Mastering cloud native for hybrid multivendor networks
Cloud native has been on the agenda for many Communications Service Providers (CSPs). The opportunities and the value that comes with applications built on cloud native principles running on containers, has been key questions many will need to address.
What is cloud native?
So, what is cloud native and what does it entail? A simple definition is that it’s an application that becomes containerized, where each part in the application is packaged in such a way that it runs on its own container. It can be dynamically orchestrated to optimize the resources that are utilized by active scheduling and the management of each part, which will reduce overheads. The fact that it’s built on microservice architecture will make it simple to support and reconfigure parts of an application. It gives an overall agility and scalability based on demand for the different functions in the application, since code is not hard-wired to any of the underlying infrastructure
What about the management aspects?
There can certainly be a lot more written about cloud native to answer and exemplify its value. But if we shift the focus to the management aspects, there hasn’t been as much talk on orchestration of cloud native applications. This will be a key question for CSPs as they will, and are in fact already, implementing cloud native architectures in their telco and IT applications. This transformation is still in its early stages, but with exploration and eventual maturity, the requirements of orchestrating cloud native applications will emerge.
And then there are the challenges
The journey to move towards cloud native is a big step for CSPs. Not only will it require large scale transformations in their application stack and infrastructure, it will also require new knowledge built within new domains and their organization.
Challenges will also emerge as customers will need to develop a migration path that involves going from physical and virtual network function – in which they run a traditional monolithic application – to microservices that are running on containers. This transition will also extend the current hybrid environment, which consists of physical and virtual network functions, with microservices running on containers. To add on to this complexity, we will still have a multivendor environment, similar to what we see today when customers virtualize their application. CSPs need to deploy it in their multivendor environment. They require open and interworking solutions to prevent vendor lock in, minimizing their costs and swap outs, and at the same time they need to leverage their current infrastructure. This will require the orchestration layers, as well as the infrastructures to be agnostic with adequate performance levels to run in multivendor environments.
Cloud native and the journey to adopt this technology clearly sets certain requirements on your operation and orchestration capabilities. We at Ericsson are very much aligned with the industry requirements, have a deep understanding of what cloud native will bring to the industry as well as a vast experience working with orchestration. We have built our Ericsson orchestrator and are preparing it for future requirements based on this knowledge.
Find out more about how to prepare your management layer for cloud native applications or simply extend your orchestration capabilities for 5G and a hybrid network environment:
Read more about Ericsson Dynamic Orchestration