Telcos need to ‘trust the machine’ in a cloud native world

Ray Le Maistre
By Ray Le Maistre

May 15, 2020

  • DSP Leaders World Forum 2020 session focuses on the people aspect of cloud native working environments
  • Automation and the introduction of new skills requires a different mindset at telcos, says VMware exec
  • The introduction of new skills and processes such as CI/CD is happening but it faces multiple challenges that go beyond the four walls of the telcos

The shift towards a multi-cloud and cloud native environment within the telecoms sector will result in a greater reliance on automated processes and the need for operators to think and act in a different way, a senior VMware executive noted during the DSP Leaders World Forum 2020 session People and Processes for Cloud Native Telcos.

Sumit Verdi, Sr. Director Solutions Management, Telco & Edge Cloud, at VMware, noted that as telecom operators start to operate in a multicloud environment and embrace cloud native processes and operations, “automation will become key and that comes with a change in the mindset – they need to start trusting the machine.”

That shift is starting to happen, though. Heather Kirksey, VP, Community and Ecosystem Development, Linux Foundation, and well known for her involvement in the OPNFV project, noted that a growing number of operators are getting involved in CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous deployment) projects, and that has started translating into their own internal operations. She cited Orange and China Mobile as operators that are embracing CI/CD internally. 

Swisscom’s Marcus Brunner, though, noted that change in isolation can be of limited use: In the telco industry there is a triangular relationship between operators, suppliers and customers, and “you have boundaries between [these parties], the contractual relationships are not completely clear and the processes need to run across legal organizations… models need to change and we are just at the beginning of looking at this. Having change is good but in the business world you need guarantees, and it needs to be clear who is responsible for what.”

Brunner also noted that new software and working practices skills are required, but that “the older generation has a learning curve when it comes to adopting DevOps and agile working processes.”

Verdi added that attaining the skills needed “is not a trivial problem to solve” -- with Kubernetes and containers “it is a daunting task.” CSP staff will come up to speed in time, but as a stop-gap operators can find partners than can help them with best practices and blueprints that can help, while managed service providers can also be brought in while skills sets are being developed. “CSPs also need to consider how much they do themselves and how much they can outsource,” noted the VMware man. 

To check out the full session, click here.

People and processes in a cloud native world is just one of the topics we’ll be covering during our upcoming Extra Shot programs, which will look back at the highlights of the online DSP Leaders event and include the views of special guests. Look out for further details of the Extra Shot programs. 

  • Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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