Swiss network operator Swisscom have announced a proof-of-concept (PoC) collaboration with Ericsson 5G SA Core running on AWS. The objective is to explore hybrid cloud use cases with AWS, beginning with 5G core applications. The plan is for more applications to then gradually be added as the trial continues. With each cloud strategy (private, public, hybrid, multi) bringing its own drivers and challenges the idea here seems to be enabling the operator to take advantage of the specific characteristics of both hybrid and public cloud.
The PoC reconfirms Swisscom and Ericsson’s view of the potential hybrid cloud has as a complement to existing private cloud infrastructure. Both Swisscom and Ericsson are on a common journey with AWS to explore how use cases can benefit telecom operators.
The PoC will examine use cases that take advantage of the particular characteristics of hybrid and public cloud. In particular, the flexibility and elasticity it can offer to customers which can mean deployment efficiencies for use cases where capacity is not constantly needed. An example of this could be when maintenance activities are undertaken in Swisscom’s private cloud, or when there are traffic peaks, AWS can be used to offload and complement the private cloud.
Swisscom had already been collaborating with AWS on migrating its 5G infrastructure towards standalone 5G. In addition, it has also used the hyperscaler’s public cloud platform for its IT environments. Telco concerns linger [1.] around the use of public cloud in telecoms infrastructure (especially the core networks) for some operators, hybrid cloud is seemingly gaining momentum as a transitional approach.
Note 1. Telco concerns over public cloud:
- In a recent survey by Telecoms.com more than four in five industry respondents feared security concerns over running telco applications in the public cloud, including 37% who find it hard to make the business case for public cloud as private cloud remains vital in addressing security issues. This also means that any efficiency gains are offset by the IT environment and the network running over two cloud types.
- Many in the industry also fear vendor lock-in and lack of orchestration from public cloud providers. Around a third of industry experts from the same survey find it a compelling reason not to embrace and move workloads to the public cloud unless applications can run on all versions of public cloud and are portable among cloud vendors.
- There’s also a lack of interoperability and interconnectedness with public clouds. The services of different public cloud vendors are indeed not interconnected nor interoperable for the same types of workloads. This concern is one of the drivers to avoid public cloud, according to some network operators.
–>PLEASE SEE THE COMMENT ON THIS TOPIC IN THE BOX BELOW THE ARTICLE.
Mark Düsener, Executive Vice President Mobile Network & Services at Swisscom, says: “By bringing the Ericsson 5G Core onto AWS we will substantially change the way our networks will be built and operated. The elasticity of the cloud in combination with a new magnitude in automatization will support us in delivering even better quality more efficiently over time. In order to shape this new concept, we as Swisscom believe strategic and deep partnerships like the ones we have with Ericsson and AWS are the key for success.”
Monica Zethzon, Head of Solution Area Core Networks, Ericsson says: “5G innovation requires deep collaboration to create the foundations necessary for new and evolving use cases. This Proof-of-Concept project with Swisscom and AWS is about opening up the routes to innovation by using hybrid cloud’s flexible combination of private and public cloud resources. It demonstrates that through partnership, we can deliver a hybrid cloud solution which meets strict telecoms industry requirements and security while making best use of HCP agility and cloud economy of scale.”
Fabio Cerone, General Manager AWS Telco EMEA at AWS, says: “With this move, Swisscom is opening the door to cloud native networks, delivering full automation and elasticity at scale, with the ability to innovate faster and make 5G impactful to their customers. We are committed to working closely with partners, such as Ericsson, to explore new use cases and strategies that best support the needs of customers like Swisscom.”
“How to deploy software in different cloud environments – at a high level, it is hard making that work in practice,” said Per Narvinger, the head of Ericsson’s cloud software and services unit. “You have hyperscalers with their offering and groups trying to standardize and people trying to do it their own way. There needs to be harmonization of what is wanted.”
AWS Telco Network Builder: managed network automation service to deploy, run, and scale telco networks on AWS
Omdia and Ericsson on telco transitioning to cloud native network functions (CNFs) and 5G SA core networks
In addition to Telco Network Builder, AWS today announced its Integrated Private Wireless that acts as an infrastructure bridge for network operators that want to offer a private network service tapping into AWS’ infrastructure to end users. This allows AWS to connect incoming customers interested in a private network platform with the #1 cloud service provider’s telecom partners.
