Telefónica Tech to integrate Red Hat’s OpenShift platform into new enterprise cloud service in Europe and Latin America

Telecom technology integrator Telefónica Tech has signed an agreement with IBM/Red Hat to integrate Red Hat’s OpenShift platform into a new cloud service marketed at enterprises across Telefónica’s footprint in Europe and Latin America.

The integration will be marketed as the Telefónica Red Hat OpenShift Service (TROS), which will tap into the use of containers to help organizations modernize their cloud applications and drive their digital transformation. It will allow those organizations to migrate applications to hybrid cloud or multi-cloud environments using either private or public clouds from hyperscalers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

OpenShift is based on the Kubernetes container orchestration project that allows for the migration of applications across different cloud and on-premises environments. A recent report from TBR Senior Analyst Catie Merrill noted that Red Hat’s OpenShift platform has four-times as many customers as it did before IBM acquired the company for $34 billion in mid-2019.

Red Hat OpenShift differentiates itself by combining multiple hardened open source technologies to provide a more complete modern application platform, enabling organizations to use it as the foundation for current and future IT strategies.  Additionally, the use of Red Hat OpenShift  allows for use in any type of cloud, facilitating the creation of this Multi-Cloud service for Telefónica Tech.

This new, open hybrid, multi-cloud approach will allow Telefonica Tech to strengthen and differentiate its value proposition, and provide more flexibility to its customers in their digital transformation and application modernization in the markets where Telefónica Tech is present.

The complementary nature of cloud technologies integrated in TROS will enable Telefónica Tech, Red Hat and IBM to jointly define innovative use cases and provide high value-added professional services to customers to help them make the process more efficient, cost-effective and cost-optimal.

The strategic agreement also enables Telefónica Tech to develop additional services on TROS based on Red Hat technologies and IBM Cloud Paks so that customers can accelerate their transformation to cloud-native applications, enabling a more consistent user experience both in their own cloud and on the hyperscalers.

María Jesús Almazor, CEO of Cybersecurity and Cloud at Telefónica Tech, said: “This strategic agreement allows us to strengthen our differential multicloud offer by integrating world class technologies from Red Hat and IBM and consolidate our position as a leading partner for the digital transformation of businesses. We continue to evolve our ecosystem of alliances to enhance the digital capabilities of our professionals and to include in our portfolio the most innovative proposals in the market, fundamental aspects to continue offering the best service to our customers.”

Horacio Morell, IBM General Manager for Spain, Portugal, Greece and Israel: “This alliance enables us to take a quantum leap in our business collaboration with Telefonica Tech to continue co-creating enterprise multi-cloud and cybersecurity solutions that will enable companies around the world, across all industries, to implement their technology transformation strategies with greater speed, consistency and agility, while ensuring data control, privacy and reliability and increasing decision-making efficiency through the unique capabilities of IBM’s technologies.”

Julia Bernal, Country Manager for Spain and Portugal at Red Hat, said: “Red Hat is fully committed to helping our customers and partners optimize their business with open hybrid cloud and focus on innovation rather than simply managing their IT infrastructure. Our mission is to mitigate the complexities of modern cloud-scale IT environments and with managed cloud services they can do just that. Telefónica Red Hat OpenShift Service enables customers to free resources to create and manage applications more quickly across multiple clouds, streamlining time to market and accelerating growth opportunities.”

“It is going to be the way forward and what many customers who want to evolve their business models,” said Santiago Madruga, VP for ecosystem success in EMEA at Red Hat, in an interview with SDxCentral. “When going digital, it’s not just putting workloads on the cloud but really transforming businesses.” Madruga added that the use of OpenShift also allows for the micro-segmentation of application components that will open the door for edge distributed cloud work.

