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Telco Bits & Bytes – 26 November 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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Running CNFs on Bare Metal — Merit or Mirage? The Abstraction of Virtualization Yields Concrete Benefits

As CSPs turn to containers to help roll out 5G services and pursue new use cases, engineers and architects at CSPs are trying to gauge the benefits of running containers on virtual machines or bare metal.

A container wraps a network function in a consistent, portable package that can be independently distributed and modified with little effort and few dependencies. Containers then run on a host operating system and share its kernel. The host operating system resides on either a virtual machine or a physical server.

If you’re part of 5G effort at a CSP, you’re probably considering the merits of running containers on virtual machines or bare metal. Containerized network functions (CNFs) help CSPs streamline the development and deployment of 5G services and functions so you can gain flexibility, speed, and agility to address 5G use cases while maintaining or exceeding your existing levels of security, performance, and reliability.

Embodied in the term cloud-native technologies, this containerization trend is advanced by using a microservices architecture and a container orchestration system—typically Kubernetes. Containers, in general, can ease the path to being able to independently deploy, modify, and maintain network functions. Kubernetes comes into the picture to automate the deployment and management of containerized functions and services at scale.

When it comes to containers, some people tend to cast the choice between virtual machines and bare metal as a binary one, but that’s not the case. Containers are a form of operating system virtualization; virtual machines are, of course, hardware virtualization, which was originally developed to eliminate the many pain points of working with physical hardware and to reduce costs.

As such, VMs solve infrastructure-related problems by better utilizing servers, improving infrastructure management, streamlining IT operations, and isolating resources for security. These are some of the reasons why the major public cloud providers use hypervisors and VMs to run containers. Containers solve application-related problems by, among other things, streamlining DevOps, fostering a microservices architecture, improving portability, and further improving resource utilization.

Containers complement the many benefits of hardware virtualization, and security is a case in point. Because containers alone are inadequate security boundaries, the strong isolation provided by VMs improves security for containerized functions and services, and the mature, proven ecosystem of virtualization technology enables you to build security into the infrastructure with such measures as micro-segmentation.

This passage from the NIST Application Container Security Guide (NIST Special Publication 800-190) sums up this synergy nicely:

“Although containers are sometimes thought of as the next phase of virtualization, surpassing hardware virtualization, the reality for most organizations is less about revolution than evolution. Containers and hardware virtualization not only can, but very frequently do, coexist well and actually enhance each other’s capabilities. VMs provide many benefits, such as strong isolation, OS automation, and a wide and deep ecosystem of solutions. Organizations do not need to make a choice between containers and VMs. Instead, organizations can continue to use VMs to deploy, partition, and manage their hardware, while using containers to package their apps and utilize each VM more efficiently.”

Because of this synergistic problem-solving relationship, running containers on virtual machines helps CSPs speed up the transition from 4G to 5G and ease the management of CNFs and 5G services. At the center of this combination is VMware Telco Cloud Platform, which uses a telco-grade Kubernetes distribution to orchestrate containers on virtual machines in a telco cloud.

A new white paper and an executive level solution brief from VMware explains how running containers on VMs establishes the perfect catalyst for efficiently and securely operating CNFs at scale.

Visit telco.vmware.com for more information on VMware’s Telco Cloud.

Telco Bits & Bytes – 12 November 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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With the Next G Alliance, VMware Prepares for 6G: Multi-disciplinary systems call for multi-industry alliances

It’s only been months since the first 5G-enabled consumer devices hit the market, but the industry is already preparing for what comes next. Here, you’ll find the first of a two-part blog series discussing where the telecom industry is headed and how VMware is helping to shape the next big evolution to 6G and beyond.

After living and breathing 5G nonstop over the last couple years, you’re probably still trying to catch your breath. Thinking about yet another generation of wireless networks may be the last thing you want to do. But here’s something to consider: Wouldn’t it be great if your transition to 6G wasn’t the same kind of massive, all-encompassing transformation effort as the move to 5G?

That’s exactly what a new North American industry group, the ATIS  Next G Alliance, will study – among other objectives in establishing North American 6G leadership.

