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Telco Bits & Bytes – 17 September 2020

Our regular roundup of the technology news that matters

Welcome to the next edition of our ‘Telco Bits & Bytes’ news blog. Here we share news and insights from across VMware and the technology industry that caught our attention, so you don’t miss a beat. Let us know in the comments below how we can improve this service and enjoy!

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The VMware Telco Cloud Platform as the Software Operating System for 5G

EDITORIAL UPDATE: On September 14, 2020 VMware officially closed its acquisition of Mode.net. The blog post below has been amended to reflect the team and the technology of Mode.net joining VMware.

VMware continues to make great progress on our vision and we are seeing proof that our strategy is resonating with customers and partners. We view the VMware Telco Cloud Platform as the software operating system for 5G. And our recent momentum shows that the industry agrees.

In the last quarter, we have shared new partnerships, customer wins and technology developments across the telco industry. We are working with DISH to bring 5G speed and performance to the majority of the US population with the world’s first open radio access network offering. VMware is also collaborating with Intel to deliver an integrated software platform for virtualized radio access networks (RAN) to accelerate the rollout of both existing LTE and future 5G networks. And finally we formally announced the delivery of our 5G Telco Cloud Platform, a consistent cloud first solution powered by a field proven, carrier-grade, and high-performance cloud native infrastructure with intelligent automation.

Today we are sharing that we are expanding our team with the acquisition of the team and the technology of Mode.net. This group brings knowledge and expertise with communication service providers that will be directly relevant to the work we have underway. These new team members have been working on unifying legacy telco networks with a multi-cloud architecture and helps expand our existing bench of talent, bringing additional engineering expertise and innovative ideas that will help us accelerate our delivery.

Across the globe, the race is on to bring 5G from idea to wide deployment. VMware is helping communication service providers meet the increasing demand for innovative 5G services by delivering   a telco cloud platform that can efficiently create, monetize, and deliver an array of new applications and services for both consumer and enterprise markets.

 

Announcing VMware Telco Cloud Platform — A Cloud-Native Architecture to Propel CSPs Toward 5G

The rollout of 5G networks is driving a monumental shift among communications service providers. As a CSP, you’re likely envisioning a multi-cloud strategy that lets you deploy both virtual network functions and cloud-native network functions from various vendors side by side on hybrid infrastructure so you can rapidly launch new services, explore new opportunities, and improve your competitive position.

How can you modernize your network and your infrastructure in a way that gives you the agility and efficiency to be able to pursue your 5G objectives while maintaining carrier-grade performance, quality, and reliability?

The following elements are critical to establishing a modern cloud with the power to innovate quickly, scale with elasticity, and manage functions and services efficiently:

  • Cloud-native technology such as containers and Kubernetes that lets you build, manage, and run cloud-native network functions (CNFs) across distributed sites.
  • Hybrid infrastructure that spans across multiple clouds and sites, from the core to the edge and from private to public clouds.
  • Multi-layer, cloud-first automation that unites your infrastructure and multi-cloud resources in a centralized orchestration system, which uses intent-based placement with late binding for optimization.

The trick, of course, is combining all of these elements into a consistent, horizontal platform that  eliminates silos, simplifies operations, and manages your networks and infrastructure efficiently so you can keep costs low while maintaining carrier-grade quality.

VMware Telco Cloud Platform does just that, and we are excited to announce the platform. Powered by field-proven telco infrastructure and cloud-first automation, VMware Telco Cloud Platform is a multi-cloud platform that enables you to rapidly deploy and efficiently operate multi-vendor CNFs and VNFs with agility and scalability across distributed 5G networks, from the core and the edge to the radio access network (RAN).

By solving the problems that undermine the architecture of existing telecommunications networks — vertical monolithic stacks marred by complexity, silos, and vendor lock-in — VMware Telco Cloud Platform empowers you to launch innovative services on consistent horizontal infrastructure that reduces operational complexity and radically improves agility. The two fundamental elements of this architecture are VMware Telco Cloud Infrastructure and VMware Telco Cloud Automation. As such, the platform’s architecture includes not only compute, storage, and networking but also containers as a service (CaaS) and multi-layer automation.

VMware Telco Cloud Platform establishes an open, disaggregated, and vendor-agnostic ecosystem to streamline 5G service delivery from design to lifecycle management automation while creating a unified, developer-friendly architecture with key capabilities for resource optimization, operational consistency, and multi-layer automation.

Here’s a summary of the platform’s critical capabilities and some of the associated business benefits.

Consistent Horizontal Platform

  • Consistent and horizontal platform: The platform’s hybrid IaaS and CaaS modernizes existing clouds to run both VNFs and CNFs across unified, consistent infrastructure. This architecture fosters low-latency performance in the data plane and improves scalability through virtualized networking with VMware NSX.
  • Multiple clouds with centralized management: The platform enables you to manage and automate functions, services, and resources across multiple clouds and sites. From a centralized location, you can facilitate and seamlessly accelerate service delivery  across your network.