IBM is providing its Cloud Pak containerized software products, Spectrum Fusion storage, Power hardware, and professional services to the offering. The deal also builds on past work between IBM and Telefónica, including a multi-year agreement signed last year whereby Telefónica will use IBM software to power the carrier’s cloud-native, 5G core network platform.
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References:

Telefónica Tech launches ‘Telefónica Red Hat OpenShift Service’ with Red Hat and IBM to drive customers’ transformation to the cloud

https://www.sdxcentral.com/articles/news/ibm-red-hat-expand-telefonicas-cloud-push/2022/06/

https://newsroom.ibm.com/2021-09-23-Telefonica-Chooses-IBM-To-Implement-Its-First-Ever-Cloud-Native-5G-Core-Network-Platform

 

BT selects Google Cloud for group-wide data and AI transformation

In line with the theme of telcos partnering with cloud giants, UK incumbent BT has announced a new five-year deal with Google Cloud.  The objective is to leverage Google’s AI and cloud expertise to foster a new company culture BT calls ‘The Digital Way.’  The partnership will include a wide range of products and services, including cloud infrastructure, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, security, and API management.  In particular:

  • Collaboration will involve BT using Google’s enhanced data and AI capabilities at every level of its business to deliver personalised customer experiences and continue its commitment to creating societal value through responsible, inclusive, and sustainable tech
  • Google Cloud will support BT with a full spectrum of products and services, from secure cloud infrastructure to advanced machine learning tools
  • Access to Google Cloud’s Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) experts will help drive the cultural change needed to enable BT to operate a data and AI platform in the cloud at scale

 

Image of Google Cloud.  Source: Google

The work will be overseen by BT Digital, a new arm of the business created last year and headed up by BT’s Chief Digital and Innovation Officer, Harmeen Mehta.

“Our partnership with Google is one of a series of strategic moves that BT Digital is taking to help accelerate BT’s growth and digital transformation. This is a partnership that is deeper than just at the technology level. It will help Digital as a whole supercharge BT and drive its return to growth,” said Mehta.  She then wrote on LinkedIn, “Delighted with this fantastic partnership with Google Cloud as we accelerate the BT digital transformation.”

As part of the deal, Google’s Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) team will also partner with BT to help the operator roll out autonomous operations and develop new cloud-based services for customers.

“We’re proud to collaborate with one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and play an integral part in its digital transformation journey,”said Thomas Kurian, CEO at Google Cloud.

“By deploying our full cloud capabilities, and support from our SRE organisation, our goal in this partnership is to set up BT with the tools it needs for future growth and innovation,” he added.

Google and BT have already started working together on adopting Google technology, and plan to complete the core migration of data by 2023.

Other telco’s have partnered with Google Cloud:

  • Late last month, Finnish telco Elisa also announced its own partnership with Google Cloud into its hybrid cloud offering.
  • Last November, Telenor and Google Cloud formed a partnership to digitalize the Norwegian telecom company’s global operations and are exploring ways to jointly offer services to customers
  • In February 2021, Canadian telco Telus and Google Cloud signed a 10-year collaboration deal to help fuel Telus’ internal digital transformation while also jointly developing new products and services.
  • In November 2019, Telecom Italia and Google Cloud formed a partnership that will enable TIM to expand its portfolio of public, private and hybrid cloud services and to offer edge computing services

References:

https://newsroom.bt.com/bt-selects-google-cloud-as-strategic-partner-for-group-wide-data-and-ai-transformation/

https://www.totaltele.com/512745/Cloud-first-AI-first-BT-selects-Google-Cloud-for-strategic-shift

Cloud Native Computing Foundation -Kubernetes and container technologies; ABI Research 5G Telco Cloud-Native Platforms

I.  Cloud Native Computing Foundation:

Are the ITU, ETSI, IETF SDO’s obsolete with the move to “cloud native” telecom?  Maybe so.   The Cloud Native Computing Foundation®  (CNCF®), which builds sustainable ecosystems for cloud native software, recently announced the addition of 68 new Silver and end user members and end user supporters. These new members will work side by side with over 775 other members to build and use the cloud native technology that is enabling organizations across the world to respond to the challenges of 5G, edge, massive scale, and more.

For sure, “cloud native,” which is recommended by 3GPP for 5G SA core networks, has replaced and knocked out the previously highly touted NFV and SDN which never realized critical market mass, despite outrageous claims that they would usher in a new era/ new epoch and replace all conventional hardware based telecom equipment.

According to the CNCF Annual Survey, 2021 was the year that Kubernetes crossed the chasm, with 96% of organizations who participated in the survey either using or evaluating Kubernetes. Adoption has also increased measurably across CNCF projects, notably by 500% for containerd, 53% for Fluentd, and 43% for Prometheus.

