MyRepublic expands OpenStack-based private cloud

Plans to launch site in New Zealand in mid-2018

MyRepublic is continuing to build out its OpenStack-based private cloud, with the Internet service provider preparing to launch a site in New Zealand next year.

The Singapore-headquartered ISP launched in 2011 then expanded its operations to New Zealand in 2014 and Indonesia in 2015. MyRepublic launched in Australia in late 2016 with a focus on selling National Broadband Network services.

It was as part of its Australian launch that it first rolled out OpenStack.

“We started using OpenStack when we launched our greenfields deployment in Australia,” explained the ISP’s CIO, Eugene Yeo. In the three markets it launched in before coming to Australia, the ISP had relied on VMware’s vSphere.

“We faced some challenges particularly in one of our markets and it caused us to rethink the way that we wanted to deploy and manage our infrastructure,” Yeo said. “What we wanted was a seamless cloud infrastructure across the entire group,” the CIO said.

One problem faced by the ISP was scaling up to meet traffic spikes, in part thanks to a fragmented infrastructure landscape.

Head of IT and security Sebastian Wieseler said that in the past, project owners at MyRepublic would frequently purchase their own hardware and VMware licences.

“Operations-wise, it became a headache to have so many siloed architectures, siloed systems to manage,” he said.

MyRepublic engaged Red Hat to help build a private cloud. Since it launched in Australia the company has expanded its private cloud to two sites Singapore in late 2016/early 2017 and to Indonesia in mid-2017, and it has plans to roll it out in New Zealand in mid-2018.

“With Australia, new projects are always coming up,” Wieseler said. The private cloud allows MyRepublic to “deploy new projects very, very easily,” he said.

In Australia the company is all-in with OpenStack for its infrastructure. In Singapore, the company still has its VMware stack but it is continuing to migrate applications to OpenStack-managed infrastructure.

The ISP’s network subscriber management software comprises a large portion of the workloads running on OpenStack. “All the stuff that needs high availability and is customer-facing,” Wieseler said.

The fact that OpenStack is open source software with a strong community backing it is a big drawcard, Yeo said.

“We are a pretty young company, we started in 2011, and the way that we look at things is we really like the idea of community collaboration,” the CIO said.

“We’ve adopted open source since the start and that’s always been one of the ways of driving innovation in MyRepublic and it leads to better product and service offerings to the market.”

“One of the things we do differently is that we’ve built our own software platform,” Yeo said. MyRepublic built its own business and operations support systems (BSS/OSS), the CIO explained.

“We built everything using open source technology. We are a firm believer of open source and using open source to manage the infrastructure layer through OpenStack is a very natural add-on to our entire strategy.”

The private cloud runs on commodity x86 hardware and employs Red Hat’s CloudForms management platform and the vendor’s software-defined storage platform based on OpenStack’s Ceph.

“That was the other great advantage: We don’t have any vendor lock-in,” Wieseler said. “We can just buy any off-the-shelf hardware and then run OpenStack with that.”

Because the group has been standardising on OpenStack it’s easy to add additional capacity as needed.

The company also leverages public cloud services including Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform. “The philosophy is really to not go only with one vendor but spread the workloads across multiple vendors,” Wieseler said.

The shift to OpenStack has helped MyRepublic cut its hardware investment by around 30 per cent. In addition, it has helped keep the infrastructure team “really lean,” Wieseler said — in total, MyRepublic has three staff managing its cloud.

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Tags Cloudcloud computingopen sourceTelecommunicationsOpenStackredhatMyRepublic

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