Today I am happy to announce the next step in the evolution of the VMware Ready for Telco Cloud program. As the telecommunication industry evolves toward cloud-native network functions, so is our award-winning certification program. Last year we added a robust automation and orchestration component to the program called VMware Telco Cloud Automation. This development allowed us to expand our validation and interoperability work with network equipment partners while adding support for the creation of robust packaging and automation.
Now, the Ready for Telco Cloud program not only delivers interoperability validation with public certifications, but also provides a set of automation artifacts that could allow our customers to deploy network functions and build services in hours instead of weeks.
Why Automation Is Crucial for the Success of the Modern Telco Cloud
Communications Service Providers (CSPs) want to build out their 5G networks by choosing best-of-breed components from multiple vendors. The same CSPs want to mix network functions from various vendors not only in the core, but across their networks, including at the edge and the radio access network. Strategically, CSPs seek to avoid vendor lock-in to minimize risks and improve flexibility so they can adapt to a changing marketplace.
Within this multi-vendor path to 5G, two critical shifts will shape telecommunication systems for years to come: a need for improved automation and the migration of network functions to a cloud-native architecture.
Both these changes continue the industry trajectory from the software-defined data center and software-defined networking toward cloud-native technology. The standards for 5G point toward a cloud-native future. This direction is mirrored by CSPs’ strategic plans to disaggregate their 5G core and train their staff for a cloud-native future.
In this context, though, challenges remain. How will the CSP recoup revenue to cover the costs associated with radios and spectrum for 5G? More than $80 billion has been invested in 5G spectrum in a recent U.S. auction alone, and some CSPs are shedding non-essential assets to help cover those costs or to focus on 5G. In May, for instance, Verizon sold Yahoo and AOL in a $5 billion deal.
The speed with which you can roll out 5G networks and services is paramount to the financial success of our telco customers. At the same time, however, risks need to be minimized. A single stack to facilitate “just-get-to-market” goals seems attractive at first, yet such an approach heightens long-term risk, slows down innovation, deprioritizes the flexibility of an open platform, and results in hard-to-manage silos, which in turn increase operational complexity and cost.
Common Digital Foundation and a Validated Multi-Vendor Ecosystem
A multi-vendor approach to rolling out 5G makes economic and operational sense for the following reasons:
- Minimize deployment risk – if a 5G component is challenged, you can replace it with a different component from a different vendor
- Improve the agility to adapt to changing market conditions
- Support the roll out of innovative 5G services
- Reduce operational costs and complexity
The ways to achieve these business outcomes are:
- Step 1 – Ensure you are evolving your current environment toward cloud native by adding a Containers as a Service (CaaS) layer and retaining your operational standards augmented with cloud-native practices.
- Step 2 – Identify a robust and multi-vendor automation tool that can handle life cycle operations for your entire ecosystem on your platform.
- Step 3 – Use network function automation as an “app store.” No network function or service should be allowed to be installed or maintained manually. The days of the CLI are over — using the CLI increases the likelihood of errors, loosens accountability, and complicates recovery and rollback. Your automation platform becomes the point in your network where your operational standards are enforced.
- Step 4 – Select network function suppliers that conform to your platform and automation of choice. Any time you make an exception, be aware that your operational costs will likely increase.
VMware Telco Cloud Platform provides a consistent horizontal platform for deploying, managing, automating, and optimizing virtual network functions (VNFs) and cloud-native network functions (CNFs).
This is not the end of the story. VMware Telco Cloud Platform enables CSPs to tap into our broad ecosystem of VNFs and CNFs from a multitude of partners. The VMware Ready for Telco Cloud program tests and certifies the readiness and interoperability of partner VNFs and CNFs with VMware Telco Cloud platform.
By using validated network functions from the VMware Ready for Telco Cloud program on VMware Telco Cloud Platform, our CSP customers can quickly onboard and deploy multi-vendor VNFs and CNFs to save time, money, and integration work. The program delivers choice, automation, agility, and reliability to help CSPs accelerate their 5G deployments, maximize the value of their solutions, benefit from cloud-native technology, and simplify their telecommunications networks.
Check Out the Catalog of Certified Network Functions and Services
The software development and delivery models for telecommunications networks are evolving to become more collaborative, significantly faster, and more automated. We are committed to supporting our customers in their journey and are more than happy to share the extensive experience we have in the area with our partners.
We see a logical progression in the way we engage with our telco partners:
- Ensure that the network function is interoperable with the fundamental cloud platform
- Automate deployment and lifecycle operations
The program strives to accelerate the adaptation of software-based network functions, move in the direction of a cloud-native future, and elevate 5G innovation.
Check out the VMware Ready for Telco Cloud catalog of certified network functions and services.