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Telco Bits & Bytes – 20 August 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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Telco Bits & Bytes – 25 June 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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Getting ready for the 5G transformation with VMware Ready for Telco Cloud

Today, we are announcing another milestone in our support for communications service providers (CSPs) as they transition to a software-defined telco cloud. We are enhancing our award-winning VMware Ready for NFV program by including interoperability and readiness for VMware Telco Cloud Automation.

The addition of VMware Telco Cloud Automation into the program further accelerates the ability of CSPs to deploy software-based workloads on the VMware Telco Cloud platform. In order to reflect this expanded scope, we are renaming the program to VMware Ready for Telco Cloud. The original Ready for NFV certification will become Ready for Telco Cloud Infrastructure while the new certification level for VMware Telco Cloud Automation is called Ready for Telco Cloud.

As the telecommunication industry continues its migration to 5G, there are two critical shifts occurring that will shape the industry for years to come: a need for improved automation and the migration of network functions to a cloud native architecture. The expanded scope of the VMware Ready for Telco Cloud program reflects VMware’s commitment to supporting our carrier service provider customers as they engage with these shifts. The new certification level, VMware Ready for Telco Cloud, introduces our telco partner ecosystem to VMware’s multi-cloud and standards-based automation and orchestration product, aptly called VMware Telco Cloud Automation. A partner Network Function successfully completing this level of certification has demonstrated its support for a more automated deployment and operations.

The updated program offers two paths for partners by introducing two levels of certifications:

The Ready for Telco Cloud Infrastructure certification identifies virtual network functions that have been proven to interoperate with the core infrastructure layers of the VMware Telco Cloud, as referenced by the ETSI-compliant VMware vCloud NFV Reference Architecture. The focus of this certification level is on compatibility with the virtualized infrastructure manager (VIM) as well as compatibility with the other core components: VMware vSphere for virtualized compute, NSX for virtualized networking, and vSAN for virtualized storage. The fully automated program is available at no-cost to VMware partners, both in the VMware on-premise certification lab as well as in the VMware cloud as self-certification.

The second and new level of certification is called Ready for Telco Cloud. The certification additionally ensures that network functions are ready for deployment and lifecycle operations through VMware Telco Cloud Automation. In this level, the VMware team collaborates with partners to create an ETSI-compliant descriptor as well as a workflow, resource and commissioning artifact for a validated and tested Cloud Service Archive (CSAR). The built-in generic VNF Manager (gVNFM) function within VMware Telco Cloud Automation and the network function designer are central elements in this tier. This higher-level certification is available at the Ready for Telco Cloud lab on the VMware premises and includes the VMware Ready for Telco Cloud Infrastructure certification as a prerequisite.

The following diagram illustrates the path from the Ready for Telco Cloud Infrastructure certification to the Ready for Telco Cloud certification level:

 

The telecommunication industry has been on a journey toward software-based network functions that will leverage cloud-native architecture and design. Eventually, software development and delivery models will evolve 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:

  1. Ensure that the network function is interoperable with the fundamental cloud platform
  2. Automate the deployment and lifecycle operations

As containerized network functions become available, we will continue supporting our ecosystem. We see full alignment between suppliers and customers: we all want to accelerate the adaptation of software-based network functions, increase components integration, and elevate innovation. This is why the VMware Ready for Telco Cloud has embraced automation, cloud labs, and a continued evolution.

Connect with us: To certify a network function through the VMware Ready for Telco Cloud program, reach out to us at TelcoCloudCertification@vmware.com.

Telco Bits & Bytes – 16 April 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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Telco Bits & Bytes – 2 April 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

Technology Bytes

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Telco Bits & Bytes – 19 March 2020

Our regular roundup of the technology news that matters

Welcome to the first 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

Industry Bytes

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Open Works Here! Migrating Telco Providers and Partners to a Tried and True Multi-Cloud Ready Open Stack

Greetings from OpenStack Summit! We’re here this week to talk about the opportunities for OpenStack. Telcos and CSPs in particular have looked to OpenStack as the centerpiece of their virtualization and software-defined infrastructure strategy, which is needed as we move towards 5G, multi-access edge computing (MEC)/edge and IoT scenarios. Unfortunately, OpenStack has not quite realized its potential in this regard. Telcos trying to stand up OpenStack for their NFV deployments today face significant operational complexity, cost overruns and scaling challenges—inviting questions about the efficacy of their deployments and causing them to look for new ways to problem solve for OpenStack. Further complicating matters is the drive to a distributed architecture with cloud, core and edge computing, and the move toward modern application architectures in the mobile-cloud era.