As a founding member of the ATIS Next G Alliance, VMware is joining  some of the leading network operators and equipment suppliers in the world to set the agenda for next gen wireless. And, we have some good news: many of the things you should be doing to prepare for 6G have already begun as you scale out your systems with 5G.

 

Planning Ahead

Historically, when we’ve gone from one wireless generation to the next (2G to 3G, 3G to 4G), it meant significant infrastructure investments considering bespoke systems that had to swapped out. You can understand why it happens; you can’t just move all your customers to a new network generation overnight. So, you add the new technology as an overlay, continue running the old, and hope that eventually you can switch everything over. In the interim though, you spend a ton of time (and effort, and resources) running multiple siloed architectures at once.

The first few times we went through this process, you could excuse it. By the time 4G rolled around though, we knew all about the costs and hassles of building yet another silo. We knew we’d be better off making more fundamental changes to our processes and organizations. Specifically, we knew that by embracing software-first models from the world of IT and web-scale data centers, we’d be able to evolve our networks much more easily and cost-effectively.

But we didn’t. Instead, we kicked the can down the road. We left the most profound changes for the next major network evolution: breaking down legacy network siloes, moving to cloud-native infrastructure, implementing continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines, retraining network teams in agile development process and DevOps.

How much easier would implementing 5G have been if you already had all that in place? Well, we’re finally in position to build a more flexible, capable foundation for future network evolutions. By embracing agile software models and cloud-native applications as we expand 5G, we can make the next transition a lot simpler.

 

Entering the Next G

Preparing for the next big telecom evolution years in advance is nothing new. Several other regions have already announced plans for 6G research initiatives. If North American industry wants to lead in this space, we need to start laying the groundwork now. VMware and other companies participating in the Next G Alliance aim to do it.

It’s still early days for this effort, and plenty of details remain to be worked out. But we already know some of the things that need to be in place for 6G and beyond. Things like:

  • Openness: We need to move beyond vertical ecosystems to horizontal platforms that enable full separation of ‘function’ from the underlying hardware and software, with multiple industries, multiple providers and multiple vendors contributing to the end to end system compositions.
  • Cloud-native applications and infrastructure: We need to eliminate a reliance on monolithic network functions and systems. Instead, we need to embrace containerized microservices from the world of IT, which will let us treat the network as a flexible pool of resources that can be assembled and reassembled at will.
  • Automation: We need to lay the foundation for use of Machine Intelligence in all aspects of plan, design and operations enabling self-organizing, self-healing and self-optimizing systems.

If those principles sound familiar, they should, because they’re the foundation of the offerings VMware is bringing to 5G networks and services right now. And, that’s the best part: whether you’re thinking about 6G today or not, you’re likely already taking many of the steps that will make future evolutions easier.

 

Envisioning Tomorrow’s Network

Stay tuned to industry efforts like the ATIS Next G Alliance—and expect to see VMware leading the way in many of them. In addition to our own Ready for Telco Cloud certification and partner program, we’ve been longtime contributors to industry groups like the O-RAN Alliance, TM Forum, and GSMA.

Recently, we became a founding member of the 5G Open Innovation Lab (5GOILab), where we’re helping startups develop groundbreaking 5G applications and services. Leading into 5G, we recently joined the Board of Governors for 5G Americas to help bridge the wireless and cloud industries. And, we’re working with the Open Infrastructure Foundation (OIF) to support the open-source communities developing tomorrow’s open infrastructure software.

Through efforts like these, we’re working to help service providers capitalize on the most innovative 5G capabilities today, while smoothing the transition to the networks of tomorrow.

Learn more about how the VMware telco cloud portfolio supports the transformation for future-ready networks by reading Telco Cloud for Dummies. And, stay tuned for the next blog in this series, where we’ll explore previous network evolutions and discuss why the next one will look very different.