Carrier-Grade Cloud-Native Capabilities

  • Cloud-native architecture: You can deploy, orchestrate, and optimize cloud resources and processes with intent-based placement. This cloud-native architecture establishes network resiliency, seamless cross-cloud application continuity, and multi-tenant service isolation to address business requirements and compliance regulations, such as high availability and service-level agreements.
  • Containers as a service (CaaS): The platform provides containers as a service (CaaS), which includes telco-specific enhancements that operationalize Kubernetes and containers specifically for telco networks.
  • Carrier-grade Kubernetes: The platform lets you capitalize on the advantages of a microservices architecture. You can use microservices with a resource-optimized Kubernetes runtime for device attachment, NUMA alignment, resource reservation, and placement. This cloud-native architecture delivers the capability to roll out 5G networks with Multus, DPDK modules, an SR-IOV plugin, CPU/Topology Manager, and Kubernetes cluster automation tailored for telco use cases.
  • Kubernetes cluster management: The platform deploys and operates new Kubernetes versions and worker nodes, and it validates on-boarded network functions on the updated version of Kubernetes. Cluster management eases the shift to Kubernetes so the business can focus on deploying new services.

Multi-Layer Automation 

  •  Zero-touch provisioning: The platform enables you to automate the onboarding and upgrading of network functions and infrastructure components with zero-touch provisioning.  Zero-touch provisioning simplifies operations by automatically provisioning new sites, services, and functions. Predefined templates for core, edge, and other sites let you rapidly set up and deploy infrastructure and services. By coupling this new capability with automated CaaS management, VNF management, and NFV operations, you can automatically roll out a complete telco cloud from infrastructure and CaaS to network functions and services.
  • Intelligent placement of functions through service-aware infrastructure: This capability optimizes resource utilization through analyzing infrastructure usage and service requirements. Based on holistic information gleaned from continuously synchronizing with registered clouds, VMware Telco Cloud Platform recommends where and when network functions should be deployed. This capability improves resource utilization and operational efficiency by dynamically adjusting the deployment schema. As a result, you can architect your 5G systems for optimal application response, scale, and service availability. Say goodbye to all those retries.
  • Dynamic resource allocation and late binding for optimization: A CNF is placed using late biding in Kubernetes clusters that were fine tuned during instantiation to meet the CNF’s requirements. The container network interface (CNI) and the operating system for the container host are configured to fulfill the needs of the CNF. This automation improves the resource utilization of clusters. More specifically, during the workload instantiation process, if none of the available Kubernetes clusters is suitable, the system will optimize an existing cluster or create new ones that match its network function requirements, such as location, DPDK, and SR-IOV.
  • Multi-layer lifecycle management: The platform improves operational efficiency by automating the provisioning and management of all the layers of the telco cloud, from network services to infrastructure, reducing provisioning and maintenance costs.
  • CI/CD pipeline integration: The platform makes possible lean and agile DevOps practices across operational functions by integrating with your CI/CD pipeline to deploy, redeploy, and upgrade network functions quickly and reliably, which helps achieve telco-grade resiliency and always-on service availability. These capabilities help you connect your business objectives and organizational structures with technical solutions that address 5G use cases.

Business Benefits for the 5G Era

These capabilities come together to drive a unique combination of benefits for a multi-cloud 5G era. The platform empowers you to:

  • Innovate faster by modernizing your telco cloud with web-scale speed and agility while maintaining carrier-grade performance, resiliency, and quality.
  • Deploy network functions and services throughout 5G networks, from the core to edge sites.
  • Run and manage CNFs and VNFs side by side on consistent horizontal infrastructure.

The combination of these capabilities and their benefits gives you the foundation for digital transformation. In the face of fierce competition and a rapidly changing marketplace, you can stand out by bringing innovative services to the market faster and by establishing a cutting-edge position in the new landscape of 5G.

Learn more about VMware’s Telco Cloud.

Telco Bits & Bytes – 20 August 2020

Our regular roundup of the technology news that matters

Welcome to the next edition of our ‘Telco Bits & Bytes’ news blog. Here we share news and insights from across VMware and the technology industry that caught our attention, so you don’t miss a beat. Let us know in the comments below how we can improve this service and enjoy!

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Telco Bits & Bytes – 6 August 2020

Our regular roundup of the technology news that matters

Welcome to the next edition of our ‘Telco Bits & Bytes’ news blog. Here we share news and insights from across VMware and the technology industry that caught our attention, so you don’t miss a beat. Let us know in the comments below how we can improve this service and enjoy!

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Telco Bits & Bytes – 3 September 2020

Our regular roundup of the technology news that matters

Welcome to the next edition of our ‘Telco Bits & Bytes’ news blog. Here we share news and insights from across VMware and the technology industry that caught our attention, so you don’t miss a beat. Let us know in the comments below how we can improve this service and enjoy!

