On May 10, 2022, FutureNet World announced that VMware’s Telco Cloud Automation won the “Orchestration Award” for the “most innovative automated service orchestration solution.” VMware was one of seven companies nominated for the award—the recognition comes after years of developing Telco Cloud Automation’s orchestration capabilities. In this blog, we describe VMware Telco Cloud Automation’s evolution as an orchestrator and highlight how its award-winning, cross-domain orchestration capabilities—particularly with service chaining and network slicing orchestration—can unlock new revenues and reduce costs for Service Providers.
What is VMware Telco Cloud Automation?
VMware began its journey with Telco Cloud Automation in 2016 by assessing the market, listening to customers and launching as an orchestrator, initially, to address 4G deployments and VNF management. Our findings were twofold: first, Service Providers must implement orchestration and automation as soon as possible to improve efficiency and ensure readiness for modern cloud network innovations. Second, most of the management and orchestration (MANO) solutions on the market were designed around telco vendors’ vantage points with traditional drawbacks such as vendor lock-in and heavy integration costs. These solutions all shared a fundamental flaw: none have fully taken advantage of the cloud’s capabilities over time, nor have they tapped into possibilities associated with multi-cloud deployments. To address these pain-points, VMware applied its cloud expertise and proposed a new “cloud-smart” approach to orchestration—a strategy that abstracted much of the cloud complexities and exposed the new multi-cloud ecosystem through standard telco interfaces (i.e., ETSI and TMF). The pith of this approach was VMware’s ability to build native integrations at each layer and to continuously synchronize the south-bound infrastructure stack (i.e., VIM/CaaS/IaaS) with the upper service and application management stack (i.e., NFVO/xNFM/EMS/SOM/xAPPs/rAPPs).
Today, VMware Telco Cloud Automation serves as a centralized, multi-domain, multi-cloud and multi-layer orchestration platform. It orchestrates and automates the lifecycle management (LCM) operations for each layer of the Telco Cloud, including the virtual infrastructure (i.e., compute, networking, storage), the CaaS management, multi-vendor network functions, network services and network slices across domains (i.e., core, edge and RAN) and distributed sites (see Figure 1 below).
VMware Telco Cloud Automation’s centralized management provides visibility and collects fault and performance indicators of the registered clouds and instantiated software. This information, coupled with automated Day 1 and 2 operations (i.e., healing, scaling, etc.), enables closed-loop action for issue remediation.
An additional aspect of any multi-domain orchestration solution is its ability to evolve in a multi-cloud, multivendor ecosystem. As an infrastructure provider for many years, VMware has a robust group of network function partners certified on its technology. As part of Telco Cloud Automation’s efforts, many of these partners now integrate their VNFs and CNFs to both automation and infrastructure layers of the telco cloud. This ecosystem allows Service Providers to accelerate the deployment of their network functions and limits the risks associated with interoperability.
Services Chaining Orchestration
Importantly for the cost-conscious, yet innovative, Service Provider, VMware Telco Cloud Automation orchestrates services chaining and network service lifecycle management. Telco Cloud Automation offers a designer to either onboard network services artifacts or to design templates for new ones, enabling Service Providers or vendors to design custom automation workflows through an easy-to-use designer. The system allows chaining of network functions and is designed to fit available network resources to service requirements—automatically customizing the underlying Kubernetes clusters/nodes and infrastructure to suit the service software needs, promoting efficient network resource allocation and improved SLA adherence.
Network Slicing Orchestration
VMware Telco Cloud Automation also supports 3GPP standard-compliant Network Slicing management, enabling users to plan, design, instantiate and orchestrate end-to-end network slices across the RAN, edge, core and transport network domains. Telco Cloud Automation’s cross-domain orchestration enables Service Providers to unify these domains and close the gap between the endpoint consumed services and the required network resources, from physical or cloud infrastructure. Telco Cloud Automation offers CSMF, NSMF and NSSMF components of network slicing in addition to VMware Telco Cloud Automation current modules. VMware Telco Cloud Automation’s support for network slicing orchestration bolsters a Service Providers’ ability to offer use case-dedicated slices and opens new avenues for 5G-based revenues.
Innovation through VMware Telco Cloud Automation’s Pre-Built Integrations
Unlike most orchestrators, Telco Cloud Automation is designed with a product approach instead of a traditional integration-intensive one—improving network agility and service delivery. Telco Cloud Automation is built with infrastructure pre-integrations into other VMware products, like VMware’s Telco Cloud Platform. As such, a Service Provider adopting Telco Cloud Automation as their orchestrator will save valuable time and resources when leveraging other VMware products (as opposed to a Service Provider utilizing a third-party orchestrator that lacks the necessary pre-built integrations). A Service Provider using Telco Cloud Automation can, moreover, leverage 250+ pre-certified, multi-vendor network functions through the VMware Ready for Telco Cloud program. Other Telco Cloud Automation interfaces are, moreover, compliant with industry standards, including ETSI, 3GPP, TMF and O-RAN, which simplifies the system integration within the broader OSS/BSS and the telco network ecosystem. In short, while Telco Cloud Automation is a robust, standalone orchestrator, it also enables a Service Provider to save resources and offer network services rapidly through its extensive, pre-built integrations with the Telco Cloud Platform stack and certified VNFs/CNFs.
Telco Cloud Automation’s cross-domain orchestration delivers network slicing, network service management, network function management, CaaS Automation and Infrastructure Automation for the core, RAN and edge domains. It also integrates with the transport domain to provide a complete automation platform for distributed, hybrid, and multi-cloud network resources. VMware’s Telco Cloud Automation, grounded as an orchestrator for 4G deployments and VNF management, also extends support for CNFs and 5G services—ultimately allowing Service Providers at any stage of development to run a cost-effective, revenue-generating network.
To learn more about VMware Telco Cloud Automation, please visit our website.