Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are competing to win a part of the U.S. federal government’s $7 billion cloud spending. The Biden administration’s IT push is going to create opportunity for the major cloud providers.
AWS still has the lead, but Microsoft is so popular one analyst called it an ‘agency’ of the Pentagon. Google is also ramping up its cloud management tool Anthos and betting on AI for defense contracts.
The federal government has been investing in cloud computing for years — starting with Obama’s Cloud First policy in 2010 all the way to Trump’s Cloud Smart strategy in 2018. But as the pandemic has accelerated the pace of technological adoption and change, the need for cloud has become even more acute, especially for federal agencies that don’t yet have it. Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus package included $10 billion for tech initiatives — underscoring their importance to the nation’s recovery — and signaling to government contractors that more federal dollars may be going their way. (Though the latest version of the package had much of that funding cut, lawmakers are actively seeking to add it back to future bills.)
Analysts estimate the federal government spent $6.6 billion on cloud in the 2020 fiscal year, an increase from $6.1 billion the previous year, and that number will grow.
Shawn McCarthy, research director for IDC government insights, told Insider he expected the federal government’s cloud spend to increase by 7.1% from fiscal year 2020 to 2021. Marquee contracts like the Department of Defense’s $10 billion deal with Microsoft to build the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud have drawn even more attention to the federal cloud market, which analysts say is an opportunity for Amazon, Microsoft, and Google to flex their strength.
The government needs their expertise in cloud computing and, increasingly, their support for emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and 5G.
Of the major cloud providers, analysts said that Amazon Web Services is considered the leader in the overall cloud market, and the same holds true in the public sector. But Microsoft has caught up in the federal market, especially with wins like the JEDI cloud contract, meanwhile Google is taking a different tack — betting on multi-cloud management and AI. Here’s a closer look at how the three big clouds stack up in the federal sector. Amazon has a huge head start, but it can’t be complacent Andy Jassy AWS CEO Andy Jassy, who is set to become Amazon CEO, helped oversee the cloud unit’s rise.
Mike Blake/Reuters Analysts agreed that Amazon is the one to beat in the public sector cloud market, just as it is within the larger industry. “AWS had the biggest lead out of the gate,” McCarthy said, and it has “an extremely deep bench of third-party providers that are available via their dedicated government solutions marketplace.” Amazon landed its first major deal with the government in 2013, when it won a $600 million contract to build a custom cloud for the CIA. At the time, cloud computing was considered less secure than local servers — yet the Amazon deal set a precedent, showing that Silicon Valley’s cloud innovation could fit the federal government’s needs, and led AWS to become the first commercial cloud authorized to house all levels of classified government data. But in 2019, the CIA issued a new cloud contract worth billions, and jointly awarded the deal to AWS, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, and IBM — signaling a shift away from its previous single-cloud approach, and ending intelligence agencies’ reliance on a sole Silicon Valley cloud giant.
In a sign of things to come, Amazon lost the JEDI cloud contract to Microsoft the same year. Though JEDI’s future remains in flux because of Amazon’s ongoing legal protest, analysts said it proved Microsoft’s ascendance in the sector. Read more: As Pentagon warns it could abandon its $10 billion JEDI cloud with Microsoft, analysts say AWS could benefit.
“I think last year was kind of characterized by Microsoft catching up to Amazon,” said Chris Cornillie, a federal market analyst at Bloomberg Government.
Microsoft caught up to AWS, thanks to its cloud software Scott Guthrie Scott Guthrie, Microsoft’s executive vice president of cloud and AI, oversees Azure and was once described by an analyst as a “cloud visionary.” Stephen Lam/Getty Images Analysts also agreed that Microsoft isn’t catching up to Amazon anymore — they’re nearly neck-and-neck in the federal market now. McCarthy said Microsoft succeeded “thanks to the popularity of Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Azure.” Microsoft 365 includes Office 365, the company’s line of productivity software, while Azure is its cloud computing service that more directly competes with AWS. Amazon doesn’t have a direct competitor to Microsoft 365, and focuses instead on its core infrastructure cloud platform. Cornillie told Insider Microsoft had done a good job of “leveling the playing field” with its JEDI win and a number of smart investments: working with OpenAI, linking up with Oracle for data interoperability, and a partnership with AT&T to facilitate 5G.
Last year, it launched new Azure Government cloud capabilities and announced it had achieved the highest authorization for handling sensitive government data, finally matching AWS. Within the Pentagon, which has the largest IT budget of any federal agency, one analyst said Microsoft is so entrenched that it has “basically become an agency of the Department of Defense.”
Microsoft 365 was chosen as the department’s sole software suite in a $4.4 billion deal called the Defense Enterprise Office Solutions (DEOS) contract, first awarded in 2019 and recently fast-tracked because of the pandemic. “Microsoft has really benefited in a lot of ways from the COVID-19 pandemic response effort,” Cornillie said, citing that it was also picked for a separate Pentagon initiative which rapidly deployed Microsoft Teams in the department’s Commercial Virtual Remote environment.
Microsoft 365 offers the company a convenient way to sell Azure cloud, plus other services like consulting and maintenance as a bundle, he said. And although the scope of Microsoft’s entanglement in the aftermath of the SolarWinds cyberattacks is still unfolding, analysts said it likely won’t suffer much reputational damage within the federal government.
Alex Rossino, a senior principal research analyst at government contracting research firm Deltek, told Insider that as the government increasingly pushes its security burden onto vendors, big cloud players will actually benefit. “The large cloud providers especially have the deep pockets to be able to make sure they provide the best kind of upgraded security,” he said.
“So I think that’s a selling point for them when it comes to the federal government; they can actually use the SolarWinds example as a way to say, ‘Well, look, we can make sure that doesn’t happen.'” Google is banking on AI and multi-cloud Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian at Google Cloud Next 2019 Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian has been credited with shoring up its enterprise business, and could help its play for government contracts. Insider Intelligence Though Google is still catching up to Amazon and Microsoft, and only recently spun up a large-scale dedicated government cloud, they are “a known entity and should become competitive,” said McCarthy.
Analysts also said Google is leveraging its strength in AI, a field the government is very interested in, and pushing Anthos, its tool for managing multiple clouds, to break into the federal market. Some big hires are evidence of this play: Cornillie said Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian, who has been running the unit with strategies inspired by his former employer Oracle, would help build up its enterprise business, while Joshua Marcuse, who heads the global public sector team and was recruited from the Defense Innovation Board (the Pentagon advisory board that was led by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt) would help with its AI push. Marcuse previously led development of the Pentagon’s ethics AI principles, though that approach has since been criticized by the AI community and former Google AI researcher Meredith Whittaker for lacking accountability. Google’s renewed interest in working with the Defense Department comes after it dropped out of bidding for the JEDI contract in 2018, following employee protests over a controversial AI project called Project Maven. Google is hoping for a fresh start under Biden, and the Pentagon is too.
Cornillie said Google now views its AI prowess as helping open the door to new cloud contracts — taking a “if you want AI capabilities out of the box, it works best in our cloud” approach. However, its ambitions are limited by the fact that it doesn’t hold all security certifications required by the sector, he said.
Bringing in Todd Schroeder from Salesforce to lead global public sector digital strategy was another “smart move,” Cornillie said. Schroeder has emphasized multi-cloud, open platforms, and AI as the future for federal cloud, which play to Google’s strengths. In 2019, Google introduced its Anthos product, which lets customers build and manage their applications across Google Cloud, AWS, and Microsoft Azure.
Banking on multi-cloud as the future (a reasonable bet, as the Department of Homeland Security just issued a $3.4 billion multi-cloud contract), Google is hoping its cloud management tool will become indispensable.
A new $3.4 billion DHS cloud contract could kick off a fierce battle between cloud giants like Amazon and Microsoft, analysts say. There are signs its product is sticking: Google has already done some pilots with Customs and Border Protection to optimize workloads across Azure, AWS, and Salesforce, Cornillie said, and the agency is now competing a large cloud migration contract that has Anthos’s multi-cloud management function explicitly written in.