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Telco Bits & Bytes – 23 July 2020

Our regular roundup of the technology news that matters

Welcome to the next edition of our ‘Telco Bits & Bytes’ news blog. Here we share news and insights from across VMware and the technology industry that caught our attention, so you don’t miss a beat. Let us know in the comments below how we can improve this service and enjoy!

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Telco Bits & Bytes – 9 July 2020

Our regular roundup of the technology news that matters

Welcome to the next edition of our ‘Telco Bits & Bytes’ news blog. Here we share news and insights from across VMware and the technology industry that caught our attention, so you don’t miss a beat. Let us know in the comments below how we can improve this service and enjoy!

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Adapting to a Changing Landscape and Shifting Requirements with Built-in Security

Adapting to Emerging Security Requirements

It’s easy to forget the role of security and compliance in delivering an excellent customer experience — consumers rightfully dread the thought of interrupted communications, breached personal data, or hacked credit card numbers. A highly secure network contributes to a differentiated and distinguished service that attracts and retains customers, but sometimes it’s hard to remember that fact because the value of security lies in the absence of attention: For CSPs and customers alike, no news is good news.

With the shift toward 5G, however, some security standards for CSPs have gone out of date. In the U.K., for instance, the NCSC’s previous telecoms assurance standard known as CAS(T) is done. The NCSC formally closed CAS(T) on Jan. 31, 2020, saying that the “technical aspects of the standard do not align to the evolving telecommunications landscape and will quickly become out-of-date, without NCSC maintenance. Therefore, whilst it will remain available on the NCSC website for historic purposes, the NCSC does not recommend its continued use.”

CAS(T) is being replaced in part by the NCSC’s new telecommunications security requirements, or TSRs, which are focused on improving network security. Based on a framework of contemporary security principles, the requirements provide extensive implementation guidance for technology that is critically important as CSPs shift their networks, equipment, operations, services, and business models to 5G. Software-defined networking, cloud native network functions, containerized applications, orchestration, and the virtualization plane take center stage.

“The potential economic and social benefits of 5G and full-fibre digital connectivity,” the NCSC’s report says, “can only be realized if we have confidence in the security and resilience of the underpinning infrastructure.”

The Benefits of Built-in Security

When security is an intrinsic part of the technology from start to finish — that is, when security is built into the software and infrastructure from the beginning instead of bolted on as an afterthought — it empowers you to quickly, effectively, and economically capitalize on the new market opportunities of 5G without undermining the security of the virtualized network or its management.

Why? Because intrinsic security improves your ability adapt to changes. The VMware model, for example, helps you more easily and quickly make changes to security settings, network policies, and even the network topology itself to meet emerging telecommunications security requirements, such as those that the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre is working on.

 

The Shifting Security Landscape

Here in the United States, NIST has also shelved at least one of its old telecommunications guidelines, and a replacement hasn’t been forthcoming yet. The previous guidelines, Telecommunications Security Guidelines for Telecommunications Management Network, SP 800-13, was withdrawn as outdated on August 1, 2018. Meantime, NIST and the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence are working on a project for 5G security titled Preparing a Secure Evolution to 5G ; so far, however, only the project description has been published, which makes taking concrete action difficult.

VMware has published two new white papers to discuss the security challenges that CSPs are facing as they evolve their network architectures to 5G and how VMware is addressing these security challenges with our existing products and solutions:

Intrinsic Security for Telco Clouds at the Dawn of 5G. 

 

 

This technical white paper summarizes the security risks and requirements that CSPs face as they transition to 5G networks and increasingly rely on virtualization, containers, and cloud computing. The paper illustrates how VMware technology protects telecom networks with an array of built-in security measures, many of which can be automated.

 

Intrinsic Security for Telco Clouds: Protect infrastructure with built-in measures

This short paper explains how the VMware Telco Cloud emphasizes intrinsic security—integrated with the software and infrastructure so that security is programmable, automated, adaptive, and context-aware.

With the VMware Telco Cloud, security is built into the software and infrastructure, which improves visibility, reduces complexity, and enables CSPs to focus their defenses by applying automated security measures like micro-segmentation in the right place.

Micro-segmentation is a pertinent example. It divides a virtual data center and its workloads into logical segments, each of which contain a single workload. You can then apply security controls to each segment, restricting an attacker’s ability to move to another segment or workload. This approach reduces the risk of attack, limits the possible damage from an attack, and improves your overall security posture.

 Isolating and Automating Security with the VMware Telco Cloud

The NCSC’s TSRs, then, seem to be prescient — they furnish an early government-driven perspective on security and compliance for CSPs as they roll out 5G networks and services.

The security measures that are built into the VMware Telco Cloud help you readily adapt to the NCSC’s key high-level security imperatives for virtualized networks, such as isolating the management network, segmenting traffic, and automating administration.

 

 

Telco Bits & Bytes – 25 June 2020

Our regular roundup of the technology news that matters

Welcome to the next edition of our ‘Telco Bits & Bytes’ news blog. Here we share news and insights from across VMware and the technology industry that caught our attention, so you don’t miss a beat. Let us know in the comments below how we can improve this service and enjoy!

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