThink have seen to date are two major approaches. One, a cloud-centric approach, starting with an AWS, Azure or GCP framework for developing and managing their container-based applications and counting on the hyperscalers to extend that management and orchestration into the edge, both at the telco and on enterprise premises. 

"And two, an application framework approach from say Red Hat or VMware, developing to those platforms, like OpenShift, and then using the orchestration and management inherent in those to span multiple infrastructure sites including on-premises edge, public clouds and public cloud edge. Verizon's toe-in-the-water here will be an interesting development to watch for sure.

Verizon tapped Rafay Systems to help it build VNS Application Edge. Rafay was founded three-years ago by Haseeb Budhani and Hemanth Kavuluru who are the previous founders of Soha Systems, which was later acquired by Akamai.

Rafay provides Kubernetes management solutions that compete against managed Kubernetes offerings from the public cloud providers, as well as Red Hat and VMware. Rafay has also partnered with Red Hat. Other competitors include SUSE, which announced it was buying Rancher Labs this past summer, and, to a lesser extent, Hashicorp.

While there doesn't appear to be a large number of service providers offering their own flavors of Kubernetes solutions, NTT has also partnered with Rafay, but NTT is a multi-faceted service provider.