I recently had the honour of hosting and moderating a two part HPE Evolve pilot series of live-stream events with the amazing team at HPE Asia Pacific ( HPEAPAC ) – this is the second in the series, “Empowering Infrastructure and Operations to Manage Kubernetes”.
Tune in now and “push play” to discover how your business can adopt the right solutions to run at start-up speeds.
New application development environments are complex, which results in additional time, effort, and specialised skills being required of teams that could otherwise be spent achieving business goals.
The leading disruptive technology easing these concerns is containers powered by Kubernetes. Globally, enterprises are driving towards container adoption for the promise of:
+ Faster application development
+ Easier revisions and updates
+ Less system overhead
+ More platform independence
+ Broader scalability.
Managing Kubernetes to Empowering Infrastructure & Operations
Unfortunately, managing Kubernetes powered container environments can cause as many challenges as it solves. As a solution, HPE Pointnext Services and VMware are partnering to help organisations modernise their hybrid infrastructure with the introduction of enterprise ready Kubernetes alongside other technology platforms.
Now, you can unleash the full potential of your teams by leveraging combined expertise and services that enable rapid deployment, efficient and secure operations of Kubernetes infrastructure, regulatory compliance, and optimised containers across public and private cloud.
Thank you to the amazing team for making this possible, in particular:
+ David Brown – Head of Cloud Technology Partners, HPE APAC
+ Dez Blanchfield – Founder CEO, Sociaall Inc
+ Michael Draper – Director, Technical Cloud Solutions, HPE
+ Suganthi Krishnavathi – Platform Architect, VMware Tanzu
+ Andrew Farmer – Presales Lead, HPE APAC
+ Sam Speakman – Technical PreSales, HPE APAC
This video was made in partnership with HPE APAC.
For more information on on containers visit:
Why containers will drive transformations in the 2020s:
How containers and open source Kubernetes accelerate innovation:
9 tips for moving code to microservices:
Why DevSecOps approach is key to mainstream container use:
Why cloud-native open source Kubernetes matters:
To unleash the full potential of 5G, it’s time to look beyond 5G Core
Unless you’ve been weathering the storm that is the year 2020 on some secluded remote island (in which case, lucky you, got room for one more?), you will no doubt have heard of the latest wireless broadband and cellular network standard known as 5G.
5G is the Fifth Generation of mobile network technology standards developed & published by 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the telecommunications standards organisations which develop protocols for mobile telecommunications. 5G is the planned successor to 4G/LTE networks which provide connectivity to the majority of today’s telecommunication service provider networks around the world (refer to the reference links at the end, for a summary of all five telecom generations).
As a result of working within the telecommunications industry, I have witnessed first-hand the transformation and impact of 5G since mobile service providers worldwide began rolling it out circa 2019. As those of you who follow my articles, interviews and social posts can attest, I am convinced 5G is already changing the world. My own “daily driver” smartphone is a 5G enabled and activated device.
The impact is already being seen across key market segments, from end user and consumer markets to small/medium business, large enterprise, state and federal governments alike – as most of you have most likely already heard me say before, 5G is not “just another G”, it is an entirely new family of technical standards which define and make possible high speed, low latency, high bandwidth / throughput / density, massively scalable, flexible, dynamic and secure networking architectures, the likes of which we have never seen.
As with all such new and innovative technologies, there is enormous interest for telco & -Communication Service Provider (CSP) organisations to join the 5G marketplace early, to establish a market lead and gain early technical or commercial benefits.
A substantial number of leading communication service providers around the globe have already successfully launched various B2C or B2B products and services, based on 5G New Radio (NR) non-standalone (NSA) and existing Evolved Packet Core (EPC) networks. 5G-enabled smartphones or devices of some form are rapidly becoming the norm, and consumers are showing readiness to move to 5G where coverage is available.
