Rod Makin, Sr. Director, Product Lifecycle Management, NetNumber

In addition to speaking at the November virtual Telecoms Europe 5G conference hosted by Mobile Europe, I also participated on a panel considering whether Cloud Native is critical for 5G.  My fellow panelists represented Swisscom and Rakuten Symphony, with the moderator from Arthur D Little Austria.  Below is a summary of key points made during the summary.  You can find a recording of this fascinating panel here.

We began the panel with defining the term “cloud native,” and describing how each of our companies have approached cloud native infrastructures.

As the only vendor on the panel, I was asked to share why NetNumber decided to transition our technologies to cloud native.  The initial trigger for NetNumber was delivering network security solutions that require ultra-low latency.  We were focused on protecting mobile core networks against the so-called Category 3 attacks as defined by the GSMA that require dynamic data to be shared in real time across a geographically distributed system. Because our legacy technology didn’t cope with this at these low latencies, we decided to look at third-party solutions.  We identified one that is widely used across the IT industry and so started with integrating some of the leading cloud-native solutions from what we call the enterprise software stack that provide for high throughput, low latency, hyper scalability, but also for sophisticated telemetry and data analytics.  This was one of the important steps towards what we today deliver to the market as our TITAN.IUM cloud native intergenerational platform.  We also went through a year of transforming our organization and processes to bring additional agility and security aspects into our software development and CICD processes, and to learn how to build cloud native solutions that utilize microservices architectures, containers, Kubernetes and more. This has enabled us to satisfy the requirements of the telecom industry for 5G networks.  At the same time, we have also enabled our legacy products with the benefits of cloud native for a higher degree of automation and operational efficiency.

Based on a lively and informative discussion, the moderator concluded that a telco could theoretically deploy a 5G network without it being cloud native.  However, further discussion led us to consider why cloud native is important and that it is only a question of time till all operators migrate their mobile networks to cloud native.

We agreed that innovation and evolution is simply a must in a world that continuously demands more and faster data. And this generates the challenge of the more data, the more compute power and capacity for storage, and the faster the data, the more you must distribute your network and move selected services to the edge or even onto customer premises. And in order to run and manage such networks in an economic way, a telco needs cloud native solutions delivering services and resources right where and when they are needed.

I hope you’ll watch the panel on demand and drop me a note on your perspective to info@netnumber.com.


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