“We are really just connecting the customer with the telco, then that relationship is between the two of them,” said Jan Hofmeyr,VP of Amazon EC2. Initial telecom partners include Deutsche Telekom, KDDI, Orange, T-Mobile US, and Telefónica. Enterprise customers shopping for private wireless services will be able to purchase an installation from one of those participating operators. “The relationship is directly between the customer and the telco,” Hofmeyr said, noting that the resulting private wireless network will then run atop the AWS cloud.
Hofmeyr said that AWS’ goal is to provide customers with an easy set of options that will allow them to deploy or operate a private network in a manner that meets their needs and abilities. “Right now this is their ask, [it’s] helping us make this onboarding easier, and that’s exactly what we’re focusing on. In the future, we’ll continue to listen to what their needs are and continue to support that,” Hofmeyr added.
This new private network offering is different from AWS’ Private 5G platform that it initially unveiled in late 2021, and has since updated. That platform integrates small cell radio units, AWS’ Outposts servers, a 5G core, and radio access network (RAN) software running on AWS-managed hardware. AWS also handles the spectrum management of this service.
AWS will act as the portal, but telcos will be the managed service providers for the network on behalf of those enterprises or smaller service providers, the company said. As with the telco network builder, AWS will provide a dashboard for monitoring performance and modifying it as needed.
“That’s one of the friction points we saw as we started looking at the private network space,” said Ishwar Parulkar, chief technologist for the telco industry at AWS, in an interview. “There are a lot of enterprise customers who really don’t care about all of this. They just want to be able to use the network and run some applications on top. That’s one of the primary values that we bring with this: lifting that undifferentiated work away from them and managing it in the cloud.”
For Amazon, telcos represent a prime business opportunity: as carriers build new networks with increasing reliance on software and cloud services, Amazon is positioning itself as a tech and cloud partner to help run those services better and more cheaply. It’s been interesting to watch how it has worked to build trust among a group of businesses that have at times been very wary of big tech and the threat of being reduced to “dumb pipes” as tech companies lean on their own architecture and technology advances to build faster and cheaper services that compete directly with what carriers have and plan to roll out. As one example, the company is clear to call these new products “offerings” and not services to make clear that it is not the managed service provider, the carriers’ role.
“We’ve been on this journey for a few years now in terms of really getting the cloud to run telco networks,” said Parulkar. “Our goal here is to make AWS the best place to host 5g networks for both public and private. And on that journey, we’ve been making steady progress.”
For carriers, they are now in a world where arguably communications is just another tech service, so many of them believe that running them with less costs and in more flexible ways will be the key to winning more business, introducing more services and getting better margins. Whether carriers want to wholesale work closer with Amazon, or with any of the cloud providers, for such services, will be the big question.
Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) today announced the general availability of AWS Telco Network Builder, a fully managed service that helps customers deploy, run, and scale telco networks on AWS. Now, communications service providers (CSPs) can use their familiar telecom industry standard language to describe the details of their network (e.g., connection points, networking requirements, compute needs, and geographical distribution) in a template uploaded to the service.
AWS Telco Network Builder translates the template into a cloud-based network architecture and provisions the necessary AWS infrastructure, shortening the deployment of an operational, cloud-configured telco network from days to hours. As customers update their networks, AWS Telco Network Builder automatically adjusts compute and storage resources, allowing CSPs to focus on business operations and deliver new services.
AWS Telco Network Builder provides a centralized dashboard to monitor and manage the network running on AWS infrastructure – whether on premises or in AWS Regions. There are no upfront commitments or fees to use AWS Telco Network Builder, and customers pay only for the AWS services used to manage their network.
CSPs want to take advantage of the cloud’s performance, elasticity, and scale to build modern telco networks that support emerging use cases like smart cities, autonomous vehicles, and robotics. However, designing and scaling a telco network in the cloud can be a laborious, time-intensive process due to the iterative nature and breadth of network use cases, such as business support systems, mobile core, and radio networks. CSPs must first deploy and securely interconnect hundreds of specialized network functions (NFs)—containerized network appliances, like routers and firewalls—across dozens of vendors and thousands of locations, often hardcoding the infrastructure’s parameters when replicating across deployment locations.