I pay particular attention to the leading telecommunications vendors supporting CSPs on their 5G journey. In fact, Ericsson Digital recently announced they have over one hundred (118) 5G agreements signed and in play supporting 72 live 5G networks worldwide, highlighting how rapidly mobile carriers are moving to adopt 5G in some form.
Driven by both consumer demand and market opportunity, telcos and CSPs alike now face the immediate challenge of unlocking the full potential of 5G and taking the natural evolutionary steps to transition to and evolve to NR standalone (SA) and 5G Core (5GC).
Interested parties such as telcos, carriers, and CSPs and enterprise businesses of all shapes and sizes should become familiar with what 5G is, where this new technology fits, and how best they can approach it from early strategy and planning through to design, development, and deployment. It’s a big topic, and it needs appropriate attention to detail.
New “How to” guides released by Ericsson on 5G core networks
Ericsson Digital have developed a powerful library of knowledge to address the most pressing business and technology questions that decision-makers have around 5G. Their newest addition is a series of guides covering the six strategic areas CSPs should consider when building an e2e cloud native 5G core network:
- 5G Voice
- 5G Core
- Cloud infrastructure
- Automation and orchestration
- Operations and management
- Network security
I’ve read them all (multiple times) and have key takeaways on each topic for you. I strongly suggest downloading the series (see Further Reading below). My goal for you is to be informed and empowered, to be ready and able to develop appropriate strategies and plans, and to see your organisation successfully deploy and manage the type of cloud-native 5G core solutions required to secure your future success in this rapidly emerging model for telecommunications, carrier, and service provider business and technology.
Especially in the post-pandemic world and remote-first working environments, consumers are looking for highly reliable, always-on digital voice communications. Demand for video calls, high speed data, applications of mixed media, music streaming, video streaming and more will only accelerate – and that’s just the consumer side.
With the fourth industrial revolution well underway, demand for secure and reliable enterprise connectivity solutions will scale exponentially with new sensors feeding information and data being processed and relayed back within milliseconds. Enterprise companies also require high-quality, reliable and flexible mobile voice and communication services, to communicate effectively within their own company, as well as with customers and partners.
The IP Multimedia Subsystem or IMS is the magic component enabling mobile 5G voice and communication services. Widely used for VoLTE today, the IMS also supports efficient 5G Voice deployment. Telcos can begin their 5G voice journey with Ericsson’s existing cloud automated IMS, before evolving to cloud native IMS with improved total cost of ownership (TCO) and faster time-to-market. Between core, IMS and radio network functionality, Ericsson has all the pieces in place to enable CSPs to introduce 5G Voice. Reference the “5G voice network evolution” guide to learn more.
4G isn’t going away overnight. CSPs need to simultaneously introduce 5G services while continuing their 4G operations. Managing that total cost requires an integration solution and a migration path to cloud-native. Ericsson’s solution for this is called ‘dual-mode 5G Core’.
It’s built on cloud-native, micro-services based technology and combines Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and 5G Core (5GC) network functions into a common multi-access and cloud-native platform that supports 5G and as well as previous generations. This makes it much easier to migrate to 5G and to reduce total core network cost of ownership during the migration phase.
In Ericsson’s new series of guides, you’ll find two relating to 5G Core: “One core – the best of two worlds” and “Building a new world, evolving from EPC to 5G Core.” Within you will find the architectural description and business justification for embarking on the 5G journey.
Network functions virtualisation (NFV) started back in 2012 and many CSPs are now ready to evolve significant parts of their telco cloud infrastructure to cloud-native. Cloud-native spans application design and development to technology and infrastructure, processes and ways of working, and management and orchestration.
The process usually involves technology from multiple vendors, which means that an open-source ecosystem is required. Moving to cloud-native means shifting to a micro-services model and a DevOps framework utilising CI/CD and container-based software.