“We have seen an acceleration in new member growth which we can attribute to the maturation and ubiquity of Kubernetes and container technology,” said Priyanka Sharma, executive director of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. “CNCF’s projects have been integral in helping end users like Allianz DirectFidelity Investments, and Vodafone respond to pressing and evolving infrastructure challenges. We are thrilled to have so many new members on board to continue our mission to make cloud native computing ubiquitous.”

About the newest Silver Members:

  • Airlock covers all functions of modern application security, combining web application and API protection (WAAP) with customer identity management (cIAM) deployable on-premises, in the cloud, or as lightweight security micro gateway, designed specifically for use in container environments.
  • Akuity was founded by Argo co-creators Hong Wang and Jesse Suen and is on a mission to help companies modernize their Kubernetes tooling by leveraging Argo, the leading open-source suite of Kubernetes-native application delivery tools.
  • Amido is the cloud-native consultancy for better business outcomes.
  • Argonaut is the first cloud platform that enables engineers to manage infrastructure and application deployments in one place, focusing on developer experience.
  • Automat-IT delivers exceptional CI, CT, CD, DevOps, Cloud services, and 24×7 support, to large enterprises, startups and everything in between, to untangle IT complexities and deploy ‘time to market’ technologies.
  • Avisi is a Software Development and Cloud Services Company that offers Managed Services using the Change-mindset, allowing their customers to continuously innovate their mission-critical software.
  • Axcelinno is an IT Technology Consultancy and Professional Services company that helps organizations define and implement their DevSecOps adoption and cloud migration.
  • Baolande is a listed high-tech corporation founded in 2008, it focuses on providing infrastructure software, intelligent operation and maintenance products and solutions for  innovational digitalized business.
  • Clastix is a tech company providing a unique blend of products and services to accelerate the Cloud Native revolution, delivered from 100% upstream open-source components.
  • CloudCasa by Catalogic is a powerful, cyber-resilient, backup service for protecting Kubernetes workloads, cloud databases, and cloud native applications, that is free to start using.
  • Cloud Kinetics (CK) is a leading cloud MSP (managed services provider) with operations in SingaporeIndonesiaVietnamIndiaMalaysiaThailandUSA and Germany.
  • CloudMatos, pioneering the world of self-governed cloud infrastructure, our solution provides self-healing, awareness, resilience, security, and intelligent remediation to your cloud infrastructure by deploying policy driven governance, security controls, networking controls, and more using IAC or PAC.
  • CodeZero allows developers to work on software in a Kubernetes cluster creating parity between their local machine and production.
  • Cortex gives organizations visibility into the status and quality of their microservices and helps teams drive adoption of best practices so they can deliver higher quality software.
  • CrafterCMS is an open-source, Git-based headless CMS for enterprises that seek faster and easier development of large-scale, content–rich digital experiences such as global personalized websites, customer portals, employee intranets, OTT video, e-commerce, consumer mobile apps, AR/VR, and more.
  • Cribl is an observability pipeline company built to reduce, normalize, enrich, and route observability data to where it has the most value.
  • DataCore Software delivers the industry’s most flexible, intelligent, and powerful software-defined storage solutions for block, file, object, and container storage, helping more than 10,000 customers worldwide modernize how they store, protect, and access data.
  • Daugherty Business Solutions is an advisory services and technology consulting firm delivering results through innovation and technology.
  • Era Software observability data management offers modern IT and security organizations the ability to route, ingest, store, and analyze massive amounts of data to get actionable insights in seconds.
  • Expert Thinking is a team of industry-certified cloud experts who will partner with your organisation, supporting every stage of your cloud journey – rapidly optimising your use of the ever-changing cloud technology landscape at scale to maximise value and benefit for your organisation.
  • Finout‘s cost management platform combines your AWS, K8s, Datadog & Snowflake invoices into one mega bill, enabling an unparalleled view of your cloud spend in minutes with no heavy lifting.
  • Fournine is a leading multi-cloud solution provider empowering enterprises’ digital transformation with key cloud native development solutions such as Kubernetes, DevOps, and building and delivering container based applications.
  • GienTech is a leading financial digital consulting and software provider based on full stack information technology in the world, moreover, an expert in digital transformation services in key industries.
  • Helios is a production-readiness platform that leverages OpenTelemetry to give developers the power to understand, troubleshoot, and test distributed applications, so they can deliver production-ready code faster – and with more confidence.
  • Innogrid is Korea’s leading cloud computing solution and service company that supports successful digital transformation based on cloud native environments.