Telco 5G Takes Center Stage: News, Customer Commentary, and Analyst Remarks from VMworld 2020

The Telco industry has seen a tremendous amount of progress over the last few years, and this year has been no exception. From releasing the Telco Cloud Platform, to bringing cloud agility to the RAN, VMware is enabling the digital transformation of communications service providers (CSPs) around the world. The Telco/5G track at VMworld 2020 explored the important themes that are impacting CSPs the most. Together with our customers, we discussed software defined IT datacenters, unified multi-cloud networks, and monetization of enterprise services.

In a recent report, 451 Research outlined how VMware is positioned to become a leader in 5G. The report reviews the strengths and opportunities showcased at VMworld and what CSPs can utilize in their digital transformation with VMware moving forward:

  • “VMware’s core cloudification and go-to- market assets line up well with the complex market forces facing telecom operators as they move to disaggregated networks, edge computing and 5G. The company has parlayed incumbency in IT to penetrate core networks in many accounts.”
  • “VMware is smart to introduce the idea of packaging its core SD-WAN and security assets into its telco cloud proposition. Monetization is perhaps the most important challenge that must be overcome for ROI of 5G/edge platforms in B2B.”

Beyond 451 Research, other analysts have commented on VMware solutions:

  • IDC: “VMware is positioned as one of the leading go-to partners for service providers and enterprise virtualization needs. The company is well positioned in the emerging market for telco cloud operations (private and public cloud), both from an infrastructure and orchestration/automation standpoint.” (source)
  • Analysys Mason: “CSPs need a new digital operations model powered by a network and service automation platform, to abstract complexity and automate the lifecycle of multi-cloud networks and digital services in the 5G era. The VMware Telco Cloud Platform solution is positioned to take advantage of this fast-growing market.” (source)

It goes without saying that 5G remains a priority for service providers and hence was a key theme at VMworld. VMware’s CEO, Pat Gelsinger, noted at VMworld that VMware Telco Cloud Platform is becoming the operating system of 5G. With a horizontal automated platform, service providers have the opportunity to monetize 5G – the flexible foundation enables agile service innovation across and end-to-end network with intrinsic security. In addition to the multi-cloud expertise required to build this foundation, VMware has deep enterprise roots which can help drive 5G success through monetization. Going beyond carrier grade performance and 5G speeds, VMware enables personalization through context-aware services and dedicated network slices.

The VMware Telco Cloud Platform released leading into the show was created to support 5G deployments which will be more distributed, more decoupled, with more technology vendors.

Progressing through their digital transformations, service providers are moving to cloud native architectures to fully embrace a cloud-first approach. At the show, results were shared for data plane pod performance – single side-by-side comparison showed CNF on VMware Telco Cloud Platform performs as well as a VM. ACG reviewed the economics for VMware Telco Cloud Platform which automates cloud-native application onboarding, provisioning and life cycle management – models yields include 18% increased services revenues, 33% OPEX avoidance, and 19% CAPEX avoidance.

Another hot-button topic at VMworld 2020 was O-RAN. Several VMware customers took the stage to highlight their projects to open up the RAN – bringing cloud agility to their RAN networks is helping them make 5G a reality. Because 5G pulls applications closer to the customer, it will require more RAN sites that will be mostly virtualized. By transitioning from a traditional, purpose-built RAN to vRAN and ultimately O-RAN, CSPs will be able to create programmable, open interfaces which allow the RAN to be unified with the rest of the network. Intel took the stage on this topic where they announced a collaboration on an integrated software platform for vRAN to accelerate the rollout of both existing LTE and future 5G networks.

Other topics in the show included unified network intelligence and management where a case study was shared that explained that a customer with 1M+ devices under management leveraged VMware Telco Cloud Operations saved $12M in development costs. Several partners from VMware’s robust partner ecosystem also took the stage including Accenture to announce a new pre-integrated solution including Accenture’s Cloud Native Box and VMware’s Telco Cloud Platform. This solution will accelerate end-to-end brownfield and green field cloud-native deployments.