IBM, Oracle, and smaller players are not to be discounted are IBM and Oracle, analysts said. They’ve also been steadily making progress, but “for reasons of security certifications and for reasons of the maturity of their tech, they’re still looking for niche components or niche contracts,” Cornillie said. “They haven’t been able to land any really big fish yet.”
Both companies bid for the JEDI contract, and both lodged formal protests after being eliminated from the running. But they haven’t given up on the market: Oracle made its Cloud Marketplace available for government customers to run software in its cloud in January, while IBM acquired open-source cloud provider Red Hat for $34 billion in 2018 — a move analysts at the time were excited by, saying IBM could make inroads as a hybrid cloud provider.
Rossino said smaller cloud players could enter the U.S. federal government’s cloud market by providing cloud management services:
“If they have capabilities that allow for the automation of cloud management, that’s really important too,” he said. But still, it’s a strategy borne of necessity rather than creativity. “The Microsoft’s, Amazon’s, they’ve already locked up the infrastructure market. There’s almost excess capacity out there,” he added.
Telus Selects Google Cloud in 10 year Deal:
Google Cloud on Tuesday announced a new, 10-year strategic partnership with Telus, the Canadian telecommunications company. The two companies plan on collaborating on new services and products for a handful of key industries, including healthcare, agriculture, security and connected home. Telus also plans to modernize its own IT and network with the help of the Google Cloud Platform.
It’s the latest deal to showcase Google’s efforts to cultivate more cloud business within the telecom sector. Last year, Google outlined a multi-pronged pitch to the telecommunications industry that includes industry-specific solutions like Anthos for Telecom.
Together, Google and Telus plan to develop services and products that use AI to better leverage data within specific verticals. For instance, a couple areas of focus include new collaboration solutions for healthcare providers, as well as supply chain traceability tools for the food and agriculture sector.
Meanwhile, Telus’ own wireless and wireline services will get an upgrade as part of the deal. Leveraging Anthos, Google Cloud’s managed application platform, Google will partner with Telus to deliver 5G services and Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC). Telus also plans on using Google Cloud Contact Center AI to upgrade its customer service.
“Our strategic partnership with Google will propel our digital leadership across the communications technology, healthcare and agriculture sectors, whilst amplifying our Customers First priority, redefining how service is delivered in Canada and globally,” Telus CEO and President Darren Entwistle said in a statement.
Oracle has expanded its hybrid cloud portfolio with Oracle Roving Edge Infrastructure, a new offering that brings core infrastructure services to the edge with Roving Edge Devices (REDs), namely ruggedized, portable and scalable server nodes. Using Oracle Roving Edge Infrastructure, organizations can run cloud workloads wherever they need them, even in remote locations. The new service is part of Oracle’s hybrid cloud portfolio.
The devices are effectively a mobile extension of a customer’s Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) environment. REDs can run as a single node or in clusters of five to 15 nodes. The hardware inside a RED device includes 40 CPUs, an Nvidia T4 GPU, 512 GB RAM and 61 TB of storage. The devices start at $160 per node per day.
With a RED device, a customer should be able to run cloud applications and workloads in the field, including machine learning inference, real-time data integration and replication, augmented analytics and query-intensive data warehouses.
A customer can order a RED from the Oracle Cloud console, provision it — adding VMs and object storage from the console — and have it shipped. Even in remote areas where connectivity is an issue, customers can use the RED to connect to local sensors and execute applications.
There are some clear use cases for the RED devices, such as in the oil and gas industry, where organizations may currently be relying on bespoke servers. And Oracle has already signed up the US military as an early customer.
The devices should also facilitate new use cases for cloud applications, Ross Brown, VP for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, said to ZDNet. Customers, he said, “are coming to us with things like 5G-connected applications where processing on local makes a lot of sense. This notion of high-speed data collection and high-speed data capture in a remote metro area, across a city or whatnot, these become good use cases for” the RED.
While Oracle’s cloud infrastructure business still trails far behind Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google, it’s picking up momentum. Oracle landed some major customers in 2020, including Zoom.
The database giant plans to catch up in the cloud in part by engineering hardware purpose-built for enterprise applications to run in the cloud — RED devices are an example of that, Brown said.
Last year, Oracle expanded its hybrid cloud portfolio with Dedicated Region Cloud@Customer — a fully-managed service brings all of Oracle’s public cloud services directly to a customer data center. Its hybrid offerings also include Oracle Exadata Cloud@Customer and Oracle VMware Cloud Solution.
The software company currently has 29 Oracle Cloud regions with plans to have 36 live by the mid-2021. They no longer talk about Sun Micro or the SPARC microprocessor that was supposed to give them a competitive edge.
Key themes for 2021 include:
- The COVID-19 pandemic and the move to remote work and video conferencing are accelerating moves to the cloud. Enterprises increasingly are seeing the cloud as a digital transformation engine as well as a technology that improves business continuity. As work was forced to go remote due to stay-at-home orders, tasks were largely done on cloud infrastructure. Collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams and Google Meet became cogs in the companies’ broader cloud ecosystem. Zoom not only lands subscription revenue, but also runs on cloud providers such as AWS and Oracle.
- Multicloud is both a selling point and an aspirational goal for enterprises. Companies are well aware of vendor lock-in and want to abstract their applications so they can be moved across clouds. The multicloud theme is being promoted among legacy vendors that have created platforms that can plug into multiple clouds — often with a heavy dose of VMware or Red Hat. (See: Multi-Cloud: Everything you need to know about the biggest trend in cloud computing and Multicloud deployments become go-to strategy as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud grab wallet share),
- The game is about data acquisition. The more corporate data that resides in a cloud the more sticky the customer is to the vendor. It’s no secret that cloud computing vendors are pitching enterprises on using their platforms to house data for everything from analytics to personalized experiences.
- Artificial intelligence, analytics, IoT, and edge computing will be differentiators among the top cloud service providers — as will serverless and managed services.
- Every flavor of cloud vendor wants to be a management layer to manage your other clouds. Public cloud vendors such as Google Cloud Platform and AWS have offerings to manage various cloud services. Traditional enterprise vendors such as Dell and HPE do too. Which platform becomes that “single pane of glass” for cloud management will be positioned well.
- Sales tactics that play to fear, uncertainty, and doubt will be the norm. Right around AWS re:Invent, there appeared to be a mindshare battle in the press as the big three sniped at each other across multiple industries. Google Cloud has been hiring executives to sell into industries and has ramped its Anthos hybrid cloud effort to close its AWS and Azure sales gap. (See: What is cloud computing? Everything you need to know)
- There’s a sales war happening by industry. Cloud providers are going vertical to corner industries. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant report on public cloud providers noted that the “capability gap between hyperscale cloud providers has begun to narrow; however, fierce competition for enterprise workloads extends to secondary markets worldwide.” Indeed, the financials from AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud have all been strong.
Hyperscale cloud operator capex topped $37 billion in Q3-2020, which easily set a new quarterly record for spending, according to Synergy Research Group (SRG). Total spending for the first three quarters of 2020 reached $99 billion, which was a 16% increase over the same period last year.
The top-four hyperscale spenders in the first three quarters of this year were Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook. Those four easily exceeded the spending by the rest of the hyperscale operators. The next biggest cloud spenders were Apple, Alibaba, Tencent, IBM, JD.com, Baidu, Oracle, and NTT.
SRG’s data found that capex growth was particularly strong across Amazon, Microsoft, Tencent and Alibaba while Apple’s spend dropped off sharply and Google’s also declined.
Much of the hyperscale capex goes towards building, expanding and equipping huge data centers, which grew in number to 573 at the end of Q3. The hyperscale data is based on analysis of the capex and data center footprint of 20 of the world’s major cloud and internet service firms, including the largest operators in IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, search, social networking and e-commerce. In aggregate these twenty companies generated revenues of over $1.1 trillion in the first three quarters of the year, up 15% from 2019.