Once the NFs are deployed, the CSP must update each NF individually to incorporate new software capabilities or make configuration changes, which is time-consuming work that strains resources. Building and running the network also requires skilled network architects with experience in cloud design and management. Additionally, CSPs must often purchase, setup, and maintain separate monitoring tools to observe the health of their on-premises and cloud-based infrastructures, making it challenging to obtain a complete view of their networks and address issues. As a result, CSPs can sometimes allocate too many resources to the undifferentiated heavy lifting of network management instead of focusing on innovating new experiences.
AWS Telco Network Builder is a fully managed network automation service that enables CSPs to deploy, run, and scale their telco networks on AWS faster and more easily. To start, a CSP populates their network architecture (e.g., routing requirements, location of deployment, specific NFs) as a template in the service’s console using telecom industry standard language, making it intuitive and easy to begin. AWS Telco Network Builder translates the customer’s network specifications into a cloud-based network architecture, streamlining programming requirements across multiple software vendors and accounting for the network’s geographic footprint. AWS Telco Network Builder automatically maps the provided topology to network services, provisions the necessary compute and storage resources, and connects the NFs to create an operational telco network. Customers can then reuse the uploaded templates to replicate that network architecture in new regions. As customers change their network configuration or run software updates, AWS Telco Network Builder handles lifecycle management for the NFs, performs updates to the NFs, and adjusts related infrastructure.
AWS Telco Network Builder is being sold to both public and private network operators, including those with existing network operations as well as those launching new networks.
Jan Hofmeyr, VP of Amazon EC2 said telcos those network functions in the format that telecom network operators have can continue to run their networks in the way they have in the past, even as they shift network functions into the AWS cloud. “It’s really an attempt to make it easier for them,” Hofmeyr said of the new product. “It doesn’t require them to be cloud experts on day one.”
Together, AWS Telco Network Builder and Amazon CloudWatch provide a comprehensive view of the NFs and AWS infrastructure, so customers can efficiently monitor and manage their networks to identify and remediate issues more quickly. AWS Telco Network Builder also integrates with popular third-party, end-to-end orchestrators for CSPs to maintain continuity across existing telco network operations and business systems. With AWS Telco Network Builder, customers only pay for the AWS products and services they use, so they can quickly scale their network based on business requirements.
“The telecom industry is undergoing a transformation as CSPs navigate building their telco networks in the cloud,” said Jan Hofmeyr, vice president of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). “Some of the biggest challenges CSPs face as they look to migrate include manually configuring and then managing these complex networks, which impedes growth and stifles innovation. Groundbreaking in the value it provides to the telecom industry, AWS Telco Network Builder removes the burden of translating a customer’s desired telco network into a cloud architecture, empowering them to easily modernize and quickly scale to meet demand while freeing time and capital to build new offerings, expand coverage, and refocus on invention.”
AWS Telco Network Builder is generally available today in U.S. East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Sydney), Europe (Frankfurt), and Europe (Paris), and with availability in additional AWS Regions coming soon.
Amdocs is a leading provider of software and services to communications and media companies. “The current era of 5G cloud-based networks creates an opportunity for communications service providers to deliver accelerated value at unparalleled scale and efficiency,” said Anthony Goonetilleke, group president at Amdocs Technology. “Amdocs Intelligent Networking Suite takes advantage of AWS Telco Network Builder’s support of telecom interfaces to simplify service and network orchestration while bringing agility to network planning, deployment and operations.”
Cloudify is an open source, multi-cloud orchestration platform that packages infrastructure, networking, and existing automation tools into self-service environments. “We’ve observed the challenges the industry faces in bridging the gap between applications and cloud environments,” said Nati Shalom, CTO and founder of Cloudify. “Our work with AWS Telco Network Builder will help communications service providers more easily manage their network services by automating network planning, deployment, and operations activities using standard DevOps and IT service management tools. We are excited to use AWS Telco Network Builder to simplify the orchestration of network workloads using standard European Telecommunications Standards Institute-based interfaces.”