  • itopia makes hybrid work easy for software teams by delivering containerized developer environments in a browser, enabling companies to onboard developers fast and prevent exfiltration with precise security controls, and devs to launch spaces with all their tools pre-installed and start coding in seconds.
  • KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services with 227,000 outstanding professionals working together to deliver value in 146 countries and territories.
  • KSOC is an event-driven SaaS platform built to automatically remediate Kubernetes security risks and enforce least privilege access control across distributed cluster infrastructures.
  • Lightlytics empowers teams of all sizes to code and deploy configurations with speed and confidence.
  • Lightrun is the world’s first IDE-native developer observability platform, that enables engineering teams to continuously identify and tackle critical issues in live applications without hotfixes, redeployments, or restarts by securely adding read-only logs, metrics, and traces in real-time and on-demand
  • mogenius is a code to cloud platform that deploys and runs any application on a fully automated cloud infrastructure by simply connecting to a code repository.
  • Mondoo is an easy to use security platform for DevOps and Security practitioners who want to automate manual security processes, find misconfigurations, and improve their security posture.
  • Mycelial is the Edge Native platform for distributed, local-first applications.
  • NHN Cloud is a leading cloud service provider based in South Korea, offering public, private, and hybrid cloud in various industries with reliable, flexible, and secure services.
  • Okteto enables organizations to instantly spin up pre-configured environments in the cloud and start developing within seconds.
  • OnGres (“ON postGRES”) is a highly specialized Postgres startup, creators of the Open Source project StackGres, the most advanced platform for running Enterprise Postgres on Kubernetes.
  • Orca Security provides instant-on security and compliance for public cloud platforms such as AWS, Azure, and GCP - without the gaps in coverage, alert fatigue, and operational costs of agents or sidecars.
  • Oxeye.io delivers an application security testing platform designed for cloud-native apps and modern architectures, offering a contextual, effortless, and comprehensive solution to ensure no vulnerable code ever reaches production.
  • Polar Signals is an observability company focusing on continuous profiling, empowering every developer to understand performance measurements down to the source code line number across their entire infrastructure to safe cost on cloud bills, improve performance, and improve the reliability of software.
  • Posedio, based in Austria, specialises in the cloud-native journey of enterprise customers in the DACH region, providing deep technical knowledge and hands-on experience in running applications at scale.
  • ProfiSea is an Israeli DevOps and Cloud boutique company that implements best practices of GitOps, DevSecOps, Kubernetes-based Cloud environments deployment automation and provides FinOps premium services using a unique AI-based Cloud management platform.
  • RNG Technology is a leading cloud native digital acceleration technology partner that provides fully managed & engineered multi-cloud IaaS, BaaS, DRaaS, BCaaS, Kubernetes and DevOps solutions enabling enterprises to rapidly accelerate the delivery of innovative solutions.
  • ScaleFlash is a software-defined, cloud native storage for Kubernetes, providing persistent storage for stateful Kubernete under Bare Metal DPU Servers connected with low latency RDMA network to achieve multi-milllion of IOPS performance.
  • Scribe makes software trustworthy, by allowing software producers to attest to it and consumers to validate.
  • Seekret is an API-first platform that empowers developers with revolutionary eBPF-powered APIOps through automation, governance, and observability.
  • Spyderbat provides Linux runtime security, protecting dynamic environments by proactively tracking all user activities by their causal connections to detect and resolve external attacks, misconfigurations, and insider threats.
  • Successive Technologies is an Enterprise Cloud Consulting Company that helps you leverage most popular container orchestration with their enterprise-class managed Kubernetes services to make cluster management and integration workflows easy and effective.
  • True is an Amsterdam-based Managed Service Provider with 20+ years of experience in hosting scalable SaaS applications.
  • Uffizzi is an open-source full-stack preview engine that provides on-demand cloud environments powered by Kubernetes and configured with Docker Compose.
  • VNET Group, a leading carrier- and cloud-neutral Internet data center services provider in China, provides hosting and related services, including IDC services, cloud services, and business VPN services.
  • Webera has the vision to help innovators build their own platforms by providing DevOps services breaking down silos, improving workflows, and using cloud-native technologies. See what happens when technology gets out of the way.
  • Whitestack is delivering unprecedented value to the IT and Telecom industries, changing the existing paradigms by deploying open-source solutions that help Data Centers, Telcos and Corporations to implement hyper-scalable clouds, for mission-critical workloads.
  • Wowjoy Technology is dedicated to providing healthcare digital platform construction and data services to governments and medical institutions. All products and applications are developed and served upon cloud native architecture.
  • Zoi is a cloud-native IT consulting company that bridges the gap between hidden champions and the latest cloud technology – born in “THE LÄND”, made in the Cloud.

