- Telcos have already committed to the virtualisation of network functions.
- Rather than virtual machines (Vms), containers are utilised with a cloud-native approach.
- Developers can use containers to package and isolate applications with their entire runtime environment.
According to Red Hat senior director of sales, Asia Pacific region (telecommunications) Ben Panic, most telcos have already committed to the virtualisation of network functions. This has paved the way for most companies to break free from hardware dependencies in vertically integrated infrastructure. However, new 5G and edge services are generally based on open software on open standards-based hardware.
“Network planning, management, and orchestration become more efficient and resource productivity increases when the same cloud environment is extended across RAN, core and other functions,” said Panic. “IT development and operations teams can modernise OSS and BSS platforms to be cloud-native, improving scalability and flexibility and simplifying integration with other systems.”
Rather than virtual machines (Vms), containers are utilised with a cloud-native approach. These containers provide a way to virtualise an OS, enabling multiple workloads to run on a single OS instance. For this reason, developers can use containers to package and isolate applications with their entire runtime environment, making it easy to move the contained application between various environments, such as the development, test, and production environments.
“Vodafone Idea [is] seeing huge savings from a Capex and Opex perspective in their network,” he said. “Not only [is it] excited about the savings that it can generate there, but it's really about the automation that has come into the network. And that's where the provisioning of service in the core used to take months, from planning, provisioning and execution perspective, and now they're able to realise that in days.”
“18 months ago there were a handful of people in the APAC region that we're looking at and now I struggle to think of one that isn't looking at the technology,” he further added.
Skills Currently In-Demand
“ANZ operators are certainly looking towards this because they're going to need to rescale and retrain their people,” Panic said. “Operationalising a horizontal telco cloud is something that requires a lot of planning and thought and then there's the systems beside it like the automation, the OSS.”
“We encourage our customers to look for opportunities inside their network where they might have something going end of life, or an application that is not so sensitive...begin with those and give yourself an easier entree into containerising some of the network functions and really give the people an opportunity to skill up and retrain,” he then said.
“There is a skill set in the IT side of the house, and really, it's how do you bring that together with the network side,” he said. “Rakuten has done a really good job of that because they didn't have a legacy structure so they have a common engineering team and they don't even view it as a network. It's just cloud.”