“As expected the hyperscale operators are having little difficulty weathering the pandemic storm. Their revenues and capex have both grown by strong double-digit amounts this year and this has flowed down to strong growth in spending on data centers, up 18% from 2019,” said John Dinsdale, a Chief Analyst at Synergy Research Group. “They generate well over 80% of their revenues from cloud, digital services and online activities, all of which have seen COVID-19 related boosts. As these companies go from strength to strength they need an ever-larger footprint of data centers to support their rapidly expanding digital activities. This is good news for companies in the data center ecosystem who can ride along in the slipstream of the hyperscale operators.”
Separately, Google Cloud announced it is set to add three new ‘regions,’ which provide faster and more reliable services in targeted locations, to its global footprint. The new regions in Chile, Germany and Saudi Arabia will take the total to 27 for Google Cloud.
About Synergy Research Group:
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China Telecom claims it has launched what it says is the world’s largest 5G standalone (SA) network. Executives announced the start of commercial 5G SA operations during a company virtual conference last week and said their 5G SA network is currently supported by 30 devices, with 100 expected by year-end.
China Telecom’s 5G SA end-to-end capability testing with Tencent and Huawei was completed in September. Earlier in the week, China Telecom said it will offer 5G SA services to over 300 cities in China at a press event held with Qualcomm at Guangzhou, China.
Like all the other telcos on the path to 5G SA (only T-Mobile US has deployed it), China Telecom’s is said to be 5G SA is a cloud native network called the “Tianyi Cloud.” Company leaders said it’s 5G SA cloud network can guarantee “five-nines reliability,” secure network slicing and latency of below 5ms. In particular:
With the popularization of cloud computing, hybrid multi-cloud has become the new normal for cloud migration. It is just necessary to realize high-speed network interconnection and unified management between multi- clouds. The full-stack hybrid cloud launched by Tianyi Cloud realizes the same technical architecture of the underlying cloud platform and has no cloud capabilities. It extends and covers the deployment of three scenarios: edge, private cloud, and industry cloud. At the same time, it provides first-line multi-cloud capabilities, a dedicated line connects multiple mainstream public cloud service providers at the same time, and high-speed interconnection between public and private clouds can also be realized. In addition, it is worth mentioning that Tianyi Cloud’s full-stack hybrid cloud has been adapted to national production and production at the chip, hardware, and operating system levels, and has the ability to provide national production and service services.
The new generation of cloud-native database developed by Tianyi Cloud completely independently developed and technically tackled key problems. It successfully realized the de-IOE of China Telecom’s core IT system database. Telecom users and billion-level terminal equipment access. Through continuous upgrading and evolution, Tianyi Cloud’s new generation of cloud-native database has reached financial-level data security and high reliability, and has continuously broken through the limits of scale and performance, while being compatible with a complete database ecological chain, so as to meet customers’ diverse data service needs.
Also, China Telecom officially launched the “Cloud Terminal” plan at the event. Tianyi Cloud, as the base of the cloud terminal strategy, has independently created a cloud computer through computing in the cloud, data in the cloud, application in the cloud, security in the cloud, and imagination in the end mode. And cloud mobile phone products.
President and COO Li Zhengmao said the arrival of the 5G era provided the opportunity and the technical ability for the integration of cloud and the network.
In terms of 5G cloud integration, Hu Zhiqiang said:
“In the 5G era, cloud-network integration has entered a new realm. Cloud-network integration is the goal that Tianyi Cloud pursues.” On the one hand, Tianyi Cloud launched an intelligent edge video cloud to break through the bottleneck of ultra-high-definition real-time encoding technology. At the same time, it has real-time scheduling capabilities of millions of video streams. On the other hand, 5G is a cloud-based network. Tianyi Cloud provides 99.999% reliability guarantee and exclusive slice data security, achieving a comprehensive TCO reduction of more than 90%, and a delay of less than 5ms.”
A white paper presented at last week’s event describes China Telecom’s cloud-network integration as driven by open sharing, open network capabilities, multi-network access 5G and SD-WAN support. The China Telecom paper said the company was a hybrid multi-cloud strategy, integrating Alibaba Cloud, Tencent Cloud, Huawei Cloud, AWS, Azure and others into its aggregation platform.
In conclusion, Hu Zhiqiang said: “China Telecom Tianyi Cloud will continue to strengthen technological innovation, strengthen open cooperation, and accelerate the construction of a digital China and a smart society, and make greater contributions with partners.”
“IBM Cloud® for Telecommunications provides the first high trust, unified hybrid architecture to address the fundamental transformation challenges facing telecommunications operators today.”
“We are excited to launch the IBM Cloud for Telecommunications – an open, hybrid cloud architecture designed to help telecommunications providers address the specific challenges of the highly-regulated industry: accelerating business transformation, enhancing digital client engagement and improving agility as they modernize their enterprise applications and infrastructure to unlock the power of 5G and edge,” IBM’s Howard Boville wrote in a blog post.
IBM is expanding its presence in the telecom market with a new ecosystem of 35+ partners to help communication service providers virtualize their networks. Companies such as Nokia, Samsung, Juniper Networks and Intel have agreed to help operators take advantage of the new IBM Cloud Satellite platform based on Red Hat OpenShift and deploy the IBM Cloud for Telecommunications services in the cloud, on premises or at the edge.
According to a recent IBV study, 60% of Communications Service Provider (CSP) leaders surveyed agree that they must virtualize their entire network across edge locations, but only half of them are prepared to virtualize in a cloud-native environment. Built on IBM Cloud Satellite, currently in beta, and leveraging Red Hat OpenShift, clients can deploy IBM Cloud services anywhere: on the cloud, on premises or at the edge, while addressing industry-specific requirements and data protection.
The IBM Telco Cloud platform integrates and extends IBM Edge Application Manager and IBM Telco Network Cloud Manager to help reduce network-related infrastructure costs, increase automation, speed deployment of next gen services, and deliver new consumer and enterprise value. The holistic hybrid cloud offering will be complemented by our ecosystem partners’ software and technology, and enable mission critical workloads to be managed consistently from the network core to the edge to position telecom providers to extract more value from their data while they drive innovation for their customers.
Ecosystems fuel platforms, and because the IBM Cloud for Telecommunications is built on an open architecture, a large ecosystem of partners can enhance it with their own solutions in addition to providing services for it – and this is an important distinction. In order for clients to get our best technology with the most scale and flexibility at the start, we’ve built the IBM Cloud for Telecommunications using Red Hat OpenShift, and this strategy positions partners as the engine to drive a multitude of possibilities for clients.
The partners spans numerous categories, including network equipment providers, independent software vendors, software-as-a-service providers and hardware partners. Partners include Cisco, Adva, Enghouse, Dell, Equinix, Palo Alto Networks, Spirent, Altiostar and Affirmed Networks.
“We are happy to team up with IBM to develop 5G solutions at the telecom edge, with Red Hat OpenShift. We believe that our service provider customers will benefit greatly from having an additional choice to quickly and efficiently deploy private 5G networks,” said Jane Rygaard, Head of Edge Cloud, Nokia. “The transition to 5G will be a key step for industries to deliver on their digital transformation plans. Having multiple options of cloud-based solutions will help our industry build this path forward.”
“Samsung is committed to helping enterprises tackle the unique challenges of today’s market by utilizing the latest mobile innovations and advanced network solutions,” said KC Choi, EVP and Head of Global Mobile B2B Team, Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics. “We are excited to work with IBM and Red Hat to develop new user experiences for business based on transformative technologies like 5G, IoT and AI to help drive efficiency and streamline operations.”
“Cisco is excited to bring our industry leading compute, security, and Service Provider solutions to the IBM Cloud for Telecommunications,” said Keith Dyer, VP for IBM Strategic Alliance. “We are delighted to expand our 20+ year partnership with IBM and bring the power of our joint solutions to our mutual customers.”
IBM says their partner ecosystem will provide customers with a wide range of ways to leverage the platform to enable them to deliver next generation 5G and Edge services, deploy and manage new cloud capabilities, and enrich relationships through AI-driven engagement. Those committing to join our growing ecosystem are listed below alongside descriptions about how they are helping customers today, or how we expect to collaborate on IBM Cloud for Telecommunications:
- ADVA Optical Networking SE is contributing low latency 5G access and transport solutions, optical backbones, Network Function Virtualization (NFV), sync and timing, and disaggregated cell site gateways.