We weren’t the only ones who noticed all the valuable conversations at VMworld. Here is just a sample of some of the amazing feedback we received from the press:

  • Protocol: “What I’d say is generally most customers are running some [cloud workloads], most customers plan to run more going forward, and I’ve said I expect this to get to 50/50, or a little bit more than 50% of the workloads running in the cloud. I’ve called it the three laws of the hybrid cloud: the laws of physics, the laws of economics and laws of the land…. The third is what I call the laws of physics, where we expect … 5G and edge computing to bring a burst of infrastructure at the edge.”
  • Light Reading: “Rouanne made his comments at the virtual VMworld trade show, hosted by VMware. Dish announced recently that its 5G network functions will run inside of the VMware Telco Cloud via a new multi-year agreement between the two companies. Dish officials explained that the move will allow the company to shift its computing needs across public and private clouds, as necessary, while maintaining a cohesive and unified software operation running on top of VMware’s platform. VMware will also act as Dish’s software gatekeeper, approving the software from other vendors that will run inside of Dish’s network.”
  • SDxCentral: “VMware recently repackaged various technologies for mobile network operators as the 5G Telco Cloud Platform. This included updated versions and more integrated support for VMware’s cloud-native software stack and network automation services. ‘VMware is providing us a very large set of software capabilities — all the way from the low-level capabilities to hypervisor, networking, and storage capabilities — but all the way to the automation and Kubernetes orchestration and the network function orchestration, so it’s a full stack that we are going to consume based on our requirements,’ Rouanne said.”

As the industry advances, VMware will continue to partner with our customers and telco ecosystem to help shape the future of communications.

To see how VMware enabling successful digital transformations for our service provider customers read this case study e-book 

Telco Bits & Bytes – 29 October 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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Drive Down OpEx and Drive Up Efficiency

Want to reduce the time and money you spend on network operations? Start with smarter automation.

It’s Monday morning, and your network operations team is already buried in alarms. You know there’s a real problem, because the trouble tickets keep pouring in. Your customers don’t want excuses, they just their services back up and running. But you’re still trying to figure out what exactly went wrong.

A network topology issue? A device misconfiguration or faulty software update? A problem with the application? Maybe the virtual machine (VM) that application is running on? Or the server hosting the VM? Or the SD-WAN edge? It may take hours to pinpoint the problem. In the meantime, you need to figure out which customers the issue will affect and make sure to resolve it in time to meet your contracted service-level agreement (SLA). The worst part: it’s still early. You’ve only seen a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of network events that hit your NOC every day.

It’s not a pretty picture. Unfortunately, it’s not a rare one either. As networks get more complex, managing services across heterogeneous network resources (physical, virtual, SD-WAN, NFV) keeps getting harder and more expensive. But it doesn’t have to. You can cut through the complexity and get to the root of network problems more quickly. You can automate many of the tasks that take hours to accomplish now. You can deliver excellent customer experience with less effort.

To do any of this though, you’ll need a new kind of service assurance—one that’s a lot more automated and intelligent.  One that can span the legacy networks in place and the new virtual networks and services you and your enterprise customers are deploying.  One that is designed for operator networks as they are today, not the way they were a decade ago.

Automate Everything

Too much of current network operations still depends on human decision-making, even as it’s become impossible for human beings to keep up with the complexity of service provider environments. And looking at the latest trends for global IP and mobile networks, the problem is only going to get worse.

According to the Cisco Annual Internet Report, over the next three years:

  • There will be 5.3 billion internet users by 2023
  • The number of devices connected to IP networks will be more than 3X the global population (29.3 billion networked devices by 2023)
  • Machine-to-Machine connections will represent 50% of the globally connected devices (approximately 14.7 billion M2M connections by 2023)

And that’s just raw growth in data and devices. The major technology transformations happening in networks will make service delivery even more complex:

  • The global edge computing market is expected to grow from USD 2.8 billion in 2019 to USD 18.36 billion by 2027 per Fior Markets
  • According to IDC Research, the SD-WAN infrastructure market is poised to reach USD 5.25 billion in 2023, growing at a rate of growing at a 30.8% CAGR from 2018 to 2023

The only way to get a handle on this massive growth in the scale and complexity of network services: automate.  VMware Telco Cloud Operations put assurance automation in the hands of network operators. Telco Cloud Operations automatically tracks device configurations across your entire multivendor network—transport, physical, virtual and services layers. It continually maintains a stable configuration, monitoring for any configurations that are out of compliance and can take action to bring the devices into compliance.  When other issues are detected and alarms raised, Telco Cloud Operations correlates information and status from the entire network to determine the root cause and generates an alert or remediation workflow—all in an automated fashion, without the need for human intervention.