And, for 5G, it also means shifting to a shared infrastructure with orchestrated network slices to efficiently deploy multiple services. Service orchestration is an automated framework for rapidly designing, creating, delivering and monitoring new service offerings. Network slicing involves digital partitioning of the infrastructure to group specific characteristics and capabilities according to the business case or SLA.
In their “Cloud native transformation” guide, Ericsson outlines five design principles to follow when designing cloud native telecom applications. And, in the “Building a cloud native infrastructure” guide, Ericsson guides us across the multi-year journey of evolving the cloud infrastructure, by adding a container-as-a-service (CaaS) layer, based on Kubernetes, to support cloud native network functions.
Automation and Orchestration
Automation and orchestration both deserve deeper understanding, as they are core to operating a digital network infrastructure. Automation and orchestration are the digital building blocks that create the agile platform enabling 5G capabilities. Ericsson defines network automation as “the process of automatically deploying, configuring, orchestrating and assuring network functions and services using software.”
The distribution, scale and complexity of 5G network functions will be incredible, far beyond human capability to manage, and they will have to be constantly optimised, across every event impacting a service.
Automated orchestration calculates and executes the appropriate steps while maintaining service intent via ongoing closed-loop monitoring. It uses AI/ML to perform and improve operations to create an intelligent network. The Ericsson Dynamic Orchestration model is multi-vendor and standards based, which means it’s applicable to any network, IT or cloud service. Let that sink in.
I advise starting with the “Ericsson Dynamic Orchestration” guide first, to see the automation workflow, and then absorb the “zero-touch” benefit and the “TCO benefits.”
Operations and Management
By this point you’ve grasped the enormity of this transformation and you’re contemplating the internal changes required to culture, structure and operations. You’re correct – it’s massive. Fortunately, this is a collaborative effort and thousands of hours have already gone in to documenting best practices for making the transition.
Ericsson’s guide to “Transformation operations on the way to 5G” highlights why CSPs should define their strategies; what are the challenges they will face on a cloud native network; what should they consider when defining their strategies in the operations and management areas and which solutions are available to support them.
The journey is not linear. Each telco arrives with different strategic advantages and business opportunities. Exploit that knowledge up front by purposefully staggering the journey and prioritising the capabilities required to support the most important use cases. And at the risk of repeating myself, join the partner ecosystem. This is not a single-vendor or single-provider environment. Lean on infrastructure providers to accelerate your transformation, support the standards organisations and collaborate with the larger telco industry.
As I wrote in an earlier blog post (see Further Reading links below), 5G creates an entirely new cybersecurity minefield that must be addressed as part of the digital network design and creation process. Billions of new devices (remember, Industry 4.0 will far surpass consumer applications in terms of 5G usage models) and new deployment scenarios will come face to face with rising security threats and increasing regulatory requirements.
The level of risk will be both ever-changing and ever-increasing. “Building secure and trustworthy networks and services depends on all layers, says Ericsson: “mobile network standardisation, implementation of secure products, network deployment and operation are all essential.”
As with automated orchestration, security will also require automation to support compliance, threat detection and response. I strongly recommend reading Ericsson’s guide “Mastering complete 5G network security” as well as reviewing their integrated packet core firewall solution. In fact, you may also enjoy watching the Spotlight video series on 5G Core where I interview Anders Lundstrom, Victor Ferraro Esparza, Folke Anger and Yasir Liaqatullah from A10 Networks about security and other essential 5G Core topics.
SD WAN Technology Explained – SD WAN in Networking
AT&T has 300 plus Petabytes of data traversing its network every day. With companies and applications moving to the cloud, the influx of data and devices is pushing the limits of traditional Wide Area Network (WAN) architectures, making it nearly impossible for traditional networks to keep up with workload requirements.
What is SD WAN Technology
Software-defined networking on the WAN (SD-WAN), however, has enabled businesses to improve performance, reduce costs, and provide robust security. It’s a cloud-scale, software-driven architecture that routes traffic around blockages, provides application performance, and adapts to changing conditions—all without direct IT intervention.