Infosys is a global leader in next-generation digital services and consulting. “The cloud’s scalability and efficiency are key to enabling innovation and reducing the complexity of managing telco network operations, which arms us with the tools to deliver new services for our end users continuously,” said Anand Swaminathan, executive vice president and global industry leader – Communications, Media, and Technology at Infosys. “As we look to build and operate cloud-based networks for our clients with Infosys Cobalt, we are excited to leverage AWS Telco Network Builder to increase the operational efficiency of mobile and private networks, ultimately enabling a streamlined operational model across Multi-G technologies.”
Mavenir is a network software provider building the future of networks with leading 4G, 5G, Core, and IP Multimedia Subsystem cloud-native software. “Managing 4G, 5G, Core, and IP Multimedia Subsystem networks is complex. Often these networks are distributed across the edge continuum,” said Bejoy Pankajakshan, chief strategy officer at Mavenir. “AWS Telco Network Builder allows us to create repeatable network templates that speed up the definition, provisioning, deployment, and upgrading of network services for our customers. The collaboration between Mavenir and AWS offers customers flexibility and agility in the deployment of network functions, furthering us toward our goal of building a single, software-based automated network.”
O2 Telefónica is a leading telecommunications provider in Germany, with around 47 million mobile telephone lines and 2.3 million broadband lines. “As we transition our telco network to the cloud, we strive to achieve greater operational simplicity while accelerating the roll-out of our network and services,” said Bas Hendrikx, head of Cloud Center of Excellence at O2 Telefónica. “We are exploring AWS Telco Network Builder to enable us to leverage automation to deliver new 5G network services faster and manage our networks more efficiently. At O2 Telefónica, we are committed to shaping digital change that benefits everyone, and our investments in building cloud-native networks and using AWS services help to provide greater value and performance to our customers.”
Dish Network in the U.S., Swisscom in Switzerland, and Spark in New Zealand are among the operators that have agreed to put their 5G SA core network functions into the AWS cloud.
To learn more, visit aws.amazon.com/tnb
In an AWS re-Invent Leadership session titled “AWS Wherever You Need It,” [1.] Wayne Duso, vice president of engineering and product at AWS, expressed similar goals. “Today, customers want to use AWS services in a growing range of applications, operating wherever they want, whenever they require. And they’re striving to do so to deliver the best possible customer experience they can, regardless of where their customers or users happen to be located. One way AWS helps customers accomplish this is by bringing the AWS value to our regions, to metro areas, to on-premises, and to the furthest and evolving edge.”
Note 1. You can watch the 1 hour “AWS Wherever You Need It” session here (top right).
“We’re helping customers by providing the same experience from cloud to on-prem to the evolving edge, regardless of where your application may need to reside,” Duso explained. “AWS is enabling customers to use the same infrastructure, services and tools to accomplish that. And we do that by providing a continuum of consistent cloud-scale services that allow you to operate seamlessly across this range of environments.”
Duso explained how AWS is enabling edge computing by adding capabilities for mobile and IoT devices. “There are more than 14 billion smart devices in the world today. And it’s often in things we think about, like wristwatches, cameras, cellphones and speakers,” he said.
“But more often, it’s the stuff that you don’t see every day powering industries of all types and for all types of customers.” Duso cited the example of Hilcorp, a leading energy producer, which is using smart devices to monitor the health of its wells, optimize production and proactively predict failures so it can minimize capital expenditures.
With IoT devices becoming common among energy providers, edge computing is on the rise to handle the volume of data these devices generate. “Now, AWS IoT provides a deep and broad set of services and partner solutions to make it really simple to build secure, managed and scalable IoT applications,” Duso added.
Duso pointed to Couchbase as a use case for flexible AWS services: “Couchbase is a non-SQL database company that uses AWS hybrid edge services such as Local Zones, Wavelength, Outposts and the Snow Family to deploy its applications and highly scalable, reliable and performant environments to reduce latency by over 18 percent for its customers.” Each of these AWS managed services enables Couchbase to move data from the edge to the cloud or manage and process it where it’s generated.
