There is no 5G Core without Cloud Infrastructure

Cloud Infrastructure for 5G

How can service providers best build an open telco cloud infrastructure for 5G to introduce services quickly with low risk? And how can infrastructure be evolved to support cloud native applications and edge computing for new business opportunities?

What is Cloud Infrastructure?

Cloud infrastructure makes it possible for various applications, for example telco, operations supports systems, business support systems and IoT, to share infrastructure resources for their needs. The infrastructure resources consist of compute, network and storage. The cloud infrastructure capacity is dynamically allocated to meet applications’ needs.

Cloud infrastructure reduces time to market for new services and makes it easier to manage services with shorter lifespan. It will, for instance, allow new services to be launched quickly to test the market demand, and if the services don’t fly, they can be phased out just as easily. Common management of the cloud infrastructure will also play a critical role in enabling new advanced services and increase operational efficiency.

A foundational concept in cloud infrastructure is virtualization, which decouples hardware (compute, network and storage resources) from the applications and creates a pool of the infrastructure resources which are shared by the applications. Virtualization software is used to achieve this resource pooling. In the telecom world, network functions virtualization, or NFV, is the process to transform the operator network into a virtualized or cloud-based infrastructure.

In the past, communication service providers (CSPs) have deployed systems where only one or a few applications use dedicated infrastructure resources. These systems (physical network functions) are still broadly used but being replaced over time with cloud-based solutions. The virtualization journey is now continuing with the introduction of cloud native technology. This development makes it possible to deploy cloud native applications on so called bare metal infrastructure using containers. Cloud native technology further simplifies operations and reduces lead times for new applications. It is expected that cloud native infrastructure will co-exist with NFV infrastructure for a long time.

Benefits of Cloud Infrastructure

Benefits of Cloud Infrastructure

Cloud infrastructure provides several benefits to communication service providers:

  • Costs for infrastructure resources will be lower since applications share the resources instead of using dedicated capacity.
  • Operations and management of one common infrastructure is more efficient than many individual application specific systems.
  • The time to deploy applications will be shorter since the cloud infrastructure including its hardware and software components is already in place.
  • Cloud infrastructure in combination with development tools and API (Application Programming Interface) exposure of network assets enables developers to innovate and bring new applications to end users quicker.

Cloud Infrastructure and 5G

With the introduction of 5G, the mobile network enables a vast number of new services, for example due to shorter latency and higher bandwidth in the network.

Cloud native technology and edge computing are corner stones for the cloud infrastructure in 5G. Edge computing provides distributed cloud infrastructure resources closer to the location where it is needed and targets new business opportunities which provide support for specific use cases. Some examples of use case areas are augmented and virtual reality, smart manufacturing and online-gaming.

When cloud infrastructure is distributed closer to where data traffic is used and consumed, it has to be more compact, autonomous and efficient since the equipment often has to be installed in remote and demanding physical locations with regards to available space, high (or low) temperature, vibration, dust and humidity.

Key features to our Cloud Infrastructure transformation philosophy

Ultimately, everyone needs cloud infrastructure, and with 5G the need accelerates. To support service providers’ cloud infrastructure transformation, from physical network functions to a cloud native environment, we have built in experience and competence into our solution. The following key features are foundational in our philosophy:

System-verified

Hardware and software components are pre-integrated and thoroughly tested. We take full e2e responsibility for the system.

Optimized

The system is optimized for telco workloads securing high performance and throughput while minimizing the need for hardware and software licenses.

Cloud native

The solution supports cloud native applications in both a virtualized and bare metal infrastructure environment for fast 5G core deployment.

Open

Hardware options from several vendors as well as open orchestration APIs are available. A partner VNF certification program secures openness towards a vast number of third-party applications. The solution is based on open source projects such as OpenStack and CNCF.

Solution life cycle management

We have verified procedures for solution release handling including expansions, upgrades and security updates, aligned with Ericsson’s application system verification roadmap. This means that the system verified value is carried forward release by release.

Common e2e management

Common e2e management - Central e2e monitoring system and lifecycle automation of both software and hardware layers resulting in efficient operations and low TCO is provided.

Communication service providers need to increase service agility, operational efficiency and lower their costs by using cloud infrastructure while maintaining telecom grade quality of service, security and performance. Through our experience of working with cloud solutions, we have developed a philosophy for how cloud infrastructure should be designed and deployed. It addresses service providers’ challenges by delivering system verified cloud infrastructure solutions, which work out of the box. Ericsson has more than 190 cloud infrastructure customers across the world including leading service providers such as Swisscom, Telefónica, Wind Tre, Telstra, DOCOMO, Telkomsel and XL Axiata. We believe that our 140+ live deployments of cloud infrastructure solutions prove our capabilities in this area.

NFVI

Ericsson NFVI has been commercially deployed for several years and is a high performing telco-grade cloud platform, which runs telecom, operations support systems, business support systems, media and many types of IT and IoT applications. Ericsson has deployed a vast number of live installations on all continents with CSPs and is enabling them to be frontrunners in the race towards 5G.

Our solution is now being evolved with edge deployment and cloud native application capabilities to make service providers ready for demanding consumer and enterprise use cases. Learn more about NFVI and Edge NFVI.

NFVI

Cloud native infrastructure on bare metal is the future

Looking ahead we are introducing a bare metal cloud infrastructure called Ericsson Cloud Native Infrastructure solution (CNIS). This solution is a natural result of the shift the industry is going through from virtualized network functions to cloud native applications. Running applications on an infrastructure with fewer layers in the stack (without virtualization layer) leads to higher resource utilization and simplified operations.

Ericsson estimates that the TCO savings for deploying applications on a bare metal cloud compared to a virtualized infrastructure can be as high as 30 percent, depending on application and configuration.

Read this blog post to find out more about the benefits running Kubernetes on a bare metal cloud infrastructure compared to a virtualized infrastructure.

Read more on bare metal cloud infrastructure

Explore our solutions

Ericsson NFVI

Deploy virtual network functions (VNFs) or cloud native functions (CNFs) from multiple vendors.

Ericsson Edge NFVI

Seize the opportunities promised by 5G use cases, closer to the devices they service.

VNF certification

Service for validating and certifying that your VNFs work smoothly on Ericsson NFVI.

Ericsson Cloud Native Infrastructure

System-verified bare metal CaaS infrastructure for cloud native applications.

Learn more

Want to know more?