Partners and ecosystems power the Linux Foundation's unique live 5G Cloud Native demonstration
Recently, under the aegis of the Linux Foundation, more than 80 volunteers, including telcos, developers, manufacturers, vendors and other member companies collaborated to provide and build all the elements needed to demonstrate a live, working 5G Cloud Native Proof of Concept, the first ever of its kind.
Heather Kirksey explains that bringing together such a diverse set of people would have been a massive and almost unmanageable logistical challenge were it not for the Linux Foundation's long-established, proven, trusted and very strong collaborative framework. She told TelecomTV, "Partners and ecosystems were vitally important to the process that saw the industry working together to build the network of the future. That they were able to do so to such a short timetable and with so much co-ordination across multiple networks and multiple continents is a testament to the power of community."
Traditionally the progression of telecoms and telcos has been as stately and measured as that of a galleon tacking its way across the globe on a gentle breeze. However, the emergence of cloud native technologies and strategies is blowing a much stronger wind into the sails and the industry is moving much more quickly to counter and outflank the hyperscalers that have been scudding over the waves and kicking up a heavy wake in recent times.
It's a step in the right direction but, as Heather Kirksey points out, further improvement would be to bring some more evident and formalised intentionality into the industry's decision-making process because "there's a difference between moving gracefully and being dead in the water."
Her advice to new-to-cloud-native network operators wanting to take advantage of the technology whilst developing their own strategies to exploit the potential benefits of 5G and next generation networks is threefold: First, do not make the mistake of using containers as yet another proxy for traditional telco devices; Second, embrace more application-oriented cloud network design paradigms; Third, take advantage of and fully use the Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CICD) method of application design and deployment.
Turning to the length of time it is taking for NFV and VNFs fully to realise their potential, Heather Kirksey accepts there has been a tendency for the industry to treat VNFs as if they are no more than software-based devices but believes the ascendancy of cloud native will result in the emergence of a true application- and agility-oriented way of doing business that was the original premise and promise of NFV.
Also within the context of NFV, the OPNFV's OVP verification programme provides services providers with enhanced risk management assurances and increases their confidence levels because applications and products being deployed in networks have been properly tested. In that very respect the Linux Foundation has just launched a new initiative focusing on the use of compliance, verification and cloud native to help service providers and network operators to be agility- and applications-oriented whilst still being able to meet regulatory requirements and interoperability needs.
Asked about the what she'd like to see happening next as a result of the success of the cloud native proof of concept, Heather Kirksey singles out the solution of the operationalisation and upstream challenges that must be resolved as soon as possible to enable the adoption and deployment of 5G networks by worldwide global operators. Wouldn't we all?
Filmed at: TelecomTV Studios, London, December 2019
To view the VCO 3.0 Feature please click here: World's first prototype network E2E 5G Cloud Native with Open Source components demonstrated live