- Affirmed Networks, Inc. enables operators to transform the economics of deploying and scaling mobile networks with its complete portfolio of open, cloud-native, 5G solutions.
- Altiostar will provide 4G and 5G open virtualized RAN (Open vRAN) software that supports open interfaces and virtualizes the radio access baseband functions to build a disaggregated multi-vendor, web-scale, cloud-based mobile network.
- Altran, Part of Capgemini, provides 5G solutions (vRAN, Core, Transport, Edge platform & marketplace), advanced Edge applications for industries and deep 5G System Integration & Network Engineering expertise.
- Assima delivers powerful applications training at scale, leveraging its patented cloning technology to create immersive learner experiences.
- Cisco is providing security, compute and Service Provider solutions.
- Dell Technologies. An essential technology company in the data era, Dell Technologies is enabling Telecom network operators to extend their capabilities, moving beyond today’s connectivity to offer new enterprise services that will ignite broad industry innovations and create new revenue streams.
- Dubber’s Voice Intelligence Cloud plans to integrate and be interoperable with IBM Cloud for Telecommunications, to help enable providers to deliver next generation Unified Call Recording and Voice AI Services on one cloud platform.
- Enghouse Networks. Through IBM Cloud, Enghouse Networks offers Telecommunications service providers the ability to Plan, Design, Engineer, Provision, Operate, Monitor, Protect and simplify network complexity in a vendor-agnostic, hybrid cloud network environment.
- Equinix, Inc. plans to host the IBM Cloud for Telecommunications solution on its globally distributed automated bare metal platform.
- F5 Networks Inc. contributes traffic management, security for layers 2-7 and Kubernetes ingress control along with other virtual infrastructure solutions to enhance and support application services in the telco network cloud.
- Hewlett Packard Enterprise delivers a leading, comprehensive portfolio of cloud-enabled software, carrier-grade services, and open, secure infrastructure offerings to accelerate innovation for telco cloud and edge solutions.
- Intel brings a broad ecosystem, enabling new use cases and usage models from the edge to the cloud. Emphasizing an open-based and innovative approach helps to accelerate deployments that are built on Intel technologies with performance and security in mind.
- Juniper Networks Inc. Contrail is an end-to-end software-based network architecture delivering secure, consistent policy to applications regardless of their location and the physical underlay.
- Kaloom offers a fully programmable and automated cloud networking solution that is disrupting how edge and data center networks are built, managed and operated.
- Lenovo’s purpose-built edge servers and storage along with Lenovo’s infrastructure automation software (LOC-A) have been validated with IBM edge application manager to provide easy to consume edge infrastructure.
- Linux Foundation Networking (LFN) facilitates collaboration and operational excellence across open source networking projects
- MATRIXX Software provides a highly performant network application for charging and monetization of network resources.
- Mavenir helps wireless service providers with comprehensive end to end software applications that transforms their networks to run on the cloud.
- Metaswitch, a Microsoft company, provides cloud native IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) network functions that help enable the deployment of highly scalable rich communication services on Red Hat OpenShift.
- Movius provides mobile-unified communication software that enables frontline employees to securely communicate with their clients across compliant digital voice and messaging channels.
- NetApp, Inc. helps customers simplify the adoption and readiness of 5G by providing advanced data services to enable hybrid cloud environments that extend to the Edge, and by integrating these data services with container orchestration platforms such as OpenShift and IBM Cloud Pak solutions.
- NETSCOUT Systems provides visibility of digital services to prevent or resolve performance and security problems regardless of the technologies involved. We call it Visibility without Borders.
- Nokia and IBM plan to deploy a fully functioning cloud-based 5G network on the IBM Cloud infrastructure, designed to help service providers to quickly deploy and deliver private 5G solutions to their Enterprise customers
- Nuance Communications, Inc.’s enterprise solutions power over 31 billion intelligent customer interactions annually with cloud-native, AI-powered customer engagement technology to deliver industry-best digital, voice, and biometric security innovations.
- O-RAN ALLIANCE. As a member of the O-RAN ALLIANCE, IBM Cloud for Telecommunication will help to transform the radio access networks towards open, intelligent, virtualized and fully interoperable RAN.
- Palo Alto Networks, Inc. for Zero Trust 5G Security.
- Portworx by Pure Storage will provide a platform of complementary data services for data rich applications running on OpenShift on IBM Satellite, including high availability, data protection, data security, multi-cloud mobility and automated capacity management required to run enterprise applications in production.
- Red Hat will help enable the IBM Cloud for Telecommunication Ecosystem partners to run their solutions on Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat OpenStack Platform.
- Robin.io’s cloud-native solution for Telco provides end-to-end automation for the deployment, scaling, and lifecycle management of any data- or network-intensive applications – all the way from RAN, Core, Edge, and OSS/BSS on Kubernetes.
- Samsung, IBM, and Red Hat are collaborating to bring AI-driven solutions for clients transforming to Industry 4.0 and beyond by leveraging the power of secure 5G devices, cloud-native 5G networks, and advanced edge computing platforms.
- SevOne, a Turbonomic Company, delivers network performance management solutions with modern monitoring and analytics.
- Sinefa plans to provide Digital Experience Monitoring for remote workers and SD-WAN by leveraging the IBM Telco Cloud.
- Spirent delivers automated test and assurance solutions to accelerate the design, development and deployment of 5G, cloud and virtualized networks.
- THALES Cloud Licensing and Protection helps organizations protect their most sensitive data and software, secure the cloud and achieve compliance through advanced encryption, access management and software licensing solutions.
- TM Forum will be working with IBM Cloud for Telecommunication to help unlock the possibilities of 5G by enabling the industry to build self-sustaining networks
- Travelping accelerates the provision of mobile 2G to 5G Networks, the turnkey solutions to the Telecommunications, Automotive, IoT, Manufacturing, Energy, Financial Services, and Hospitality businesses.
- Turbonomic Application Resource Management (ARM) helps automatically assure applications get the resources they need to perform, no matter where they run or how they are architected.
- Zerto will integrate with IBM Cloud Satellite as an embedded solution providing data protection, disaster recovery and mobility solutions.
- Wipro will launch a solution suite built with IBM Edge Application Manager to help clients leverage 5G and Edge for enterprise use cases.
- HCL’s IBM Ecosystem Unit will help clients, including those in regulated industries such as telecommunications, to develop digital and cloud-native solutions with IBM Cloud Paks.
In the new world of cloud service providers (CSPs) taking over every aspect of communications, Microsoft Azure will now be used as the basis of what Barracuda calls “the first SD-WAN service built natively inside Azure Virtual WAN Hubs.” Those so called “hubs” are interconnected through Microsoft’s Global Network.
The new Barracuda CloudGen SD-WAN is a SaaS deployed directly from the Azure Marketplace for as many regions as needed and administered centrally in the CloudGen WAN portal for all office locations and remote endpoints. Since the Microsoft Global Network is automatically provisioned as the backbone for anywhere, anytime application access, service providers can create a pragmatic SASE platform in the public cloud tailored to their specific needs.
Illustration of Azure Virtual WAN from Microsoft (see reference below)
Microsoft says its Virtual WAN offers the following advantages:
- Integrated connectivity solutions in hub and spoke: Automate site-to-site configuration and connectivity between on-premises sites and an Azure hub.
- Automated spoke setup and configuration: Connect your virtual networks and workloads to the Azure hub seamlessly.
- Intuitive troubleshooting: You can see the end-to-end flow within Azure, and then use this information to take required actions.
Barracuda said that their CloudGen WAN architecture can replace costly, inflexible network connectivity circuits, and the entire network can be dynamically sized to match current traffic workload, which can optimize network performance and minimize cost.