VMware has embarked on a two-pronged approach to address the dire need to make OpenStack work:

  1. Deliver a robust OpenStack offering VMware Integrated OpenStack, that provides the best of OpenStack, yet fixes some of its key flaws, and
  2. Enable providers and partners to convert & migrate their VNFs to be able to take advantage of VMware Integrated OpenStack and vCloud NFV, leveraging VMware HCX.

VMware Integrated OpenStack: OpenStack That Works:

VMware is addressing the need for more effective OpenStack deployments head-on with a leading virtualization platform, allowing our system integrator partners to provide a unified framework across IT, network and edge for telcos worldwide. VIO is VMware’s answer to the challenges of operationalizing OpenStack—and customers using the VMware OpenStack migration service will automatically have access to VMware Integrated OpenStack. We released VMware Integrated OpenStack 5.1 today.

Key features include:

  • Queens-based OpenStack Distribution—take advantage of the latest upstream functionality using the most recent OpenStack release
  • Streamlined OpenStack Deployment—quickly deploy a standard OpenStack on top of VMware SDDC. Perform upgrades with minimal disruption. This results in accelerated time to revenue.
  • Best-of-Breed Infrastructure—take advantage of advanced enterprise and cloud features and capabilities delivered by VMware vSphere, VMware NSX and VMware vSAN, including better security, high availability, simplified maintenance and disaster recovery.
  • Integrated Operations and Management—Out-of-the-box vRealize Operations, vRealize Log Insight and vRealize Automation integrations for streamlined operations such as health checks, troubleshooting and capacity management, as well as governance and control with user management, role-based access control (RBAC), quotas and more.
  • VMware Integrated OpenStack “in a box”—build small-footprint, highly-resilient micro data centers based on VMware Integrated OpenStack and have full control over these micro data centers and apps via automated, API driven orchestration and lifecycle management.

HCX – OpenStack Migration Services:

We talked about how VMware Integrated OpenStack significantly solves some of the critical issues above. But how do we get to the desired state? To help with this change, we’re introducing new migration services to enable customers to move from alternative OpenStack deployments to VMware Integrated OpenStack. We welcome providers and partners to contact us regarding early engagements with VMware to leverage such migration services.

 

The migration service leverages VMware HCX technology, which provides a seamless way to migrate workloads across private, hybrid and public clouds. HCX now additionally can convert OpenStack VMs running on KVM to migrate and run on VMware Integrated OpenStack. For telcos and CSPs, this capability now creates a common foundation across their IT, B2B, and NFV environments (the telco cloud). Additionally, it also connects these telco clouds to private, public, hybrid and edge environments. Thus, for the first time, we can have a unified architecture across IT, cloud tech (CT), network tech (NT) and edge tech (ET), accelerating the journey to 5G, edge/MEC, and IoT use cases.

 

“VMware has made a breakthrough in OpenStack production readiness—no question,” said John Antonio, CSO of IDX, a VMware partner. “Telcos and CSPs have struggled with making OpenStack work effectively in their environments, and instead of abandoning their investment, they can now work with VMware to benefit from their “PRODUCTION READY” legacy and entirely managed migration of their OpenStack deployments. VMware has the virtualization chops and the right mix of traditional and new technology to effectively serve these customers and enable them to make the most of OpenStack.”

By providing a dependable OpenStack solution that includes a robust stack, and a migration service to get there, VMware is taking the complexity out of OpenStack to enable customers to capture value from their existing deployments. Finally, there will be an OpenStack that can work for carriers and CSPs at scale.

For more information on VMware’s OpenStack migration managed service, please visit booth B14 at OpenStack Summit in Berlin.

 

 

VMWare & Intel – Partnering for 5G Success

By Gabriele Di Piazza, Vice President Solution Telco NFV at VMware

I joined the Telco Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) group at VMware just over a year ago. During that time, I have seen significant, industry advancements around software driven architectures, commercial solutions and more robust customer deployments.

NFV is not just a transformative technology; it is a foundational technology in the sense that it will provide the foundation on which communication service providers (CSPs) move from monolithic, inflexible networks towards software-driven, agile networks with built-in technological and operational intelligence. And, this digital transformation cannot come soon enough.

