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.
- 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.