What does all that automation mean for your network teams? Much faster incident detection and response, and a lot less manual effort and “firefighting.” By automating a lot of manual effort, operations personnel can be elevated from incident response to more strategic functions, working to resolve more complex issues and prevent future incidents rather than reacting to routine ones.

Take Network Intelligence to a Higher Level

Network teams already spend less time on mundane, repetitive tasks than they used to, because the many of these tasks have been automated. What operators really need is a way to streamline the more complex processes that currently require human judgement and decision-making. This is where Telco Cloud Operations intelligence makes a significant leap.

  • Automate root-cause analysis: Current network management systems (NMS) bury teams in information. They provide massive amounts of data about the “symptoms” of an issue but leave it to human operators to translate those thousands of alerts into something that makes sense. Telco Cloud Operations correlates all active, inactive and unknown alarm statuses together with the network topology and relationship between devices to quickly uncover the root cause of the problem. It determines not only knows what’s causing the issue, but which services and customers are affected. Your network operations team see only the alerts that actually matter.
  • Adapt to changes dynamically: Many event management system (EMS) tools use rule-based engines to suppress redundant alarms and reduce the alarm storm. However, this requires a significant amount of time by skilled operators to first create the rules based on the network topology and relationship between devices and then continuously update these rules as new devices and services are changed or added. VMware Telco Cloud Operations updates itself automatically. It uses an advanced, multi-dimensional deterministic model-based engine that continually adapts to dynamic networks—saving thousands of personnel hours per year.
  • Address the most important problems first: Conventional NMS and assurance solutions are designed to solve technical problems, not business ones. If there’s a problem affecting multiple services and customers, for example, it’s still up to human beings to figure out how best to triage the response. Telco Cloud Operations business impact analysis tools can automate even this process. By assigning business impact scores to your various tenants and services, you can automatically prioritize incidents affecting your most important services, your highest-profile customers and the problems most likely to lead to costly SLA violations.

There’s a Better Way to Run Your Network

How much time and money could you save if your network operations teams didn’t have to function as a human correlation engine? For large service providers and enterprises around the world using VMware Telco Cloud Operations, this is not an academic question. These operators are automating network discovery, device configurations, and compliance management. They’re automating the process of identifying true problems versus symptoms and driving down the mean time to detect and repair them. Most importantly, they’re focusing their time and effort where it matters most—on areas that directly impacts revenues—instead of constantly putting out fires.

Want to learn more about what VMware Telco Cloud Operations can do for your organization? Visit: https://www.vmware.com/products/telco-cloud-operations.html

 

Blog by Karina Dahlke

Image source: stock.adobe.com

 

 

Telco Bits & Bytes – 15 October 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!

VMware Bits

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Watch all the Telco 5G sessions from VMworld 2020 on demand

 

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Streamlining Operations and Automating Lifecycle Management with Telco Cloud Platform: Insights from Analysys Mason

Communications service providers are working at a rapid clip to establish the digital foundation to roll out 5G networks. If you’re part of a 5G effort, you’re likely harboring a multi-cloud vision of modern infrastructure that will empower your organization to quickly turn your 5G efforts into innovative services and viable business models.

At the same time, however, you’re probably faced with a conundrum: How can you deploy 5G services and network functions on infrastructure that has the consistency to enable you to simplify network operations, not make the task more complex. Since large 5G investments will increase the pressure to extract profit from 5G capabilities like low latency and high density, it is imperative that you can streamline operations and automate lifecycle management to keep OpEx low.

A digital operations model that abstracts the complexity of operating 5G networks and automates the management of network functions across multiple clouds helps elevate the promise of 5G to a sustainable reality. When you combine consistent infrastructure with an operations model that emphasizes this kind of cloud-first automation, you’ve obtained a critical mass for not only deploying but operating and optimizing 5G networks with ease.