“What we built on these AWS compute environments was a highly distributed, managed or self-managed database,” Duso explained. “For the cloud, an internet gateway for accessing that data securely over the web and synchronizing that data down to the edge. And that works across cloud, edge and on the offline, first-compute environments.”
“Our goal is I want to make AWS the best place to run 5G networks. That is the overarching objective. How can I make AWS, whether we are running it in the region, in a Local Zone, on an Outposts, on a Snow device, how do we make it the best place to run a 5G network, and then provide that infrastructure.”
AWS’ 5G network efforts include a cloud architecture that can support an operator’s 5G SA core network and applications, similar to what AWS is doing with greenfield U.S. wireless network operator Dish Network. Sidd Chenumolu, VP of technology development and network services at Dish Network, recently explained that the wireless carrier’s 5G core network was using three of AWS’ four public regions, was deployed in “multiple availability zones and almost all the Local Zones, but most were deployed with Nokia applications across AWS around the country.”
AWS is also working with Verizon to support a part of that carrier’s public MEC system. This includes use of AWS’ Outposts and Wavelengths, the latter of which AWS recently expanded in the United Kingdom with Vodafone.
Hofmeyr continued, “I think you have a spectrum (of different wireless carrier networks), from the total greenfields like what we did with Dish to the large tier-ones. The one thing that’s common across the board is the desire to modernize and become more cloud-like. That is common. Everyone wants that. Each one has a very unique job. There’s not one way that they all are executing in the same way. They’re taking this one workload and then building, so all of them are focusing on different workloads in the network and put it in the cloud.”
In conclusion Hofmeyr said, “I think all over the edge we find these use cases for which purpose-built systems were designed to handle that. And our goal is how do you make that available in the cloud.”
In yet another tie-up between telcos and cloud computing giants, Bell Canada is the first Canadian network operator to launch multi-access edge computing (MEC) services using Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) Wavelength platform.
Building on Bell’s agreement with AWS, announced last year, together the two companies are deploying AWS Wavelength Zones throughout the country at the edge of Bell’s 5G network starting in Toronto.
The Bell Canada Public MEC service embeds AWS compute and software defined storage capabilities at the edge of Bell’s 5G network.
The Wavelength technology is then tied into AWS cloud regions that host the applications. This moves access closer to the end user or device to lower latency and increase performance for services such as real-time visual data processing, augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR), artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), and advanced robotics.
Source: Bell Canada
“Because that link between the application and the edge device is a completely controllable link – it doesn’t involve the internet, doesn’t involve these multiple hops of the traffic to reach the application – it allows us to have a very particular controlled link that can give you different quality of service,” explained George Elissaios, director and GM for EC2 Core Product Management at AWS, during a briefing call with analysts.
Network infrastructure is the backbone for Canadian businesses today as they innovate and advance in the digital age. Organizations across retail, transportation, manufacturing, media & entertainment and more can unlock new growth opportunities with 5G and MEC to be more agile, drive efficiency, and transform customer experiences.
Optimized for MEC applications, AWS Wavelength deployed on service providers’ 5G networks provides seamless access to cloud services running in AWS Regions. By doing so, AWS Wavelength minimizes the latency and network hops required to connect from a 5G device to an application hosted on AWS. AWS Wavelength is now available in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, South Korea, and Japan in partnership with global communications service providers.
Creating an immersive shopping experience with Bell Canada 5G:
Increasingly, retailers want to offer omni-channel shopping experiences so that consumers can access products, offers, and support services on the channels, platforms, and devices they prefer. For instance, there’s a growing appetite for online shopping to replicate the in store experience – particularly for apparel retailers. These kinds of experiences require seamless connectivity so that customers can easily and immediately pick up on a channel after they leave another channel to continue the experience. These experiences also must be optimized for high-quality viewing and interactivity.
Rudsak worked with Bell and AWS to deploy Summit Tech’s immersive shopping platform, Odience, to offer its customers an immersive and seamless virtual shopping experience with live sales associates and the ability to see merchandise up close. With 360-degree cameras at its pop-up locations and launch events, Rudsak customers can browse the racks and view a new product line via their smartphones or VR headsets from either the comfort of their own home or while on the go. To find out more, please click here.