“A cloud-first strategy asks for a different approach on connectivity,” said Leon Sevriens, program manager, IT at Humankind, a large organization in the Netherlands that offers daycare and after-school care, with over 3,000 employees and over 450 locations. “We have invested heavily in Microsoft Office 365 adoption across the organization, and traditional connectivity doesn’t fit the bill anymore. We need a solution that is focused on delivering application performance, not just ‘plain’ connectivity. That’s why we’re moving forward with Barracuda CloudGen WAN,” he added.
In the recent report “Secure SD-WAN: The Launch Pad into Cloud,” Barracuda found that SD-WAN is being used by more than half of those who have added security to their public cloud. As the report explains, “SD-WAN can help overcome the top two security challenges organizations are facing when it comes to public cloud: lack of access control and backhauling traffic.”
Cloud-native, secure SD-WAN:
The perimeter is changing, and organizations need to be ready to adapt. According to Gartner, “The enterprise perimeter is no longer a location; it is a set of dynamic edge capabilities delivered when needed as a service from the cloud.”1
Secure SD-WAN services built natively on the cloud combine ease of use, full security, and cloud-scalable SD-WAN connectivity to use the Microsoft Global Network as the WAN backbone instead of leased lines. The new Barracuda CloudGen WAN is a SaaS service deployed directly from the Azure Marketplace for as many regions as needed and administered centrally in the CloudGen WAN portal for all office locations and remote endpoints. Since the Microsoft Global Network is automatically provisioned as the backbone for anywhere, anytime application access, service providers can create a pragmatic SASE solution in the public cloud tailored to their specific needs.
“With an all-in-one, secure SD-WAN solution natively built on the public cloud network, enterprises can finally make the shift to more public cloud deployments, both faster and more securely,” said Hatem Naguib, COO at Barracuda. “We appreciate the relationship we have developed with Microsoft over the years and the close collaboration over many months to integrate Barracuda SD-WAN technology natively on Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN Hubs. We know this is the future of networking in the public cloud, and we’re excited to be on this forefront with Microsoft.”
Yousef Khalidi, Corporate Vice President, Azure Networking at Microsoft said, “Cloud-native, secure SD-WAN technology, like the new CloudGen WAN service from Barracuda, provides a fast, reliable, and direct path to Microsoft Azure. We’re pleased to collaborate with Barracuda for this new wave of faster public cloud adoption to help our joint customers optimize network performance.”
Opinion: The huge implication here is that the major cloud service providers (Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud) will be replacing traditional telco networks. In this case, it’s SD-WAN access and Microsoft’s WAN backbone, but in the future it will likely be 5G network access built mostly from software building blocks. Why else did Microsoft acquire Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch?
For an Amazon AWS executive’s take on this topic (“we’re partners with telco’s”) read this Light Reading piece.
Resources from Barracuda:
For more information about Barracuda CloudGen WAN, visit https://www.barracuda.com/products/cloudgenwan
Read the Barracuda blog post: http://cuda.co/40855
Read the Microsoft blog post from Yousef Khalidi: https://aka.ms/vwan-sdwan
Watch Reshmi Yandapalli’s session on “Use Azure networking services to accelerate, scale or re-architect your customer’s global network” for Microsoft Inspire: https://aka.ms/T4D193
Read the market report: https://www.barracuda.com/sdwan-report-2020
Find out Barracuda was recognized as a finalist for Commercial Marketplace 2020 Microsoft Partner of the Year: http://cuda.co/40853
1 Gartner, “The Future of Network Security Is in the Cloud”, Neil MacDonald, Lawrence Orans, Joe Skorupa, 30 August 2019.
Verizon Business and IBM are working together on 5G and edge computing innovation to help enable the future of “Industry 4.0.” The two companies plan to combine the high speed and (yet to be proven) low latency of Verizon’s 5G and Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) functionalities, IoT devices and sensors at the edge, and IBM’s expertise in AI, hybrid multi-cloud, edge computing, asset management and connected operations. These will be jointly offered with IBM’s Maximo Monitor with IBM Watson and advanced analytics. The combined products may help clients detect, locate, diagnose and respond to system anomalies, monitor asset health and help predict failures in near real-time. The first solutions to be aimed at helping improve industrial quality, availability and performance.
“Through this collaboration, we plan to build upon our longstanding relationship with Verizon to help industrial enterprises capitalize on joint solutions that are designed to be multi-cloud ready, secured and scalable, from the data center all the way out to the enterprise edge,” IBM’s Bob Lord, SVP of cognitive applications, blockchain and ecosystems, said in a press release from the companies.
“Through this collaboration, we plan to build upon our longstanding relationship with Verizon to help industrial enterprises capitalize on joint solutions that are designed to be multi-cloud ready, secured and scalable, from the data center all the way out to the enterprise edge.”
“This collaboration is all about enabling the future of industry in the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” said Tami Erwin, CEO, Verizon Business. “Combining the high speed and low latency of Verizon’s 5G UWB Network and MEC capabilities with IBM’s expertise in enterprise-grade AI and production automation can provide industrial innovation on a massive scale and can help companies increase automation, minimize waste, lower costs, and offer their own clients a better response time and customer experience.”
Image Credit: iStockphoto/LHG
IBM and Verizon said their first offerings would target “mobile asset tracking and management solutions,” and that, eventually, they hope to offer products for remote control robotics, real-time video analysis and plant automation. The two companies also plan to collaborate on potential joint solutions to address worker safety, predictive maintenance, product quality and production automation.
Many industrial enterprises are today seeking ways to use edge computing to accelerate access to near real-time, actionable insights into operations to improve productivity and reduce costs. To address industrial firms’ need for edge computing ways to accelerate access to near real-time insights into operations, the first products planned from this collaboration are mobile asset tracking and management products to help enterprises improve operations, optimise production quality, and help clients enhance worker safety.
IBM and Verizon are also working on potential combined products for 5G and MEC-enabled use cases such as near real-time cognitive automation for the industrial environment.
Verizon and IBM also plan to collaborate on potential joint products to address worker safety, predictive maintenance, product quality and production automation.
Light Reading’s Mike Dano had this comment:
For IBM, the announcement underscores its efforts to offer products and services in the edge computing marketplace, an area that’s becoming a key focus for a variety of businesses looking for speedy computing services via nearby or onsite facilities.
And for Verizon, the announcement adds further momentum to its 5G and edge computing ambitions. Company executives have long argued that the combination of 5G and edge computing has a wide range of enterprise applications, and Verizon’s new pairing with IBM could open the doors to more potential customers for such services.
To be clear, Verizon has been working to stamp out a position in the 5G and edge computing sector for years. The company hopes to offer its high-speed, millimeter-wave 5G network across 60 cities by the end of this year, and concurrently it has said it will launch nationwide 5G on lowband spectrum in that same timeframe. Separately, Verizon late last year announced it would team up with Amazon to support its AWS edge computing initiative.
But Verizon’s edge computing efforts don’t stop there. The company joined América Móvil, KT, Rogers, Telstra and Vodafone to establish the “5G Future Forum” in January in part to accelerate the development of Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC)-enabled solutions. The group this week announced it will release its first technical specifications in the third quarter.
With worldwide coronavirus induced “stay at home/shelter in place” orders, almost everyone that has high speed internet at home is using a lot more bandwidth for video conferences and streaming. How is the Internet holding up against the huge increase in data/video traffic? We focus this article on U.S. Internet traffic since the stay at home orders went into effect in late March.
Sidebar: North America has only 7.6% of world’s Internet users:
According to Eric Savitz of Barron’s, the U.S. networks are handling the traffic spikes without any major hiccups. In a call this past week with reporters, Comcast, the largest U.S. internet service provider, said that its network is working well, with tests done 700,000 times a day through customer modems showing average speeds running 110% to 115% of contracted rates. Overall peak traffic is up 32% on the network, with some areas up 60%, in particular around Seattle and the San Francisco Bay area, where lockdowns were put in place before they were in most of the rest of the country. In both Seattle and San Francisco, peak traffic volumes are plateauing, suggesting a new normal.
