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:
- Telco Cloud Automation – Webpage
- Telco Cloud Automation – Datasheet
- Telco Cloud Automation – Overview Video
- Telco Cloud Automation – VMworld 2020 On-Demand Sessions
- Extreme Automation for Modern Telco Cloud Networks (TLCG2760)
- Dive Into 5G Automated Multi-Cloud Service Delivery (TLCG2761)
- Transforming 5G Economics with an Automated Telco Cloud (TLCG2637)
- Telco Cloud Automation – Prior Release Overview Post
- Register to a session to know more about Telco Cloud Automation