Recently, I had the privilege of speaking with Rupesh Chokshi the Assistant Vice President Edge Solutions and Product Marketing Management for AT&T Business. The Enterprise Edge team is transforming services and networks using software defined networking (SDN), network function virtualisation (NFV) and SD-WAN technologies.
Rupesh explained that the beauty of SD-WAN is that it allows customers to harness the power of the cloud. With SD-WAN enterprises can enable applications in minutes, on any platform, with highly consistent, usually predictable performance. SD-WAN also helps to optimise the WAN, which means better experiences for customers and employees.
SD-WAN optimises software-as-a-service (SaaS) performance for Office 365, Salesforce, and other cloud-based apps. It also delivers virtually seamless connectivity to the cloud to simplify workflows for many customers—including application-aware policies that allow real-time enforcement for cloud and on-premises solutions.
Key customer drivers are security, agility, elasticity, resiliency, rapid deployment – networking platforms are the enablers for business/digital transformation.
SD-WAN is part of an ecosystem of products and services which create an end-to-end solution for AT&T’s customers. Rupesh says AT&T’s vision is to provide customers with an “edge to edge” solution, which involves five key focus areas coming together:
- First, the network underlay is the critical foundation; it’s the core network. It’s about matching transport technology like Wireless/5G, Ethernet, MPLS, and Internet to the site application performance and cost requirements. (site typing).
- Second, the network overlay is dynamic and application aware, providing application flow controls, like, SD-WAN.
- Third, on the edge is infrastructure virtualisation. This is becoming the default architecture going forward, such as AT&T FlexWare.
- Next is the cloud which is becoming increasingly hybrid across public and private environments requiring multiple ways to interconnect.
- And then, security. Rupesh made me laugh when he says that SD-WAN and security go together “like peanut butter and jelly!” But he’s right – security is top of mind for all businesses and AT&T Cybersecurity solutions create a virtually seamless and easy way to manage security across the entire portfolio.
These elements become the connective fabric enabling companies to move their data virtually seamlessly, reduce complexity, foster innovation, and deliver on the promise of digital transformation.
The primary value proposition of SD-WAN is to enable enterprises to intelligently connect with high security any site to any cloud at scale. The first-generation deployments were focused on delivery of agile WAN connectivity, increasing reach while decreasing operational complexity. Now, customers are expecting more – they want to use SD-WAN to deliver a range of IT services with high end-to-end security.
Key business benefits of an SD-WAN deployment include:
- Reduced network costs, as customers no longer need to rely on static, expensive, private links; and instead can use a combination of private and public links;
- Increased agility, as network policies can be centrally defined and applied to edge devices;
- Rapid deployment of branch sites, as the edge device comes with zero-touch orchestration that can be set up in minutes, and the branch can be operational using wireless links; and
- Application-aware routing feature of SD-WAN enables the customers’ network administrators to optimise cloud connectivity, as the edge device recognises traffic that can be sent directly to the cloud over internet links, versus that which is intra-network and can go over public or private links.
Challenges for CXOs
Businesses need to adopt highly efficient, high-performing networks to take advantage of the newest technology and bandwidth needs. Automation is a great example of this. As customers require more bandwidth, AT&T intends to provide more elegant solutions to take full advantage of more ubiquitous, high-speed broadband.
Additionally, while digital transformation is top of mind for businesses of all sizes and in every industry, dynamic SD-WAN is beginning to mature in the marketplace. Hybrid WAN designs will continue to be popular as customers begin their modernisation. A provider that has a history steeped in managed services is becoming increasingly essential.
Rupesh says that AT&T’s competitive portfolio, global reach, and ability to scale operations allow delivery of comprehensive solutions with a best-in-class managed experience. Whether customers are looking to control costs, enable greater network agility, or increase network security and reliability, they are literally supported “edge to edge”.