About the newest End User Members:

  • Bancolombia: Colombian financial group with 147 years of history that provides financial and non-financial services to more than 20 million clients in ColombiaPanamaEl Salvador and Guatemala.
  • BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services provider – North America’s 8th largest bank by assets, providing a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers globally.
  • Fannie Mae advances equitable and sustainable access to homeownership and quality, affordable rental housing for millions of people across America.
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation, headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 114,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services.
  • LSEG: Your trusted global financial markets infrastructure and data provider.
  • ZenHub helps scaling teams get ship done, with enhanced visibility for software projects, automated agile experiences, and real-team productivity insights.

About the newest End User Supporters:

  • BitMEX, founded in 2014, is one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency derivatives exchanges with a fully verified user base and the creator of the Perpetual Swap.
  • FATMAP is the leading app for the mountains, featuring thousands of routes and guidebooks, professional terrain tools, national TOPO maps (including a 3D IGN map), and downloadable maps for offline use –  it’s everything you need for your next adventure.
  • MasterClass‘s mission is to unlock human potential by inspiring a learning lifestyle in everyone.
  • TomTom is a geolocation company that provides maps, navigation software, real-time traffic information, and APIs.
  • Vermiculus delivers innovative, modern, and high-quality solutions for clearing houses and exchanges all around the world. Leading the way with cloud-based and AI powered microservices.

About the newest Non-Profit Members:

  • Cispi‘s goal is to promote cloud computing and open source in Israel.
  • The Open Compute Project Foundation (OCP) was initiated in 2011 with a mission to apply the benefits of open source collaboration to hardware and rapidly increase the pace of innovation in, near and around the data center’s networking equipment, general purpose and GPU servers, storage devices and appliances, and scalable rack designs, and now being applied to advance the telecom industry & EDGE infrastructure.

Additional Resources

About Cloud Native Computing Foundation
Cloud native computing empowers organizations to build and run scalable applications with an open source software stack in public, private, and hybrid clouds. The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) hosts critical components of the global technology infrastructure, including Kubernetes, Prometheus, and Envoy. CNCF brings together the industry’s top developers, end users, and vendors, and runs the largest open source developer conferences in the world. Supported by more than 500 members, including the world’s largest cloud computing and software companies, as well as over 200 innovative startups, CNCF is part of the nonprofit Linux Foundation. For more information, please visit www.cncf.io.

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II.  ABI Research did an in-depth and objective evaluation of the telco cloud platforms offered by eleven 5G Telco Cloud-Native Platform players.  The companies are evaluated in the following order of ranking:

  • Market Leaders: VMware, Red Hat
  • Mainstream: Nokia, ZTE, Canonical, Huawei, Google, Ericsson, Wind River
  • Followers: AWS, Microsoft Azure

“CSPs are looking to enable cloud-native 5G capabilities through the deployment of a horizontal platform that can span their entire network from the core to RAN to edge. Some of the key criteria that CSPs are looking for include the ability to build a multi-vendor network and avoid vendor lock-in. As the 5G SBA value proposition revolves around providing services on-demand through microservices and cloud-native principles, flexibility, agility, and scalability become major factors CSPs look out for when choosing a platform,” says Kangrui Ling, Industry Analyst at ABI Research.

VMware and Red Hat are assessed as leaders in the market, with VMware coming out on top due to their strong multi-vendor Network Function (NF) partnership program supporting more than 220 NFs. Red Hat follows closely behind with their Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform and hybrid cloud and multi-cloud capabilities. Both providers are also top innovators, with VMware offering a variety of telco-specific features, including RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC), SD-WAN, and orchestrators, while Red Hat offers auto-scaling of clusters and zero-touch provisioning through solutions such as Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes, Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, and Operator Lifecycle Manager (OLM).

