The digital era reinvented how communication service providers (CSPs) connect with customers. Customers demand more and more every passing year. On-demand and customizable plans are no longer perks, but expectations. CSPs that deliver excellent services and customer service are rewarded, as every customer agrees that customer service is important in their choice of loyalty to a brand.
5G is the very first mobile wireless technology that seeks to connect anything anywhere, making communications both ubiquitous and as transparent as the air we breathe. A 5G ecosystem is emerging that is using pervasive, ever-present communications to expand the reach and scope of today’s human-centric consumption patterns. One of 5G’s greatest challenges ahead involves an increasingly complex, multi-dimensional, multi-variable world in terms of an ever-expanding multitude of service requirements and disparate traffic profiles. Additionally, a newly-introduced heterogenous mix of enabling technologies for both communications and compute, as well as their control, are adding to this emerging challenge.
An important part of the 5G ecosystem is edge computing. It facilitates radical new use cases that extend from the data center core to the network edges. Edge computing allows for compute and analytics to be moved closer to the data instead of exchanging ever growing amounts of data among cloud servers. As the ecosystem evolves, 5G and edge computing will further converge to enable edge network management, collect and capitalize on massive amounts of data while maintaining integrity and even ownership, and build pervasive intelligence for enabling various latency-sensitive, enterprise, and private services.
Intelligent operations & automation for 5G and edge ecosystems is paramount to delivering excellent services that win customers and trailblaze the latest and greatest service innovations. The three keys to supporting business growth with intelligent 5G operations is efficiency, flexibility and scalability achieved through automation, & consistent cloud infrastructure deployed across diverse assets & multiple clouds, respectively.
To transform successfully and deliver on 5G promises, service providers must partner with a digital technology expert to guide them through the future. Here’s how VMware supports CSPs in intelligent operations, automation, multi-cloud and more.
Building intelligent automation, & operations for a 5G and edge world
The rigidity of today’s hardware and siloed architectures makes it destined to fail in the current market where quick pivots are necessary to keep up with the competition. Appliance-based upgrades can take months and disrupt service. Cloud-native technologies and software-centric models provide the necessary agility and flexibility to adapt, deploy quick patches and upgrades, and to expand to meet ever-changing conditions, all while avoiding downtime.
In their pursuit towards driving innovation & operational efficiencies, CSPs are moving towards virtualizing their networks & infrastructure assets using software building blocks, to adapt to the 5G and edge world. Evolving to a software-defined model releases CSPs from the handcuffs of physical hardware, & proprietary architectures.
The adoption of cloud native principles in the deployment & life cycle management of network functions, applications and services is of paramount importance – to achieve scale and velocity.
Two tasks are fundamental to address the complexity challenge and for CSPs to succeed: automation and optimization. Automation is required to cope with new scenarios in network and edge planning, operation, and management. Automation should ease the operation of network and compute infrastructure for rapidly growing vertical industries, transportation, and enterprise use cases that are bringing along with them new infrastructure owners. Optimization should also ease the extension of cloud computing and fast-growing Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) applications to the edge, as well as introduce self-optimization to best serve applications. Optimization strategies will ensure that every node in mobile networks can provide low latency, high reliability, and pervasive intelligence capabilities.
An operational framework that is backed by intelligent automation & optimization is necessary to build the 5G Core, protect the edge and virtualize the RAN. This is essentially ruled by these five pillars:
VMware can help guide CSPs through their digital transformation journey. VMware enables CPSs to consolidate their legacy siloed platforms & operational frameworks to a consistent multi-cloud infrastructure. CSPs can now deploy any application on a common cloud layer with intelligent automation & operations.
Our goal is to enable CSPs to operationally:
- Detect changes in network demand, deterioration or drifting of SLAs, and inefficiencies or problems in the network,
- Diagnose such issues and identify the root cause, and
- Predict the response of the network to workload redistribution, deployment of new resources, configuration changes, and changes in management policies – leveraging closed loop automation. Closed loop automation helps CSP to automate the response to a given event specific to a service – where the system can then select and implement the best response to changing conditions.
Unleashes 5G potential with automation and end-to-end scalability
Intelligent, analytics-driven automation is more than just automating manual processes. It is the ability to take input from several sources, analyse that input to generate actionable insights, and then execute upon them via intelligent actions. This type of automation is required in the complex end-to-end setting of 5G architecture. VMware Telco Cloud Platform provides Intelligent automation required at the network core, edge, & RAN. Furthermore, by incorporating analytic and AI capability into the automation process, critical insights can be extracted from the network assets which can be used to generate optimal, dynamic configurations allowing rapid service deployment and providing a framework with business agility and flexibility.
Intelligent automation software is the key to the proper placement of Cloud-native Network Functions/ Virtual Network Functions (CNFs/ VNFs) within a mobile network and enabling Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to maximize the utilization of network resources by re-allocating unused resources to other slices. With its advanced analytics, and automated orchestration features,
The VMware Telco Cloud Platform enables the creation of a self-driving, self-healing, and self-optimizing 5G network with zero-touch capabilities. CSPs can now implement zero-touch service lifecycle management, which includes automating the design, creation, modification, and monitoring of network functions and services, as well as the provisioning of underlying resources for those services, as and when required. The VMware Telco Cloud Platform supports the scaling and orchestration of network resources for 5G Core, RAN, & the edge.
Workload balancing, initiating tests across clouds and edge clusters, network provisioning and lifecycle management are all tasks at which the VMware automation solution excels. The VMware Telco Cloud Platform is always aware of Kubernetes clusters resources and dynamically reallocates work to optimize performance and create a self-organizing network.
Adopts multi-cloud for multi-access edge computing
Automating the environment is the best way to scale, but simplicity and visibility in cross-environment monitoring comes in a close second. CSPs employ huge, distributed networks comprised of various types of environments hosted by various providers. This allows them to provide a variety of services and take advantage of cost-effective compute and storage offered by various vendors. Distributing work across platforms, clouds and environments allows CSPs to optimize their investments, reduce their capital expenses, and offer new services.
However, a challenge of adopting multi-cloud for multi-access edge computing is the complexity and silos that often accompany this wide distribution of environments. Every environment has its own diverse and distinct architecture, which makes management difficult. The solution to reducing complexity and eliminating the need for highly skilled and siloed IT teams is VMware Telco Cloud Operations.
VMware Telco Cloud provides multi-layer, end-to-end visibility so administrators can easily keep tabs on network and service layers through a single pane of glass. Consistent deployment and management across multi-cloud environments allows network teams to operate and manage multiple vendors, networks and resources through one control panel. Simplicity and visibility, again, saves time for IT teams and allows them to dedicate their effort toward the most important component of business failure or success: the customer experience.
Team up with VMware
The 5G era is not without its challenges, but with the proper support, CSPs can thrive and make the most of the latest generation in broadband innovation. While organizations deploy from core to RAN to edge, they turn to VMware as their preferred choice for digital transformation as detailed in the above. Learn more about VMware Telco solutions to determine if VMware is the right partner for your enterprise.