While Comcast said its peak internet traffic has increased 32 percent since the start of March, total traffic remains within the overall capacity its network. The increase in people working at home has shifted the downstream peak to earlier in the evening, while upload traffic is growing during the day in most cities. Tony Werner, head of technology at Comcast Cable, says it has a long-term strategy of adding network capacity 12 to 18 months ahead of expected peaks. He says that approach has given Comcast the ability to smoothly absorb the added traffic. The company hasn’t requested that video providers or anyone else limit their traffic.
AT&T, the second largest U.S. internet service provider, likewise asserts that its network is performing “very well” during the pandemic. This past Wednesday, it said, core traffic, including business, home broadband, and wireless, was up 18% from the same day last month. Wireless voice minutes were up 41%, versus the average Wednesday; consumer home voice minutes rose 57%, and WiFi calling was up 105%.
Over the past three weeks, the company has seen new usage patterns on its mobile network, with voice calls up 33% and instant messaging up 63%, while web browsing is down 5% and email is off 18%.
Verizon also says its network is handling the traffic well. One telling stat: The carrier says that mobile handoffs, the shifting of sessions from one cell site to another as users move around, is down 53% in the New York metro area, and 29% nationally; no one is going anywhere. More on Verizon’s COVID-19 initiatives here.
In the United States prior to coronavirus, total home internet traffic averaged about 15% on weekdays. But it started growing in mid March, and by late March it had reached about 35%, clearly connected to all the working and learning from home due to stay-at-home orders.
“The data suggests remote working will remain elevated in the U.S. for a prolonged period of time,” wrote analysts from Cowen analysts.
Craig Moffett of MoffetNathanson said “The cable companies are simply digital infrastructure providers. They are agnostic about how you can get your video content. And the broadband business is going to be just fine.”
“Our broadband connections are becoming our lifelines – figuratively and literally: we are using them to get news, connect to our work environments (now all virtual), and for entertainment too,” wrote Craig Labovitz, CTO for Nokia’s Deepfield portfolio, in a blog post.
Enterprise IT Accelerates Move to Cloud:
One takeaway from this extended, forced stay at home period is that, more than ever, corporate IT (think enterprise computing and storage) is moving to the cloud. We’ve previously reported on this mega-trend in an IEEE techblog post noting the delay in 5G roll-outs. In particular:
Now the new (5G) technology faces an unprecedented slow down to launch and expand pilot deployments. Why? It’s because of the stay at home/shelter in place orders all over the world. Non essential business’ are closed and manufacturing plants have been idled. Also, why do you need a mobile network if you’re at home 95% of the time?
One reason to deploy 5G is to off load data (especially video) traffic on congested 4G-LTE networks. But just like the physical roads and highways, those 4G networks have experienced less traffic since the virus took hold. People confined to their homes need wired broadband and Wi-Fi, NOT 4G and 5G mobile access.
David Readerman of Endurance Capital Partners, a San Francisco, CA based tech hedge fund told Barron’s: “What’s certainly being reinforced right now, is that cloud-based information-technology architecture is providing agility and resiliency for companies to operate dispersed workforces.”
Readerman says the jury is out on whether there’s a lasting impact on how we work, but he adds that contingency planning now requires the ability to work remotely for extended periods.
On March 27th, the Wall Street Journal reported:
The remote data storage and processing services provided by Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp., Google and others have become the essential link for many people to remain connected with work and families, or just to unwind.
The hardware and software infrastructure those tech giants and others provide, commonly referred to as the cloud, underpins the operation of businesses that have become particularly popular during the virus outbreak, such as workplace collaboration software provider Slack, streaming video service company Netflix Inc. and online video game maker Epic Games Inc.
Demand has been so strong that Microsoft has told some customers its Azure cloud is running up against limits in parts of Australia.
“Due to increased usage of Azure, some regions have limited capacity,” the software giant said, adding it had, in some instances, placed restrictions on new cloud-based resources, according to a customer notice seen by The Wall Street Journal.
A Microsoft spokesman said the company was “actively monitoring performance and usage trends” to support customers and growth demands. “At the same time,” he said, “these are unprecedented times and we’re also taking proactive steps to plan for these high-usage periods.”
“If we think of the cloud as utility, it’s hard to imagine any other public utility that could sustain a 50% increase in utilization—whether that’s electric or water or sewage system—and not fall over,” Matthew Prince, chief executive of cloud-services provider Cloudflare Inc. said in an interview. “The fact that the cloud is holding up as well as it has is one of the real bright spots of this crisis.”
The migration to the cloud has been happening for about a decade as companies have opted to forgo costly investments into in-house IT infrastructure and instead rent processing hardware and software from the likes of Amazon or Microsoft, paying as they go for storage and data processing features. The trends have made cloud-computing one of the most contested battlefields among business IT providers.
“If you look at Amazon or Azure and how much infrastructure usage increased over the past two weeks, it would probably blow your mind how much capacity they’ve had to spin up to keep the world operating,” said Dave McJannet, HashiCorp Inc., which provides tools for both cloud and traditional servers. “Moments like this accelerate the move to the cloud.”
In a message to rally employees, Andy Jassy, head of the Amazon’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud division, urged them to “think about all of the AWS customers carrying extra load right now because of all of the people at home.”
Brad Schick, chief executive of Seattle-based Skytap Inc., which works with companies to move existing IT systems to the cloud, has seen a 20% jump in use of its services in the past month. “A lot of the growth is driven by increased usage of the cloud to deal with the coronavirus.”
For many companies, one of the attractions of cloud services is they can quickly rent more processing horsepower and storage when it is needed, but can scale back during less busy periods. That flexibility also is helping drive cloud-uptake during the coronavirus outbreak, said Nikesh Parekh, CEO and cofounder of Seattle-based Suplari Inc., which helps companies manage their spending with outside vendors such as cloud services.
“We are starting to see CFOs worry about their cash positions and looking for ways to reduce spending in a world where revenue is going to decline dramatically over the next quarter or two,” he said. “That will accelerate the move from traditional suppliers to the cloud.”
Dan Ives of Wedbush opines that the coronavirus pandemic is a “key turning point” around deploying cloud-driven and remote-learning environments. As a majority of Americans are working or learning from home amid federal social distancing measures, Ives’ projections of moving 55% of workloads to the cloud by 2022 from 33% “now look conservative as these targets could be reached a full year ahead of expectations given this pace,” he said. He also expects that $1 trillion will be spent on cloud services over the next decade, benefiting companies such as Microsoft and Amazon.
Source: Gartner report on Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020
Communicating to the Edge — The Role of 5G
Connecting edge devices with one another and with back-end services is a fundamental aspect of IoT and an enabler of smart spaces. 5G is the next-generation cellular standard after 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE; LTE Advanced [LTE-A] and LTE Advanced Pro [LTE-A Pro]).
Several global standards bodies have defined it — International Telecommunication Union (ITU), 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) [NOT A STANDARDS BODY] and ETSI [Has submitted their IMT 2020 RIT to ITU-R WP5D jointly with DECT Forum].
Successive iterations of the 5G standard also will incorporate support for NarrowBand Internet of Things (NB-IoT) aimed at devices with low-power and low-throughput requirements. New system architectures include core network slicing as well as edge computing.
5G addresses three key technology communication aspects, each of which supports distinct new services, and possibly new business models (such as latency as a service):
■ Enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), which most providers will probably implement first.
■ Ultra-reliable and low-latency communications (URLLC), which addresses many existing industrial, medical, drone and transportation requirements where reliability and latency requirements surpass bandwidth needs.
■ Massive machine-type communications (mMTC), which addresses the scale requirements of IoT edge computing.
Use of higher cellular frequencies and massive capacity will require very dense deployments with higher frequency reuse. As a result, we expect that most public 5G deployments will initially focus on islands of deployment, without continuous national coverage. We expect that, by 2020, 4% of network-based mobile communications service providers globally will launch the 5G network commercially. Many CSPs are uncertain about the nature of the use cases and business models that may drive 5G. We expect that, through 2022, organizations will use 5G mainly to support IoT communications, high-definition video and fixed wireless access. The release of unlicensed radio spectrum (Citizens Broadband Radio Service [CBRS] in the U.S., and similar initiatives in the U.K. and Germany) will facilitate the deployment of private 5G (and LTE) networks.
