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What is cloud native?

Cloud native is transforming the telecom industry

Explore the details here

Cloud native applications

Cloud native is key to position the communication service providers (CSP’s) for the requirements of the emerging business landscape of 5G and later 6G. Capabilities such as Speed of change, Flexibility are pivotal to meet demands of improved time to market of new innovative services. Improved Efficiency and Automation is key to manage cost in an increasingly complex network and service offering. So what’s needed for CSPs to implement and capture the benefits of cloud native in their networks and support systems ? Find out below.

What is cloud native?

Cloud native explained

Cloud Native is a term that can describe the patterns of organizations, architectures and technologies that consistently, reliably and at scale fully take advantage of the possibilities of the cloud to support cloud-oriented business models. ​

Cloud Native can be described as a combination of best practices that have been seen from companies such as Netflix, Twitter, Alibaba, Uber, Facebook and alike. Practices include, but are not limited to, continuous deployment, containers and microservices to help achieve the elastic scaling capabilities, speed of introducing new functionality and increased automation needed to cater for an unpredictable competitive landscape. So, the overall goal is to be able to adapt, and adapt quickly and cost efficiently.​

Why is cloud native important? What are the benefits?

There are several benefits, but it drills down to operational efficiency and shorter time to market for new services, as the software is both more decoupled from the underlaying hardware, and decomposed into smaller components. This allows for faster and more automated upgrades, aka CI/CD (continuous integration and continues deployment).

Cloud native applications

What are cloud native applications?

A fundamental principle of a cloud native application (CNA) is to decompose software into smaller, more manageable pieces. This is usually done through utilizing microservice architecture. This is a design pattern that strives to structure an application as a collection of loosely coupled stateless services and stateful backing services. This concept is not new. It has always been good practice to divide code into more manageable pieces, whether this is referred to as “microservices”, “subroutines”, “code modules” or “software components”. What is new, however, is that each piece has a well-bounded scope and can now be individually deployed, scaled and upgraded using a CaaS environment. In addition, microservices communicate through well-defined and version controlled network-based interfaces.

Benefits of using cloud native applications

Once implemented and compared to VNFs we will see:

  • Improve granularity and increase speed of software upgrades and releases
  • Automate through embedded features in the CaaS layer (Container as a service)
  • Adapt software architecture to make much better use of cloud data center resources

Cloud native in telecom

Cloud native transformation for telcos

In the telecommunications sector, many operators and vendors are embracing cloud native technologies. Although they’ve been adopted among public cloud and IT players for some time, there are some different challenges for the telecoms industry. One is that applications must be able to run on different infrastructures as most service providers have bespoke configurations.  

The four main areas impacted by its adoption are:

  • Application design and development
  • Technology and infrastructure
  • Processes and ways of working
  • Management and orchestration

These four aspects do not exist in isolation. They all influence each other, and so none of them should be overlooked at any point in time. For example, if applications, infrastructure and orchestration all follow cloud-native design patterns, yet the ways of working and organizational setup and model does not take advantage of the cloud-native setup, the full potential will not be reached.

Cloud native ways of working

Embracing cloud native technologies means more than just adopting new tools; it necessitates a fundamental shift in CSPs’ ways of working. Traditional telecom operating models cannot realize the full value of cloud-native implementation. To unlock this value CSPs need to create new processes built on a high degree of automation, DevOps, form cross-functional teams and prioritize continuous learning and upskilling.​

Explore the key steps to transform your operations and tap into Ericsson’s firsthand experience working with CSPs on a global scale.​

Ericsson cloud native

Ericsson cloud native applications

At Ericsson, we have created a set of principles especially made for telecom applications based on microservices, containers and state optimized design. Take full advantage of the cloud to:​

  • Improve granularity and increase speed of software upgrades and releases​
  • Automate through embedded features in the NFVI layer (cloud infrastructure for NFV)​
  • Adapt software architecture to make much better use of cloud data center resources​

When it comes to 5G, the new 3GPP standardized 5G Core functions are cloud native and container based. This have started 2019 and has been deployed globally since then. We also evolve the NFVI for containers and add orchestration capabilities continously.​

With our design principles as foundation we've launched the new Ericsson Cloud Native Infrastructure solution: an infrastructure fully optimized for cloud native application, which is an essential part of 5G.​

What could cloud native mean for you? | Video | 2 min.

Ericsson Cloud native infrastructure

Cloud native infrastructure and foundation | Video | 2 min.

The new revenue generating services in the 5G, imposes a paradigm shift as the core network now needs to support cloud native network functions and container-based software. This is done by introducing a CNCF (Cloud native computing foundation) certified CaaS (Container as a service) platform based on Kubernetes.

We recommend service providers introduce a new Kubernetes over bare-metal infrastructure for cloud-native applications. This solution will have a simpler stack and make better use of the underlying hardware compared to virtualized infrastructure, enabling more efficient CI/CD capabilities and providing a long-term architecture for the telco cloud.

As an option, the existing NFVI can be complemented with a CaaS platform. This option allows for the possibility of running VM-based applications in parallel with cloud-native applications and is beneficial if the current NFVI is a stable multi-VNF telco cloud.

Get inspired by SK Telecom cloud-native journey, with the world first live bare-metal cloud-native 5G Core solution. Read how they strengthened their 5G network operation capabilities and flexibility, significantly improving traffic processing. Read case study here.


Building a cloud native 5G Core | Guide series

Explore our useful guide series and watch an on-demand webinar  to help you work out the best way and understand all of the different domains that will be impacted throughout the transformation journey to a cloud native 5G Core.

How Cloud Native can revolutionize the industry

TelecomTV asks Carlos Bravo to highlight key benefits of cloud native for operators and the industry, but also more on the pace of adoption and transformation in our industry as well as to explain where do we see the biggest hurdles for the cloud native transformation

Video interview courtesy of TelecomTV

Cloud-native transformation

There are four key areas for you as service provider to consider, to make your cloud-native transformation successful: application design, technology and infrastructure, ways of working and process and tools in management and orchestration. In this video Peter Wörndle, Senior Expert Deployment Architectures, shares his learnings and goes through each area.

Shaping Swisscom’s technology landscape with the Ericsson Orchestrator Cloud Manager

The partnership between Swisscom and Ericsson drives development. Through close cooperation and an open exchange of ideas and requirements, Swisscom has played a pivotal role in shaping the development of the Ericsson Orchestrator, resulting in enhancements to frequent and critical operations.

Automating telecom software deployment with GitOps

A declarative, GitOps-based approach to software delivery and deployment enables communication service providers to increase automation and speed up the introduction of new features and updates – including security fixes – into their networks.

Read more in the Ericsson Technical Review article

Explore our related offerings

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Core Network

Accelerate to 5G & IoT and achieve a new level of flexibility to explore new revenue streams via network slicing and cloud native design principles.

Cloud RAN by Ericsson

Cloud RAN will enable CSPs to add greater flexibility and versatility to their networks. It is a cloud-native software solution, that will handle compute functionality in radio access networks.


CI/CD is the cornerstone of true digital transformation. With CI/CD, delivery processes for new software versions and services can be automated – dramatically improving time-to-market and service agility.

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