“Cloud native is critical for telco applications in 5G, and is crucial in bringing automation, scale, performance, efficient operations, faster time to market, an improved CI/CD pipeline, and the easy introduction of new software and features. Newer trends are also emerging which include multi-vendor capabilities and hybrid cloud/multi cloud support as networks become more open and disaggregated,” concludes Ling.

These findings are from ABI Research’s 5G Telco Cloud-Native Platforms competitive ranking report. This report is part of the company’s 5G Core & Edge Networks research service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights. Competitive Ranking reports offer comprehensive analysis of implementation strategies and innovation, coupled with market share analysis, to offer unparalleled insight into a company’s performance and standing in comparison to its competitors.

About ABI Research:

ABI Research is a global technology intelligence firm delivering actionable research and strategic guidance to technology leaders, innovators, and decision makers around the world. Our research focuses on the transformative technologies that are dramatically reshaping industries, economies, and workforces today.

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References:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/68-new-members-join-the-cloud-native-computing-foundation-301497727.html

https://www.abiresearch.com/press/vmware-and-red-hat-come-out-on-top-in-abi-researchs-5g-telco-cloud-native-platforms-competitive-ranking/

Move to distributed cloud networks, edge cloud and smart city services

Last week Akamai announced that it had acquired infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform provider Linode for $900 million. As a result it can bundle its edge cloud network with Linode’s services aimed at developers and their applications. Linode is a cloud computing specialist, offering its infrastructure-as-a-service platform across 11 global markets from data centres around the world. It operates its own network, with APIs, services and educational resources to enable developers and businesses to build, deploy, and scale applications more easily and cost-effectively in the cloud.  The deal appears aimed at smaller developers and the bigger rival AWS.

“If you are a large enterprise and need the ability to customize your infrastructure, AWS is a good fit. But if you’re a small business owner or independent developer, having access to all of that advanced cloud technology comes at a cost: unnecessary complexity, risk of lock-in to Amazon’s ecosystem, and frequent billing surprises.”

AWS was also active last week in the edge cloud area, focusing on applications in need of single-digit millisecond latency. It’s completed 16 Local Zones in the US to serve customers such as Netflix and Fox and plans to add another 32 zones around the world in the next two years.

In Europe, 28 companies (including Deutsche Telekom, TIM, KPN, United Groep and Vivacom) confirmed plans for the Lighthouse Structura-X Project. That project will develop cloud services compatible with the aims of the EU’s Gaia-X project.

Canadian network operator Telus is partnering with Google Cloud to develop smart city services. Telus will rely on its 5G network and NXN Digital platforms.

The French start-up InterCloud raised EUR 100 million for its interconnection service supporting all the big cloud platforms.

References:

https://www.telecompaper.com/background/last-week-in-telecoms-liberty-global-deals-with-fibre-cloud-goes-to-the-edge-fmc-merger-in-norway–1414851

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/akamai-expands-in-cloud-computing-with-linode-takeover-for-usd-900-mln–1414250

Microsoft proposes a 5G overlay on their “Azure for Operators” cloud WAN

In a blog post, Microsoft proposes to sell global data transport and routing services to 5G network operators under its new Azure for Operators business. The proposition (described below) is to use a 5G overlay on Microsoft Azure’s cloud WAN.

“Operators spend a lot of money to manage and maintain their networks and peering relationships, but so does Microsoft. The question then is, why are two massive industries doing the same thing? Because both parties move packets around, doesn’t it make more sense for them to collaborate?” wrote Victor Bahl, Microsoft CTO of the company’s new Azure for Operators business, in a blog post to the company’s website. “Here, the well-managed, reliable, and performant Azure network should be thought of as the backbone that operators trust. With this shift in thinking will come all the advantages of innovation that IT companies like Microsoft are rapidly bringing in.”

Azure’s planet-scale WAN

Azure maintains a massive WAN with significant capacity and one that is continuously growing. We have over 175,000 miles of lit fiber optic and undersea cable systems. This connectivity covers close to 200 network points of presence (PoPs) over 60 regions, across 140 countries.