To help you innovate quickly while managing functions and services efficiently, a modern telco cloud platform should contain these elements:

* Cloud-native technology such as containers and Kubernetes that lets you run and manage containerized network functions (CNFs).

* Hybrid infrastructure supporting both virtualized network functions (VNFs) and CNFs that spans multiple clouds and sites, from the core to the edge.

* Multi-layer, cloud-first automation that unites your infrastructure and multi-cloud resources in a centralized orchestration system.

VMware Telco Cloud Platform combines these elements into a consistent, horizontal platform that simplifies operations and automates lifecycle management so you can deploy and manage 5G networks and services while keeping OpEx low. Cloud-first automation cost-effectively lights up the path to digital transformation.

Analysys Mason has just published a paper that corroborates the efficient operational model embodied in VMware Telco Cloud Platform.

 

To find out more, read the full paper.
Network and service automation is key to operationalise 5G multi-cloud networks and digital services at scale, by Analysys Mason, October 2020.

 

 

Introducing Telco Cloud Automation 1.7 – What’s New?

VMware is proud to announce the general availability of VMware Telco Cloud Automation 1.7. This new version powers the multiple layers of orchestration and automation delivered by VMware Telco Cloud Platform, which is a new cloud-native platform for 5G that has been announced on September 1st 2020. VMware Telco Cloud Automation is offered both as a standalone product or as a component of VMware Telco Cloud Platform.

As part of that new platform, VMware Telco Cloud Automation becomes a centralized management layer that orchestrates and automates a telco cloud across every layer, from infrastructure to network functions and services. By using multi-layer automation as the cornerstone of the transition to 5G networks, VMware Telco Cloud Platform changes how carrier networks will be deployed and operated.

Let’s take a look at this new release’s innovations and improvements.

Multi-Layer Automation for Modern Networks

VMware Telco Cloud Automation 1.7 provisions and automates core aspects of the infrastructure in addition to Kubernetes clusters, network functions, and services. These new capabilities accelerate the migration to 5G and the network expansion to the edges while maximizing resource utilization and radically simplifying operations. The platform’s automation goes beyond the traditional MANO, as it infuses cloud-based and DevOps practices into every layer of the telco cloud architecture.

Figure 1: Telco Cloud Automation 1.7

Automating CaaS Management for better Consistency and Resources Utilization

VMware Telco Cloud Automation extends its cloud-native architecture to centralize CaaS management. It automates the discovery, registration, and creation of Kubernetes clusters while enabling continuous synchronization between the CaaS layer (Tanzu Kubernetes) and VMware Telco Cloud Automation. This synchronization creates constant Kubernetes cluster resource awareness, centralizes fault and performance monitoring, and optimizes workload placements. Furthermore, during the workload instantiation process, if none of the available Kubernetes cluster profiles is suitable, the system will on-demand or automatically optimize an existing cluster to match the network function’s requirements through late binding configurations on OS, PaaS, and networking.

Figures 2 and 3: Kubernetes Cluster Inventory and Kubernetes Cluster Template Creation

As figures 2 and 3 show, CSPs have rapid visibility of each deployed Kubernetes clusters and the ability to bootstrap new ones over the infrastructure using predefined templates.  The templates include base cluster configurations such as the Kubernetes version, extensions required (CNI/CSI), and the specifics of the manager and worker nodes, like CPU, memory, and replica.  VMware Telco Cloud Automation will further optimize the cluster based on the network function requirements at instantiation (late-binding).  Figure 4 provides an overview of the CaaS automation process.

Figure 4: CaaS Automation Workflow

The effective late binding of the cluster configurations allows for optimal alignment between the cluster and the CNF requirements, maximizing the cluster and infrastructure resources.

Figures 5 and 6: CNF Cluster Selection and Cluster Re-Configuration

The figure 5 and 6 highlights the product ability to specify a cluster for deployment and the cluster configuration during the CNF instantiation (in that case, it is installing a specific version of the Photon OS).  To view this process in action, please take a look at the Kubernetes Cluster creation and the CNF instantiation demonstration videos. Once a Kubernetes Cluster has been deployed, it joins the available Telco Cloud resource pool and is monitored with other clusters and Virtual Infrastructure Manager (VIM).