Customers are moving more applications into the cloud and with AT&T SD-WAN, they are experiencing the ultimate solution for cloud integration. They’re also seeking a universally available, highly resilient, and redundant network to realise the benefits of AT&T SD-WAN, which provides them with the ability to run their business and serve their customers virtually 24X7.
Rupesh says it’s an exciting time to be in SD-WAN and thinks the future looks bright. He’s also excited about the ability to provide enhanced security for end points and applying the intelligence to deliver the traffic as he describes a future of “self-healing autonomous networks.” All of which sounds magical to me.
For more on this click the link below for my full video interview with Rupech Chokshi.
Cloud native applications & NFVI evolution: a Roadmap webinar briefing
I love 5G and NFV as you know, I live and breathe Telco and Mobile and Enterprise Mobility on a daily basis (some might say 24 hours a day), and as one of the hats I wear professionally is that of market analyst, I am constantly watching all aspects of this complex and rapidly evolving market and the positive impact it is having on existing as well as new and emerging business models.
In doing so, being kept up to date by some of the biggest brands in the world is critical. Being party to Ericsson Digital’s digitalisation journey has been nothing short of amazing and I am continuously humbled and grateful for the inside view they afford me.
Jonas Falkena &Tamas Zsrios talk about Ericsson Mobility Report
An example of that was when I had the pleasure of having Cecilia Atterwall (VP & Head of Marketing & Communications for Networks at Ericsson) and Thomas Noren (VP & Head of 5G Commercialisation at Ericsson), on my podcast as featured guests on the same show together, to talk about the latest data from the Ericsson Mobility Report, all things 5G Marketing & Commercialisation, the Telco industry, the emergence and impact of 5G.
As I have regularly reported to my followers, readers, listeners and viewers, in blogs, podcasts, video interviews and live streams combined, Ericsson have not only transformed their *own* organisation first, such that I have regularly described Ericsson as being “their own first customer”, but they had the foresight and objectivity to be able to document what the journey looks like, from end to end, “closing the loop” as I like to describe it – to pull it apart and put it back together from the telecommunications (telco) service provider’s perspective. That’s nothing short of amazing.
And at the same time, Ericsson are playing a key thought leadership role in supporting #CloudNative and #OpenSource, an endeavour I recently discussed at length with Gareth Price, Practice Head, for Europe & Latin America across Core, Cloud & Security Consulting at Ericsson when he was a featured guest on my podcast show ( be sure to tune into that episode of Conversations with Dez for the insights we shared during that fireside chat ).
It takes enormous strength and company-wide fortitude to stare into the exciting but largely unmapped and unknown future and develop a strategy, supporting plans, and roadmap to lead and inspire an industry and the various related markets. It takes surviving the potential minefield of digital transformation, industry disruption, the pivot from physical, through virtual and then into cloud in the form of software defined “everything.” And THEN, as part of that journey, to be able to develop awareness, education, and engagement such that you can encourage an entire community to adopt change and then undertake the work to build forward into it? That is exactly what Ericsson have done, and are still doing.
With the support and strength of Ericsson’s leadership, we will ALL manifest what #Digital has to offer #Telco’s in the way of #5G and beyond, and the harmonious, transparent, collaborative approach will deliver results far greater than any singularly profit-motivated strategy ever could. I had the opportunity to have Anders Rosengren, Head of Architecture and Technology at Ericsson Digital Services on my podcast show to discuss a number of these exciting spaces from Cloud, Cloud Native, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, through to Software Defined Infrastructure (#SDI).
Thus it is with all of this in mind, that through this blog, I have the great pleasure of sharing and responding to the insights shared by two of the world’s most formidable #5G & #Cloud Native architecture experts in this space, Jonas Falkenå and Tamas Zsiros of Ericsson Digital.