Bell Canada Public MEC with AWS Wavelength is now available in the Toronto area, with additional Wavelength Zones to be deployed in the future. To find out more, please visit: Bell.ca/publicmec
AWS currently has Wavelength customers (see References below) in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, South Korea, Japan, and now Canada. It also has deals with Verizon, Vodafone, SK Telecom, and Dish Network.
Bell Canada explained that the service is targeted at enterprise customers. It will initially offer services to enterprises in Toronto, with expansion planned into other major Canadian markets.
“We’re excited to partner with AWS to bring together Bell’s 5G network leadership with the world’s leading cloud and AWS’ robust portfolio of compute and storage services. With general availability of AWS Wavelength Zones on Canada’s fastest network, it becomes possible for businesses to tap into all-new capabilities, reaching new markets and serving customers in exciting new ways. With our help, customers are thinking bigger, innovating faster and pushing boundaries like never before. Our team of experts are with customers every step of the way on their digital transformation journey. With our ongoing investments in supporting emerging MEC use cases, coupled with our end-to-end security built into our 5G network, we are able to give Canadian businesses a platform to innovate, harness the power of 5G and drive competitiveness for their businesses.”
– Jeremy Wubs, Senior Vice President of Product, Marketing and Professional Services, Bell Business Markets
“AWS Wavelength brings the power of the world’s leading cloud to the edge of 5G networks so that customers like Rudsak, Tiny Mile and Drone Delivery Canada can build highly performant applications that transform consumers’ experiences. We are particularly excited about our deep collaboration with Bell as it accelerates innovation across Canada, by offering access to 5G edge technology to the whole AWS ecosystem of partners and customers. This enables any enterprise or developer with an AWS account to power new kinds of mobile applications that require ultra-low latencies, massive bandwidth, and high speeds.”
– George Elissaios, Director and General Manager, EC2 Core Product Management, AWS
“With Bell’s Public MEC and AWS Wavelength we are able to offer new, fully immersive shopping experiences to our customers. Shoppers can virtually explore our new arrivals and interact in real-time with our staff and industry experts during interactive events and pop-ups. Thanks to the hard work, support and expertise of Bell, AWS and Summit Tech, we were able to successfully deliver our first immersive/interactive shopping event with the quality, innovation and excellence that our brand is known for.”
– Evik Asatoorian, President and Founder, Rudsak
“Canadian organizations across all industries are transforming their workflows by harnessing the power of new technologies to launch new products and services. In fact, 85% of Canadian businesses are already using the Internet of Things (IoT). In order to maximize the benefits of cloud computing, intelligent endpoints and AI, while adding emerging technologies like 5G, we need to modernize our digital infrastructure to embrace multi-access edge computing (MEC). Modernized edge computing interconnects core, cloud and diverse edge sites, enabling CIOs and business leaders to optimize their architectures to resolve technical challenges around latency, bandwidth and compute power, financial concerns about cloud ingress/egress and compute costs as well as governance issues such as regulatory compliance without losing advanced features like machine learning, AI and analytics. MEC offers the possibility of deploying modernized, cloud-like resources everywhere to support the ability to extract value from data.”
– Nigel Wallis, Research VP, Canadian Industries and IoT, IDC Canada
- Bell is the first Canadian telecommunications company to offer AWS-powered public MEC to business customers
- First AWS Wavelength Zone to launch in the Toronto region, with additional locations in Canada to follow
- Apparel retailer Rudsak among the first to leverage Bell Public MEC with AWS Wavelength to deliver an immersive virtual shopping experience
Bell is Canada’s largest communications company, providing advanced broadband wireless, TV, Internet, media and business communication services throughout the country. Founded in Montréal in 1880, Bell is wholly owned by BCE Inc. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca or BCE.ca.
On the heels of announcing the AWS 5G Private network earlier this week, the world’s largest tech conglomerate described another new blockbuster network service. AWS Cloud WAN is a managed wide area networking (WAN) service that simplifies the way enterprise end users build, manage, and monitor a global network that connects resources running across Amazon’s cloud and on-premises environments.