This will enable enterprises to exploit the advantages of 5G technology without waiting for public networks to build out coverage. Identify use cases that definitely require the high-end performance, low latency or higher densities of 5G for edge computing needs.
Map the organization’s planned exploitation of such use cases against the expected rollout by providers through 2023. Evaluate the available alternatives that may prove adequate and more cost-effective than 5G for particular IoT use cases. Examples include low-power wide-area (LPWA), such as 4G LTE-based NB-IoT or LTE Cat M1, LoRa, Sigfox and Wireless Smart Ubiquitous Networks (Wi-SUN).
Distributed Cloud examines a major evolution in cloud computing where the applications, platforms, tools, security, management and other services are physically shifting from a centralized data center model to one in which the services are distributed and delivered at the point of need. The point of need can extend into customer data centers or all the way to the edge devices.
A distributed cloud refers to the distribution of public cloud services to different locations outside the cloud providers’ data centers, while the originating public cloud provider assumes responsibility for the operation, governance, maintenance and updates. This represents a significant shift from the centralized model of most public cloud services and will lead to a new era in cloud computing.
Concept of Distributed Cloud:
Gartner expects distributed cloud computing will happen in three phases:
■ Phase 1: A like-for-like hybrid mode in which the cloud provider delivers services in a distributed fashion that mirror a subset of services in its centralized cloud for delivery in the enterprise.
■ Phase 2: An extension of the like-for-like model in which the cloud provider teams with third parties to deliver a subset of its centralized cloud services to target communities through the third-party provider. An example is the delivery of services through a telecommunications
provider to support data sovereignty requirements in smaller countries where the provider does not have data centers.
■ Phase 3: Communities of organizations share distributed cloud substations. We use the term“substations” to evoke the image of subsidiary stations (like branch post offices) where people gather to use services.
Cloud customers can gather at a given distributed cloud substation to
consume cloud services for common or varied reasons if it is open for community or public use. This improves the economics associated with paying for the installation and operation of a distributed cloud substation. As other companies use the substation, they can share the cost of
We expect that third parties such as telecommunications service providers will explore the creation of substations in locations where the public cloud provider does not have a presence. If the substation is not open for use by others outside the organization that paid for its installation, then the substation represents a private cloud instance in a hybrid relationship with the public cloud. The distributed cloud supports continuously connected and intermittently connected operation of like-for-like cloud services from the public cloud “distributed” to specific and varied locations. This enables low-latency service execution where the cloud services are closer to the point of need in remote data centers or all the way to the edge device itself.
This can deliver major improvements in performance and reduce the risk of global network-related outages, as well as support occasionally connected scenarios. By 2024, most cloud service platforms will provide at least some services that execute at the point of need.
On Dec. 3rd at AWS re:Invent (Dec. 2-6, 2019) in Las Vegas, Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), announced AWS Wavelength, which provides developers the ability to build applications that serve end-users with single-digit millisecond latencies over the 5G network. AWS is partnering with Verizon on making AWS Wavelength available across the United States. Currently, AWS Wavelength is being piloted by select customers in Verizon’s 5G Edge, Verizon’s mobile edge compute (MEC) solution, in Chicago. Additionally, AWS is collaborating with other global telecommunications companies (including Vodafone, SK Telecom, and KDDI) to launch AWS Wavelength across Europe, South Korea, and Japan in 2020, with more global partners coming soon. From Amazon’s AWS Wavelength press release:
AWS Wavelength enables developers to build applications that deliver single-digit millisecond latencies to mobile devices and end-users. AWS developers can deploy their applications to Wavelength Zones, AWS infrastructure deployments that embed AWS compute and storage services within the wireless telecommunications providers’ data centers at the edge of the 5G networks, and seamlessly access the breadth of AWS services in the region. This enables developers to deliver applications that require single-digit millisecond latencies such as game and live video streaming, machine learning inference at the edge, and augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR).
AWS Wavelength brings AWS services to the edge of the 5G network, minimizing the latency to connect to an application from a mobile device. Application traffic can reach application servers running in Wavelength Zones without leaving the mobile provider’s network. This reduces the extra network hops to the Internet that can result in latencies of more than 100 milliseconds, preventing customers from taking full advantage of the bandwidth and latency advancements of 5G.
More from the press release:
Wavelength embeds AWS compute and storage services at the edge of wireless telecommunications providers’ 5G networks, enabling developers to serve use-cases that require ultra-low latency like machine learning inference at the edge, autonomous industrial equipment, smart cars and cities, Internet of Things (IoT), and Augmented and Virtual Reality. Wavelength brings the power of AWS to the edge of the 5G network, so developers can deploy the portions of an application that require ultra-low latency within the 5G network, and then seamlessly connect back to the rest of their application and full range of cloud services running in AWS. AWS customers can now use the same familiar AWS APIs, tools, and functionality they use today, to deliver-low latency applications at the edge of the 5G network, around the world […]
With infrastructure that consists of 69 Availability Zones, in 22 AWS Regions, AWS enables developers to serve end-users with low latencies worldwide. However, emerging interactive applications like game streaming, virtual reality, and real-time rendering require even lower latencies, of single-digit milliseconds to end-users and devices, connected through mobile networks. In addition, use-cases like industrial automation, smart cities, IoT, and autonomous vehicles require data processing to take place close to the source in order to conserve resources like device power and bandwidth. The 5G network is up to 20 times faster than 4G, and can be used to dramatically increase the number of supported devices and shrink network latency for mobile devices. However, even with the arrival of 5G, mobile devices still have to cross multiple network hops when connecting to an application over the Internet. Today, application traffic has to travel from a device to a cell tower to metro aggregation sites to regional aggregation sites and to the Internet before it can access resources running in AWS. These network hops can result in latencies of more than 100 milliseconds. This prevents developers from realizing the full potential of 5G to address low-latency use-cases.
Wavelength addresses these problems by bringing AWS services to the edge of the 5G network, minimizing the latency to connect to an application from a mobile device. With Wavelength, AWS developers can deploy their applications to Wavelength Zones, AWS infrastructure deployments that embed AWS compute and storage services within the network operators’ datacenters at the edge of the 5G network, so application traffic only needs to travel from the device to a cell tower to a Wavelength Zone running in a metro aggregation site. This removes a lot of the latency that would result from multiple hops between regional aggregation sites and across the Internet, which enables customers to take full advantage of 5G networks. Wavelength also delivers a consistent developer experience across multiple 5G networks around the world, and allows developers to build the next generation of ultra-low latency applications using the familiar AWS services, APIs, and tools they already use today – eliminating the need for developers to negotiate for space and equipment with multiple telecommunications providers, and stitch together application deployment and operations through different management interfaces, before they can begin to deploy their applications.
AWS Wavelength combines the power of the AWS cloud with the cutting-edge 5G networks of leading telecommunications providers like Verizon, Vodafone, KDDI, and SK Telecom to unlock a new wave of innovative applications and services around the world. By delivering these new capabilities, Wavelength enables developers to serve mobile users with single-digit millisecond latency and to optimize their applications by processing data closer to its source, enabling use-cases across a wide range of platforms – from factories to stores to cars to homes.
To deploy their application to the 5G edge, developers can simply extend their Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) to include a Wavelength Zone and then create AWS resources like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances, Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS) volumes, and AWS Elastic Container Service (ECS) and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Services (EKS) containers. In addition, developers can continue to use familiar and powerful AWS services to manage, secure, and scale their applications like AWS CloudFormation, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), and AWS Auto Scaling. This enables developers to easily run a wide variety of latency-sensitive workloads like analytics, IoT, machine learning, game streaming, and AR/VR.”
With Wavelength, we bring 5G and cloud together to give our customers the powerful new capability to run cloud services consistently within a few milliseconds of mobile end-users,” said Matt Garman, Vice President Compute Services, AWS. “This is a game changer for developers that is going to unlock a whole new generation of applications and services. We are really excited to see our customers innovate with these unique new capabilities that they did not have access to before.