As access to the Internet becomes ubiquitous around the globe and the proliferation of digital services, sensors and networks continues to skyrocket exponentially, CSPs are constantly challenged to maintain and build network infrastructure to support the scale and bandwidth requirements. These network demands will only become more acute with the imminent arrival of 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Beyond bandwidth, CSPs and their profit margins face increased competition from over the top (OTT) providers. OTT providers are generating revenue from high margin services on top of telco networks. Meanwhile, traditional CoSPs are still monetizing only basic voice and data services and increasingly struggle to differentiate their own services.

As an industry, continuing to maintain and support traditional network infrastructure can collectively cost CSPs trillions of dollars. NFV provides an opportunity for CSPs to rethink network infrastructure and to leverage a software-driven architecture to support a cloud-based digital world. By transforming to NFV, CSPs can benefit from major OPEX and CAPEX cost savings. The new, software-driven architecture gives CSPs the ability to accelerate the market introduction of new and personalized services, which can contribute to new revenue and improved customer experiences, while making more efficient use of network resources, which provides CAPEX savings.

VMware continues to grow its NFV business, bringing its expertise and success in the IT industry to the network side. With more than 90 NFV deployments by more than 50 CSPs serving 350 million subscribers worldwide, VMware vCloud NFV simplifies network operations, accelerates service innovation and delivery and reduces costs. Organizations can use the vCloud NFV platform to deploy a multi-vendor, multi-function NFV platform that delivers service automation, secure multi-tenancy, operations management and carrier grade reliability. VMware has created a true marketplace for customers to build new services based on best-in-class virtual network functions. Today, the VMware ecosystem includes 30 virtual network functions (VNF) from 23 vendors that are certified as VMware Ready for NFV. By deploying the vCloud NFV platform, CSP customers can build, provision and sell new services in days instead of months, positively influencing customer quality of experience, and significantly improve OPEX and CAPEX.

A key part of our ability to provide our customers NFV solutions with carrier-grade performance is our partnership with Intel. Leveraging Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, the next-generation platforms for cloud-optimized, 5G-ready networks, VMware is able to provide better performance to CSPs. With an open architecture that efficiently scales and adapts to handle the demands of emerging applications, the platform provides a future-ready foundation for agile networks.

The Intel Xeon Scalable processors operate with cloud economics, and support the rapid and secure delivery of enhanced services enabled by 5G, including autonomous driving and augmented reality. With the convergence of key workloads such as applications and services, control plane processing, high-performance packet processing and signal processing onto industry-standard Intel Xeon Scalable processor platforms, CSPs can accelerate their transition to a virtualized, software-defined infrastructure.

Tests performed by Intel have shown up to 4.2x greater VM density. With the integrated, Intel Xeon Scalable processors, vCloud NFV supports native drivers that deliver improved throughput and performance. This increase is due to the removal of the previously required translation layer. This advancement creates a framework for greater agility and lower total cost of ownership and provides a stable foundation for software defined initiatives that utilize vCloud NFV.

Intel and VMware are jointly innovating to advance NFV solutions. One of the key challenges of NFV is the ease of onboarding virtual network functions (VNFs). Earlier this year at Mobile World Congress 2017, our companies announced a critical new initiative to accelerate the adoption of telecom services over virtualized infrastructure. Together, Intel and VMware developed a set of web based tools that make generating basic TOSCA (Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications) blueprints as simple as filling out a web form.

By building portable TOSCA templates and using management and orchestration (MANO) solutions that support TOSCA, VNF onboarding becomes agnostic to both MANO and the virtualized infrastructure manager (VIM) vendor. This advancement reduces the time, cost and risk for onboarding new VNFs, and accelerates speed-to-market for new services.

Moving forward, Intel and VMware will continue to partner to advance NFV solutions and enable CSPs to drive rapid service deployment. Together, the companies provide CSPs in the 5G-enabled world with the NFV solutions to support extreme levels of scalability, agility, programmability and security across an ever-growing volume and variety of networking workloads—from the network core to the edge.

It is both necessary and urgent that CSPs transform purpose-built, fixed function networks in order to implement new business models, drive faster innovation and meet enterprise and consumer service level expectations in the 5G era. The transition to a new generation of open networks, based on flexible and optimized industry-standard servers and virtualized and orchestrated network services, is the essential first step. For more information visit: www.vmware.com/go/nfv

This blog was first posted on Intel® Network Builders Social Hub

MNOs come out fighting: the great industry come-back

Doing nothing is not an option

There’s a groundswell of chatter and opinion-sharing about the pressures swirling around the network; perfect storm formations of connected things, smarter devices, and 5th generation mobile networks. For a long time, we’ve been able to feel 5G in the air.