Demonstration Video 1: Kubernetes Cluster Creation & Deployment

Demonstration Video 2: CNF Deployment & CaaS Optimization

Fast-Forward Network Capacity Expansion and Edge

The telco cloud is growing fast. Being able to fire up capacity or add new sites is critical to enable new capabilities or improve the customer experience. VMware Telco Cloud Automation accelerates the deployment of new telco cloud sites, without cumbersome and error-prone manual software installations and configurations. As per Figures 7 and 8, VMware Telco Cloud Automation combines zero-touch provisioning (ZTP) with CSPs’ predefined templates for core, edge, and other sites to rapidly set up site provisioning.

Figure 7 and 8: Infrastructure Automation

By coupling this new capability with CaaS, xNF, and network service automation, VMware Telco Cloud Automation can automatically roll out a complete telco cloud from infrastructure to network functions and services. Automating cloud deployment is essential to expanding capacity in the core data center and for rapidly introducing edge sites at scale. Figure 9 presents a high-level view of this new automated site provisioning process. In this scenario, VMware Telco Cloud Automation is pre-deployed on the core management cluster and operates the deployment of a new site remotely.

Figure 9: Infrastructure Automation Workflow

This new set of capabilities will transform how telco 5G networks are being rolled out, taking full advantage of the virtual domain and cloud-native technologies.

Automating Telco Cloud Software Upgrades

Considering the required level of availability, managing updates, and upgrades in a telco network is always critical. VMware Telco Cloud Automation integrates with a CSP’s existing continuous integration and delivery pipeline (CI/CD) to update the telco cloud software, once new versions are made available by the vendors. As the updated software is pushed by the vendor and certified through required testing procedures by the CSP and VMware (Ready for Telco Cloud), the new version is made available in the platform repository and a new option for software upgrade becomes available. An upgrade can include changes to code, package, or artifacts. Figure 10 explains the post certified release availability and the upgrade process enabled by Telco Cloud Automation for deploying and monitoring registered upgrades.

Figure 10: CI/CD Pipeline Example

The notion of CI/CD delivery pipeline is fundamental for the evolution of CSPs toward cloud-native and DevOps practices. Even if we expect the rate of changes to be less frequent than enterprise and consumer software, the distributed nature and the various tools used by CNF will be helped by a CI/CD pipeline implementation.

Expanding Interoperability through the Partner Ecosystem

The VMware Ready for Telco Cloud program is expanding to support cloud-native network functions on VMware Telco Cloud Platform, including VMware Telco Cloud Automation. The CNF certification accelerates 5G rollouts and removes compliance risks. The CNF architecture, through distributed micro-services, requires a certification process that validates interoperability and provision the appropriate cluster configurations and toolchain, which can differ for each CNF or vendor.  The pre-certification activities performed during the last two quarters with CNF vendors have allowed bi-directional validation and optimization of both capabilities and performance.  VMware will publish the new Ready for Telco Cloud guidelines for CNF certification within the upcoming quarter, and we invite equipment providers to contact our team to register today.

Streamlined Integration to Telco Architecture

In addition, to facilitate network function interoperability, VMware Telco Cloud Automation now supports TMF 633, 638, and 641 interfaces to OSS and service orchestration. These new interfaces turn complex integrations and maintenance work into simple configuration and validation activities.

Figure 11: ETSI/TMF Interfaces

Driving the Cloud-Native Evolution Toward 5G Networks

VMware Telco Cloud Automation 1.7 embodies the tools and automation to propel your cloud-native evolution toward 5G. The release unites VNF + CNF management and delivers automation across the telco cloud operations, streamlining workload placement, optimizing resource allocation, and driving zero-touch provisioning of new sites. In short, it gives you the tools and automation to manage containers, network functions, and services as you expand your core, push out to the edge, embrace cloud-native technology, and evolve toward 5G.

Learn more about VMware Telco Cloud Automation for CSPs:

  • Register to a session to know more about Telco Cloud Automation