AWS Wavelength: Partner testimonials:
From the AWS press announcement, here are current Amazon’s Wavelength partners’ testimonial statements:
“Verizon is building the most powerful 5G network in the U.S. Launched in April, Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network is currently live in 18 cities as well as 16 sporting and entertainment arenas across the country, and plans to expand to more than 30 U.S. cities by the end of this year. “Continuing our tradition of bringing new technology to market first we are excited to launch a mobile edge compute service — integrating our 5G Edge platform with Wavelength to allow developers to build new categories of applications and network cloud experiences,” said Kyle Malady, CTO of Verizon. “Bringing together the full capabilities of Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network and AWS, we unlock the full potential of our 5G services for customers to create applications and solutions with the fastest speeds and ultra-low latency.”
Verizon and AWS will integrate AWS – Wavelength with 5G Edge so developers can begin testing applications on ultra-low latency networks. The plan is to connect 5G applications to AWS cloud services without the hops. The two companies will bring compute and storage closer to 5G users. Deployments are planned in Chicago for select customers in 2020 with additional locations added throughout the year.
“Varjo Technologies Oy is based in Helsinki and is creating the world’s best hardware and software for groundbreaking VR/AR/XR computing devices, merging the real and digital worlds seamlessly together in human-eye resolution. “Simulating things at the same acuity you see in real life is a game changer compared to standard VR approaches. Varjo’s unique human-eye resolution technology helps professionals save time, money, and effort,” said Niko Eiden, Founder and CEO, Varjo. “Not too far down the road, our technology will be fully wireless, collaborative mixed reality. And this workspace of the future needs to be rendered in the cloud – with millions of pixels of extremely high-resolution, uncompressed content with single-digit millisecond latencies delivered to our devices – whether on premises at carmakers or in remote sites, through 5G. Now, instead of having to develop expensive local computing services that would be impossible to run on a battery-operated device, we can use edge computing to scale the rendering power and the business of our industrial-grade VR/MR from thousands to hundreds of thousands of units. Having access to the power of the AWS Cloud, together with 5G’s high bandwidth, low latency, and increased connectivity, is vital to our ability to deliver professional immersive computing experiences and to grow our business.”
“Mapbox is the location data platform for mobile and web developers, providing building blocks to add location features like maps, search, and navigation into any experience and changing the way people move around cities and explore the world. Mapbox tools are used by more than 1.7 million live location developers to power daily experiences for people, technology, and business. “Everyone needs maps, so 600 million people touch Mapbox every month as they read the headlines of the New York Times, check the weather on Weather.com, and find great restaurants or concerts on Facebook,” said Eric Gundersen, CEO and Co-Founder, Mapbox. “Our map gets smarter every time someone touches it, using AI to constantly update traffic and new streets — AWS Wavelength’s ultra-low-latency compute can help us process billions of sensor data updates into better maps by identifying new roads as they’re built, routing drivers around traffic jams, and spotting road construction with the Vision SDK. AWS Wavelength can reduce our refresh timelines from minutes to seconds, delivering Mapbox users a truly living map.”
“SK Telecom, the largest mobile operator in Korea, with nearly 50 percent market share, has been leading the global mobile industry through constant innovations in technologies and services. As a 5G pioneer, SK Telecom is also one of the first telco providers to launch commercial 5G mobile-edge computing (MEC) in collaboration with AWS. “By combining the strengths of SK Telecom’s 5G network and AWS cloud, we are set to bring innovative changes to all individuals, businesses and industries. This collaboration enables exciting use cases like game streaming, headless robotics, Ultra High Definition interactive media, autonomous driving, and smart factories. For example, through the application of AWS Wavelength and SK Telecom’s advanced 5G solutions, a smart factory can enhance the response time of robots performing maintenance, security, and manufacturing tasks, allowing the factory to scale operations without increasing costs,” said Ryu Young-sang, Vice President and Head of MNO Business, SK Telecom. “SK Telecom and AWS are deploying 5G multi-access cloud services at the edge, helping third-party developers and enterprises improve quality of experience, create business models, and accelerate time to market for new revenue opportunities. With SK Telecom’s 5G network, we can jointly develop sophisticated cloud services that can create greater value for enterprises of any size in Korea.”
“Vodafone Group is one of the world’s leading telecoms and technology service providers, with extensive experience in connectivity, convergence and the Internet of Things, as well as championing mobile financial services and digital transformation in emerging markets. Vodafone Business and AWS will provide multi-access edge computing capabilities to developers, Internet of Things (IoT), devices and end users by bringing the AWS cloud closer to the devices that need it, and running AWS Wavelength in strategic locations within Vodafone’s 5G network. “With Europe’s largest 5G network across 58 cities and as a global leader in the Internet of Things (IoT) with over 90 million connections, Vodafone is pleased to be the first telco to introduce AWS Wavelength in Europe,” said Vinod Kumar, CEO of Vodafone Business. “Faster speeds and lower latencies have the potential to revolutionize how our customers do business, and they can rely on Vodafone’s existing capabilities and security layers within our own network.”
“KDDI, a leading telecommunications provider in Japan, offers services that include both mobile and fixed-line communications, and Internet services. KDDI, which plans to launch commercial 5G services in Japan by March 2020, is actively developing its 5G network to enable enhanced Mobile Broadband in both densely populated metropolitan areas and rural areas. “In preparation for our 5G service launch, KDDI has been successfully proving that 5G can be delivered with reliable service quality in Japan in metropolitan and rural locations. We have achieved successful trials, like 5G handovers for high-speed racing cars and trains, a real-time, free-viewpoint video stream at a baseball stadium, and 4K video communication at a major station,” said Makoto Takahashi, President, KDDI. “Having the power of the AWS cloud processing and storage services available at the edge of the KDDI 5G network enables us to accelerate IoT innovation for applications like high-definition VR video streaming, VPS (visual positioning service), smart factories, autonomous vehicles, and more. AWS Wavelength provides Japanese businesses and consumers immediate access to these services over the KDDI 5G network. This will also enable us to address some of Japan’s pressing societal issues, such as revitalizing economies in areas facing population decline, rebuilding infrastructure, and improving prompt reaction to natural disasters.”
The tight coupling of 5G networks with edge computing raises challenging interoperability questions. Currently, it appears that a U.S. end user wanting to use an application that relies on a AWS Wavelength Zone would have to be a Verizon 5G Edge customer with a Verizon 5G end point device. That’s not how we usually think about “the cloud,” which today can be accessed from a wide range of different vendor devices over a wide range of connectivity providers.
At MWC 2019, A&T announced it was working with Microsoft Azure to bring network edge computing (NEC) closer to the end point. We wrote in February 2019 that AT&T is using drones to test the network edge compute capabilities with Azure, working with Israel-based startup Vorpal in its foundry in Plano, TX. Microsoft provided new details of its Azure – AT&T 5G partnership on November 26th:
Microsoft Azure cloud services are being integrated into AT&T network edge locations (closer to customers). This means AT&T’s software-defined and virtualized 5G core – what the company calls the Network Cloud – is now capable of delivering Azure services. NEC will initially be available for a limited set of select customers in Dallas. Next year, Los Angeles and Atlanta are targeted for select customer availability.
That implies if you are an AT&T 5G customer you will, at some point in time, likely have access to Microsoft Azure cloud services via NEC. However, AT&T customers won’t be able to access NEC for any other cloud provider, i.e. AWS, Google Cloud, etc.
Hence, you only get the advantages of edge computing (with much lower latency) if you are locked in to a pair of 5G network and cloud providers that have an edge computing partnership.
And what about roaming or truly mobile, such that a 5G endpoint device (in a train, car, bus, ship, etc) moves from one Wavelength Zone or 5G network to another? Will there be any sort of hand-off between providers and will the 5G device be able to operate on more than the 5G network it subscribed to?
Once again, this issue can only be solved once the complete suite of IMT 2020 standards are finalized and implemented by 5G network operators and endpoint device makers!