It would be a mistake to do nothing in the light of these trends. MNOs cannot take refuge in established mainstream subscriber services, and simply offer more competitive rates. Analysis Mason’s predictions for the telecoms, media and technology sectors 2017 features digital experience as the third big thing in its top ten predictions: “Network operators will increasingly use digital experience initiatives to appeal to digital natives.”

Fourth on the same list is a suggestion that “an increase in the volume of mobile video traffic will lead network operators to invest in virtualized video delivery and traffic management solutions.”

In a recent blog – Monetizing the network: operators’ new models – my colleague addressed the ‘dumb pipe’ syndrome. He suggested that only by meeting new subscriber demand for more sophisticated services could operators expect to retain and build business. Meeting this demand requires an honest reassessment of how fit the business is, in its current format, to accommodate new demands subscribers are making on their service providers.

It can be done. All is far from doom and gloom. Focus is important; leaving the past behind and turning the business on its axis. Everything is getting smart. Once upon a time it was just the mobile phone. Now connected cars are well on their way and wearables are gaining pace of adoption and consumer popularity. Deloitte’s 2017 Telecommunications Industry Outlook observes:

…”wearables such as smart watches and fitness bands have seen tremendous percentage growth. Smartwatch penetration doubled from 2014 to 2015 and tripled in 2016; smartwatches have now penetrated roughly 12 percent of the mobile consumer market in the US.”

Market dynamics

One is tempted to wonder which type of organization stands most to benefit from network-dependent new technologies, such as the Digital Assistant. Will disruptors continue to cannibalize the market? History suggests that they will, unless market dynamics change.

Past incursions such as Skype, WhatsApp, and Facebook have established an evolutionary pattern – the fittest are surviving and thriving. These OTT service providers are delivering exciting and relevant services that customers are finding to be more useful and engaging than traditional services. What’s more, they are delivering these services through the pipes built by the MNOs.

Look no further than this year’s CES, where Amazon’s Alexa stole the show and is already being incorporated in products from LG, Lenovo, GE and even Ford, the latter putting it into cars.

If these significant recent trends are anything to go by it is easy to imagine that these organizations, and others like them, are already planning their service propositions to meet IoT and its potentially limitless manifestations.

Claim your share

Here’s some advice that has stood the test of time ever since Fleetwood Mac released Rumours, back in 1977:

Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow, Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,

It’ll be, better than before, Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.

Tomorrow will only be better than before for MNOs if they take such advice and start obsessing about tomorrow. Any five-years out view, based on offering network services as they are today, is simply not realistic. ‘Better than before’ is not a right. It has to be claimed.

Here’s what KPMG had to say last year about tomorrow for the ‘traditional telco’:“(it) will struggle to survive beyond the next decade …unless it embraces the opportunity presented by digital.” [1]

A need to adapt is clearly emerging as a theme in just about every blog and pronouncement you read nowadays. Everybody agrees that the fittest will survive and I was delighted to note another observation from KPMG that largely concurred with my own long-held views:

“Their (Telcos’) first challenge must be to shift the prevailing business mind-set from one focused on engineering to one focused on the customer. There remains a legacy culture in some Telcos in which the customer is a secondary consideration to engineering.” [2]

The new battleground

My colleague talked about the need for agility in provisioning new services in a blog ‘MNOs might never be the same again’. Legacy network infrastructures, or – more to the point – the legacy style of thinking that goes with them, are highly suspect as foundations for competitive agility in the future. Customer focus will be the new battleground – requiring new thinking and a new, agile approach to network technologies that permit speed of response and dynamic services provision.

Video, picked out in Analysis Mason’s predictions, is but one area to prepare for. IoT will be soon upon us. MNOs need to be ready to meet the demands of the modern customer. Providing digital services and great customer experiences is necessary to win. The most important thing is to recognize the need for change now. It will all soon be here. A transition to software-driven architecture, providing the agility and flexibility that a changing world craves, can be made in such a way as to retain many of the robust and still valuable capabilities derived from existing investments.

How realistic is it to move swiftly to a customer-centric business mind-set? I’d welcome your views on the great MNO come-back, particularly with regards to the people skills you think are most likely to make it possible and how those skills can be deployed.

Don’t miss the VMware NFV activities at Mobile World Congress 2017!

MWC-bannerVisit VMware at Stand K10, Hall 3.

VMware will be hosting a range of activities and things to do at this year’s Mobile World Congress; from an experiential demonstration of a 5G world, through to IoT and the connected car . See how VMware is not only helping service providers generate value today, but is shaping the future of NFV!

Below is a summary of the main activities for your event planner…

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