Azure’s network is connected to many thousands of ISPs and other networks with significant peering capacity. Our global network is well-provisioned, with redundant fiber paths that can handle multiple simultaneous failures, it also has massive reserve capacity in unlit dark fiber. These optical fibers are fully owned or leased by Microsoft, and all traffic between and among Azure datacenters within a region or across regions is automatically encrypted at the physical layer.

This combination of redundant capacity to handle failures, dark capacity for significant growth, and research advancements being made in increasing transmission speeds means that we have a massive amount of spare capacity to serve 5G traffic to a broad array of new operators.

Bahl said Microsoft is selling its network services to large, established 5G network operators that already manage their own routing and transport operations, as well as newer telcos that may not have developed such systems. Under Microsoft’s vision, 5G network operators can focus on erecting cell towers and central offices, but can rely on Microsoft’s Internet backbone to carry their customers’ traffic from those locations across the U.S. and the rest of the world.

Making Azure WAN great for 5G traffic

For many years, Microsoft researchers and engineers have been working on a hybrid-global traffic orchestrator for routing network packets across Azure’s WAN. Our orchestrator takes control away from classic Internet protocols and instead moves that control into software that we build and control for 5G traffic. We place the 5G flows that demand high performance on low-latency, high bandwidth paths to and from the Internet. Network flows that are cost-sensitive are instead routed through cheaper paths.

In effect, we have developed a fast-(packet) forwarding mechanism to build a 5G overlay on our existing WAN, thereby supporting a variety of 5G network slices with different wired transport properties, while avoiding interference with the operation of the underlying enterprise cloud network.

We have also extended our state-of-the-art network verification capability to cover complex network topologies by modeling Virtual WAN, Virtual Networks, and other network function virtualizations (NFVs), as well as modeling reachability using formal methods. Using fast solvers, we can verify reachability constraints on customer topologies, at deployment time or when undergoing a config change.

We have applied machine learning to predict the impact of peering link outages and congestion mitigation strategies and use the data to improve the availability of the WAN peering surface area.

Our expertise in optimization algorithms has been shown to ultimately reduce cloud networking spend. Techniques like these will be invaluable in carving out 5G paths on the overlay that are cost-efficient, but still meet the performance needs of every network slice.

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The significant upside for operators

To reiterate, Microsoft is heavily invested in running a well-managed, always-available global network. We have been incorporating multiple groundbreaking technologies, including scalable optimization, formal verification of routing policies, machine learning, and AI. We envision operators to not only be able to use our WAN to transfer 5G packets, with low latency, but also to benefit from multiple network services such as DDoS protection, firewalls, traffic accelerators, connection analytics, load balancers, and rate limiters, many of which we use in running existing Azure network workloads.

At Microsoft, we bring the full power of research and engineering leadership into our networks, rapidly incorporating innovation and new features to provide reliable, low-latency, low-cost service. In turn, this effort will open up the significant potential of next-generation services and applications as envisioned by the community at large. It is no understatement to say that collaboration between operators and Azure is key to unleashing the true power of 5G.

Last year Microsoft acquired telecom software vendors Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch Networks, and subsequently introduced its Azure for Operators to “provide operators with the agility they need to rapidly innovate and experiment with new 5G services on a programmable network.” The company earlier this year doubled down on the opportunity with the purchase of AT&T’s Network Cloud operation, a move that positions AT&T to shift its 5G core network operations into Microsoft’s cloud over the next three years.

More broadly, Microsoft is one of a trio of massive cloud computing companies that are hoping to generate sales among telecom companies, including 5G network operators. Google, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft are all now selling various products and services into the telecom space.

Several telecom network providers including Canada’s Telus  and  Deutsche Telekom – are jumping at the prospect of partnering with a cloud computing service provider. Of note is Dish Network’s massive deal with AWS, whereby it plans to run all of its network software in the Amazon cloud and AT&T outsourcing its 5G SA Core network to run on Microsoft Azure cloud.

References:

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/blog/unleashing-the-true-potential-of-5g-with-cloud-networks/

https://www.lightreading.com/service-provider-cloud/microsoft-starts-selling-transport-routing-services-to-5g-operators/d/d-id/772821?

