The Forecast is for Increasing Clouds

The Forecast is for Increasing Clouds

Cell tower with clouds

The cloud is getting its due in recent 5G news.  In our most recent post, we talked about the announcements of partnerships between the Big 3 in cloud and their spate of partnerships with mobile network operators (MNOs).  This brings the cloud platforms right into the mix for edge computing which is a major enabler of new 5G services as well a source of service revenue directly. Moreover, this can be the infrastructure for MNOs to run their virtualized infrastructure as well. This has been on our minds as we had a call with Jennifer Clark of Omdia/Heavy Reading to prep for our September 10 webinar, Leveraging the Cloud in the New 5G Edge. Jennifer is going to share some great insights on provider’s plans from her research.

We took note of the recent announcement that Telefónica Germany/O2 would build its 5G core network as well as 5G network functions for new industry solutions in the cloud. In proof of concept, they will use Amazon Web Services’ cloud infrastructure to virtualize its 5G core.

AWS is not the only cloud giant active in bringing 5G to the cloud. Microsoft, the number 2 player in cloud, acquired Affirmed Networks this year and Affirmed’s CEO noted that Affirmed’s virtual evolved packet core will allow any mobile operator to move its core network functions and compute workloads to Microsoft Azure’s public cloud. He referred to this as “mobile core as-a-service” on the Azure cloud platform. Oracle said it plans to sell 4G and 5G core network services to mobile operators running inside Oracle’s cloud and would be available “as a service,” meaning operators will be able to pay only for what they need on a recurring basis.

We are big believers in the benefits of the cloud to telco generally and 5G networks in particular.  It allows the operator to scale the resources needed for processor intensive functions like the routing control plane. Cloud native has become a catch phrase that many vendors use, but Volta actually uses containers running in the cloud.  Containers enhance stability and reliability and the cloud makes it easy to ensure redundancy and fault tolerance.

The cloud is a great way to enable router virtualization as well. Initially RAN sharing and later network slicing are much easier with multiple virtual routers on a single device. In fact, the Volta Elastic Virtual Routing Engine (VEVRE) is the only product that can deliver multiple virtual routers on an ASIC based switch.

Our approach is open in two senses.  First, VEVRE can work with any open network device or ASIC based white box switch, an approach known as disaggregation. Second, we are standards based so we interoperate with all other routers in the network. Unlike those legacy routers, our platform has complete visibility and enables management, automation and programmability though our APIs. Having all of the control planes running in the cloud greatly reduces operations costs.

Disaggregated, open and cloud-based. Let us know if that sounds good to you.