I not only encourage you to register and take in their awesome webinar format update and briefing, but I would recommend you schedule time in your diary to do it justice, and tune into their webinar briefing, ideally bring a friend or colleague / co-worker or two ( or three or more ) and arm yourself with a notepad and pen to “take notes”, perhaps “host it” as a team activity in a meeting room, as it’s not often we get to hear so many great updates directly from the architects themselves.
On a related note, I actually had the pleasure of having Jonas on my podcast show for of my one-on-one fireside chats, this one about many of the key topics this webinar briefing covers; you can listen to that conversation here.
If you’ve tuned in to any of my podcasts with Ericsson’s other Cloud Native thought leaders, you’ll find those conversations to be great footing for this latest webinar briefing from Jonas Falkenå and Tamas Zsiros.
In particular I do recommend you tune into my conversations with Anders Rosengren and Peter Worndle. In fact, digitalisation is a constant throughout my Transmissions from Tomorrow themed podcast shows featuring many of the amazing subject matter experts from Ericsson. Also make sure to read the series of blogs I wrote in response to Ericsson’s NFV thought leadership, as you’ll get a more architecture-first perspective there.
Ericsson has built an entirely digital, largely cloud-native architecture centred on automation, a topic I had the opportunity to discuss with Fernanda Mendez, Vice President and Head of Management Orchestration & CENX at Ericsson as a featured guest on my podcast recently – in particular the automation provided by Ericsson’s Dynamic Orchestration, Cloud Deployment Engine & Ericsson Orchestrator.
Going digital creates speed; going cloud native creates scale; going open source creates giga-scale. It’s this software-driven environment that makes network slicing possible, which in turn opens up an incredible array of business opportunities for enterprise-specific services, so long as you have a digitized business system (BSS) to monetise the new business cases and a dynamic orchestration operations systems (OSS), which Ericsson has built as well. These capacities together form the digital infrastructure that creates what at the surface we call 5G.
What are Cloud Native Applications
In this latest webinar briefing by Jonas and Tamas, they focus on the applications themselves and their transformation to Cloud Native, and as well as how the cloud infrastructure and APIs need to evolve in support (as indeed, they do). It’s an engineer’s perspective framed by guiding principles (they have five) and essential building blocks (Kubernetes). As they remind us, “a cloud native application has to be agnostic to the underlying infrastructure,” be it IaaS or Kubernetes CaaS.
Image: The cloud native design principles guiding Ericsson Digital
So why would Ericsson share this kind of window into their engineering principles? Because they are working very hard to bring us all along on the transformation journey. Whether you’re an engineer or are business-decision focused, I recommend tuning into this briefing by Jonas and Tamas, it’s truly a back door view into how these architectures are being built. As they say, “if you understand the core principles, you understand not just the deliverables of the moment but what we’re building for tomorrow”.
Here are some of the key reference materials I mentioned above, all are worthy of your time and attention in my humble opinion. I would also like to convey a huge thank you to the team at Ericsson for making all of possible and I look forward to sharing further updates with you soon.
For more information, follow these links:
- Cloud native tutorial with Jonas Falkenå and Tamas Zsiros of Ericsson Digital
- the episode of my podcast featuring Jonas Falkenå, of Ericsson Digital
- “Why you should be taking note of cloud native NFVI” – cloud native blogpost with Mats Johansson of Ericsson Digital
- “Is cloud native design really needed in telecom?” – cloud native blogpost with Mats Johansson of Ericsson Digital
- Top five #Telcom #Futurecasting podcasts of 2019 (compiled by of Ericsson Digital)
- the episode of my podcast show featuring Peter Worndle, NFV expert at EricssonDigital
- the episode of my podcast show featuring Anders Rosengren, head of Architecture & Technology at Ericsson Digital
- my eight part Network Function Virtualisation ( NFV ) blog series
- Automation and AI e-Brief
- BSS monetisation systems
- Dynamic orchestration OSS http://bit.ly/DS_DO19
- Network Slicing
- ONAP open-source white-paper
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