With Cloud WAN, customers use a central dashboard (the AWS portal) and network policies to create a global network that spans multiple geographically dispersed locations and networks—eliminating the need to configure and manage different networks individually using different technologies. Network policies can be used to specify which of the customer’s Amazon Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) and on-premises locations you wish to connect through AWS VPN or third-party software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) products. The Cloud WAN central dashboard generates a complete view of the network to monitor network health, security, and performance.
Cloud WAN automatically creates a global network across AWS Regions using Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) so customers can easily exchange routes around the world.
Like all AWS services, Cloud WAN is designed to be managed through the AWS portal, which has become a single point to manage the “full stack” of AWS services – from the network through application. Through the console, IT professionals can configure connections to all company locations including branches, data centers, headquarter locations as well as Amazon Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) though a graphical interface.
Businesses will connect into the network through a VPN or a direct connect (private line) for the “last mile” and then will have access to the global AWS network. AWS customers have been using the network already for setting up transit gateways or cloud connection, but this can now be extended to some or all of the corporate network.
“Imagine you’re a large global company with dozens of manufacturing sites round the world… — you need to connect them all to AWS,” Amazon CTO Werner Vogels said during his re:Invent keynote address. Cloud WAN “actually builds it for you in minutes using the big AWS backbone for you, to give you a highly reliable, highly available, software-defined wide area network running over AWS infrastructure,” Vogels added.
Source: Amazon blog post on Cloud WAN
Cloud WAN is available in ten AWS Regions in Public Preview; US East (Northern Virginia), US West (Northern California), Africa (Cape Town), Asia Pacific (Mumbai), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Sydney), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), Europe (Ireland), Europe (Frankfurt), and South America (São Paulo).
Cloud WAN will have a consumption-based pricing model. The Cloud-WAN site shows there are three pricing factors – the number of cloud network edge (CNE) locations deployed, the number of attachments to each CNE and data processing charges for traffic sent through each CNE. This is a new type of pricing model for telecom services and may result in customers paying less than they do now. That’s because the current telco industry pricing is based on a flat fee up to a certain data traffic capacity and then an “over-charge” for additional data transmitted over the network.
AWS has been working with industry leading partners at the launch of Cloud WAN. Here are some of the things they have been doing and saying:
- Aviatrix – blog post >>
- Cisco Systems – announcement >>
- Fortinet – blog post >>
- Prosimo – quick start guide >>
- VMware – blog post >>
- Aruba – blog post >>
- Alkira – blog post >>
- Intercloud – blog post >>
- DXC Technologies – blog post >>
Source: Amazon blog post on Cloud WAN
Analysis by Zeus Kerravala of ZK Research:
The rise of distributed clouds, combined with containers and microservices is making workloads and applications much more ephemeral in nature requiring connectivity that is equally ephemeral. Legacy networks are not nearly dynamic enough to meet the needs of a business running modernized clouds, so AWS is building a service to change the network. While not known as a network provider, AWS has a very sophisticated network that’s highly available with per region fault isolation built into it and those benefits would be passed on to the customer.
The initial use case for a product like this would be for the customer to continue to use their existing telco network for the primary network and use AWS Cloud WAN for offload, backup connections or alternative paths. In this case, the telco networks would still be managed through the AWS console in a “bring your own carrier” model, making the console the single control point for the global network.
For telcos, this kind of “co-opetition” is new as many have a near monopoly in some regions, which is why this group of companies isn’t known for their innovation. It will be interesting to see how the network operators respond. I do know, now that AWS has jumped into networking, it will continue to deliver innovative features that improve network reliability, make it easier to operate and improves application performance. Some will embrace this, change their operating model and benefit from this. I suspect many won’t and will view AWS as a bigger threat.
While Cloud WAN may be negative to the service providers, it should be a positive for its SD-WAN partners, which include Aruba, Cisco, Palto Alto Networks and VMware. AWS told me it has no intention of getting into making SD-WAN appliances but would rather leverage partners. Customers will be able to manage these appliances through the AWS Console as well as the network services.