VMware has launched a ‘made for 5G’ Telco Cloud Platform

Ian Scales
By Ian Scales

Sep 2, 2020

via Flickr © szeke (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via Flickr © szeke (CC BY-SA 2.0)

  • The pitch is that it provides a necessary balance between NFV and cloud native approaches as telcos transition to  5G
  • It will run containerised workloads across private, telco, edge and public clouds
  • That capability is going to be essential as cloud requirements grow, but will also inevitably bring complexity - automation will be required

VMware has assembled selected software components which it has packaged for 5G network operators and dubbed the 5G Telco Cloud Platform. The offer is partly centred on Tanzu Kubernetes Grid, a container-based distribution upon which, it claims, CSPs can attain the holy grail for their hybrid or multi-cloud strategies - a framework for managing and running containerised workloads across private, telco, edge and public clouds.

Keeping NFV, adding in cloud native

Many operators have been deploying virtualized infrastructure with NFV and are now looking to go add a cloud-native component by deploying container-based network functions to tackle the looming complexity that comes with the explosion of different cloud requirements with 5G and the growing importance of edge services. Automation and orchestration is going to be key.

One requirement is to enable network operators to build a framework that balances the need  to maintain key control points across their own networks while still being able to tap into hyperscale cloud facilities where this is appropriate to gain geographical reach or meet cost constraints on data storage, claims VMware - cloud flexibility in other words.

VMware claims this advantage was instrumental in it winning a key collaboration with US operator, Dish, which is assembling a greenfield deployment for 5G. The Dish requirement was to use VMware’s platform as a cloud native abstraction layer running across and orchestrating its multiple domains. As a result Dish has the necessary access to public cloud capacity but still has control points embedded owned and operated on its own network.

According to Nigel Stephenson, director of market development, EMEA, within VMware’s Telco and Edge Cloud Business Unit, as a greenfield project Dish could be counted an exception in one important respect. He says most 5G carriers will adopt the Telco Cloud Platform (TCP) because it  “incorporates Cloud Native which is driven largely by 5G in our opinion. Our view is that for most carriers (not ‘greenfield’) it will be about evolving to a platform that supports virtual and cloud native in parallel.”  

In essence, VMware claims Telco Cloud Platform combines VMware Telco Cloud Infrastructure – an evolution of the vCloud NFV solution – and VMware Telco Cloud Automation – the recently launched multi-domain orchestration and automation capability. As such the 5G ready Telco Cloud Platform is tailored for CSPs to easily embrace cloud native technology and deliver applications and services across multi-cloud infrastructure.

“VMware continues to accelerate the delivery of a comprehensive telco and edge cloud portfolio that addresses our customers’ challenges of today and enables them to harness the opportunities of tomorrow,” said Shekar Ayyar, executive vice president and general manager, Telco and Edge Cloud Business Unit, VMware. “With support for cloud native technologies in the Telco Cloud Platform, CSPs can now boost their innovation speed to deliver new applications and services, reduce operational complexities, and realize substantial total cost of ownership savings, further accelerating the rollout of their 5G networks.”

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