 

AT&T 5G SA Core Network to run on Microsoft Azure cloud platform

ManTech and Google Cloud open joint facility to expedite government adoption of cloud technologies

In April, Google Cloud announced a partnership with ManTech to accelerate US government adoption of cloud technologies.  The partnership will combine Google Cloud technology and security capabilities with ManTech’s federal solution delivery capability and public sector domain expertise. The two companies will launch a joint demonstration facility in Northern Virginia to showcase their combined technology capability.

Together, ManTech and Google Cloud’s full range of capabilities and technology know-how can meet government needs across multi and hybrid cloud environments, infrastructure modernization, application development, data management, artificial intelligence, analytics, and cybersecurity. This will enable the two companies to jointly assist agencies with core areas of modernization including multi-cloud and hybrid cloud adoption, hyperscale analytics, security, 5G, and edge-computing.

Google Cloud’s partnership with ManTech was said to be a critical step toward meeting the federal customer mission by expediting cloud adoption, and helping to solve the government’s unique challenges with new solutions and capabilities. As the need for cloud adoption has accelerated, and cybersecurity threats continue to destabilize our critical infrastructure, strategic private sector partnerships that support U.S. government interests have a key role to play in facilitating remote collaboration, and securing the welfare of Americans.

References:

https://cloud.google.com/blog/topics/public-sector/mantech-and-google-cloud-open-joint-facility-expedite-government-adoption-cloud-technologies

https://investor.mantech.com/press-releases/press-release-details/mantech-and-google-cloud-partner-provide-cloud-services-us

Juniper CEO: Cloud and AI-driven strategy: #1 in Cloud WAN routing

“Ultimately cloud is not just a market segment. When people think cloud, they think AWS, Azure and Google. Certainly, these are companies that have built their entire businesses around cloud-service delivery models but I view cloud as a way of life for every customer across every vertical. CIOs of enterprises wake up in the morning and wonder how they are going to protect their companies from disruption that’s happening outside of their four walls and do so while they don’t really have unlimited budgets and most of their employees are stuck in just keeping the lights on. Up to 80, 90% of the IT of an enterprise company are just keeping status quo running. That’s not a recipe for success,” said Juniper CEO Rami Rahim.

Expansion into Cloud Majors is a priority as it’s seen as the growth driver of enterprise digitalization:
– Accelerated enterprise shift of workloads into public clouds
– Direct Cloud connectivity drives growth in MX edge routers
– Two-sided business opportunity: Cloud + Enterprise WAN
Growth driver of 400G core upgrades
– Comprehensive 400G fixed & modular platform portfolio
– Investment in custom, high-performance Triton silicon for 400Gb/sec
• >100 customers for 400Gb/sec WAN solutions

Speaking at the JP Morgan 49th Annual Global Technology, Media and Communications conference today, Rahim said that the company’s enterprise business has never been as strong as it is today and he attributes much of that strength to the company’s AI-driven enterprise strategy.

“AI-driven enterprise is not just a marketing slogan,” Rahim said. “There is technical substance. We have an AI engine that drives the solutions that we are offering customers today,” he added.

Much of the company’s AI-driven enterprise strategy is a result of its 2019 acquisition of Mist Systems, which had an AI-powered wireless platform that Juniper then used to enhance its own networking solutions.

“We’ve been taking share [from competitors] in the face of meaningful headwinds,” Rahim said. “I expect once those headwinds lessen as we emerge from Covid, we will see even more improved dynamics.”

Juniper said that it plans to extend that AI-driven focus to other areas of its business, such as SD-WAN. Juniper purchased 128 Technology last October for $450 million and is in the process of combining 128 Technology and Mist’s AI capabilities into its SD-WAN solution.

Rahim said that he believes Juniper’s IP routing and transport business will see the most opportunity because the move to 5G will mean more traffic from the radio access network (RAN) to the transport network and the cloud.

Security is also a potential area of growth from 5G investments. Rahim said that future 5G networks are going to be more prone to threats, and service providers will need to invest in more high-end security.

He also said that Juniper projects that its service provider business will grow close to 2% for the full year with the revenue increasing 17% year over year.

On the supply chain front, Juniper executives warned during the company’s first quarter earnings report last month that it could be negatively impacted by the ongoing semiconductor shortage.  Those shortages are still a concern, the company said, noting that it will continue to need extended lead times for products through the rest of the year.

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