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Airtel selects NetApp Astra for Kubernetes storage and data management on Red Hat OpenShift

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Arvind Ramakrishnan
Arvind Ramakrishnan
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Bharti Airtel Limited (Airtel) is a leading telecom service provider in India with a customer base of 335 million subscribers and counting. As a technology-first organization, Airtel constantly leverages cutting-edge platforms to optimize and refine its IT environments, enhancing its end-user experience.

Along those lines, Airtel has been focused on modernizing and hosting a wide range of applications using containers and Kubernetes in a hybrid cloud model. By shifting to Kubernetes, they will be able to launch new features in their apps much faster and enhance the scalability, mobility, and availability of their digital services.

In this modernization journey, Airtel quickly realized that no matter how apps are deployed— as traditional monoliths or containerized—their data gravity remains the same. Moreover, in the case of containerized workloads, the dynamics for application data management are very different, and traditional products and tools don’t suffice.

Airtel experiences NetApp Astra

Airtel and NetApp share a relationship spanning more than a decade. Over these years, Airtel has developed an excellent understanding of NetApp® ONTAP® and its capabilities. On their journey with Kubernetes, they started with NetApp Astra™ Trident, which gave them a robust foundation to onboard their containerized apps, and it continues to support the delivery of persistent storage for their microservices backed by ONTAP.

"We remain impressed with NetApp storage capabilities. When deploying Kubernetes, we naturally connected our persistent volumes using NetApp’s CSI driver, Astra Trident. Using Trident was simple and effective and gave us access to all the ONTAP features for data protection, such as Snapshots and Cloning.”

Pradeep Bhomia, Head of Infrastructure Transformation, Airtel

To advance their Kubernetes journey, Airtel needed a data lifecycle management solution for their business-critical applications, to make sure that they have the tools to implement business continuity plans, recovery strategies, application mobility, and version control schemas.

At this juncture, Airtel got to experience NetApp Astra Control, which delivers all the critical capabilities for implementing an application-aware data lifecycle management framework for provisioning persistent storage, protecting, and moving stateful containerized applications.

Airtel spent about 6 months evaluating every feature of NetApp Astra Control in their data centers with their own containerized applications. Doing so gave them first-hand experience of what NetApp Astra Control can deliver for their applications and the value proposition it brings to their overall application modernization journey.

Being in the service provider industry, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BC-DR) are paramount to Airtel and always take top priority. Airtel thoroughly evaluated the rich BC-DR feature set delivered by Astra Control. They were impressed with the stringent Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) and Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) they can achieve for their business-critical Kubernetes workloads. 

According to Pradeep Bhomia, “We undertook a detailed evaluation of Astra Control to determine if we could reliably implement Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery for our Kubernetes-based services. We were impressed by how simple it was to use Astra Control to define a BC-DR plan that matched our demanding RPO and RTO needs. The effectiveness of our BC-DR plan will be a key differentiator of our containerized services.”

The confluence of tripartite

For Airtel to operate at the scale it does today and to handle the immense growth it foresees, it’s crucial to make strategic selections regarding technology investments and partnerships. A 10+ year relationship with NetApp for their data management portfolio is a testament to that strategy. 

On similar grounds, Airtel chose Red Hat OpenShift as the platform for their containerized workloads, bringing together the industry’s leading hybrid cloud application platform powered by Kubernetes with NetApp’s data management platforms.

To further complement this alliance, NetApp and Red Hat have a long-standing collaboration, working together to provide joint customers with solutions to help transform their IT infrastructure. Joint technical engagements and engineering efforts by both parties over several years have made this possible.

Rob McMahon, senior director, Global Software Partner Ecosystem, Red Hat, said, “Red Hat OpenShift helps customers more quickly and easily build, deploy, and manage cloud-native applications at scale across the hybrid cloud. By collaborating with NetApp, we are able to further extend Red Hat OpenShift’s capabilities and provide customers increased flexibility and choice for their storage and data protection needs.”

Eric Han, vice president, Product Management, Cloud at NetApp, said, “We recognized that Kubernetes is the application platform for modern cloud-based applications and as such have been investing in bringing the wealth of our data management capabilities to Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift for advanced enterprise class storage management, application mobility, and data protection. We are delighted to work with Airtel on Red Hat OpenShift for their Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery needs.”

Learn more

The NetApp Astra portfolio is certified to work with Red Hat OpenShift. Astra Control is also available as a Red Hat-certified operator in the Red Hat OpenShift ecosystem catalog.

Arvind Ramakrishnan

Arvind is a Sr. Solutions Architect for Cloud Services. In his 12+ years at NetApp, he has built solutions on Cloud, Kubernetes, Automation, AI/ML, and security compliance. In his current role, he focuses on developing NetApp’s portfolio for Kubernetes and enabling this portfolio across APAC. He received a Master of Technology degree in Compute Systems and Infrastructure from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, and a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics and Communication from PES Institute of Technology, Bangalore. Arvind has presented at several industry conferences and was recognized as a Distinguished Speaker at Cisco Live.

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