Rod Makin, Sr. Director, Product Lifecycle Management, NetNumber
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak on a panel at the virtual Layer123 World Congress. This year’s event focused on Service Evolution Beyond SDN and Network Virtualization, and was dedicated to network transformation technologies and the applications they power. The panel topic was “The (Rapidly) Evolving Telco Cloud,” and my fellow panelists included CMC Networks and Orange Business Services. The panel was expertly moderated by Network Architects International. We had a great discussion on hyperscalers, security and 5G which I’ve summarized below.
The panel started from the premise that for the past decade, telecommunications operators have struggled to exploit the explosive growth of the public cloud. Originally, CSPs attempted to compete head on with the cloud industry by building their own public cloud or private clouds rather than focus on innovating partnerships capable of making this shift. However, we all agreed that telcos have an enormous opportunity in front of them with the cloud facilities, and that hyperscalers can be valuable partners.
By allowing multi-scalable propositions, telcos now have the opportunity to create cloud native solutions, delivering services and resources right where and when customers need them.
Role for Hyperscalers
Hyperscalers have an important role to play as they innovate products and services, and offer a pay-as-you-go type of service. The hyperscalers are enabling customers to get to the cloud from a purely data perspective. And the telco’s role is about guiding customers into cloud telco solutions, with interconnecting the clouds pivotal. Telcos need the resources to be able to manage, operate and secure clouds, and this is where the experience of the hyperscaler comes in. This isn’t new for the hyperscalers, it is what that’s been developed for the enterprise IT world and honed for a number of years. They’ve already developed tools for example to allow customers to adapt their services on the fly and adjust their monthly tariffs accordingly, but more than this they provide the tools and services to enable the telcos themselves to operate their systems in what is a less familiar environment for them.
Telcos are being targeted left, right and center by hackers. Clouds pose an even more daunting security challenge as telcos have security in so many different places. Recent research indicates that managed security services offer CSPs a major opportunity. Managed security is among the top factors that motivate enterprises and enterprise end users to seek managed services. But it isn’t about telcos just being security conscious but also being conscious about regulatory implications and the law.
The challenge with 5G is not whether it should be in the cloud, it’s what kind of cloud it should be in. Telcos have embraced a private cloud model, but are realizing the real potential of the hyperscalers to reach their target markets, but again more than this they now have a wider audience and different opportunities. With the rollout of 5G, and the unprecedented impact of the global pandemic and the widespread outsourcing of workloads and data to public cloud providers, edge clouds have never been more important. The panelists agreed it is all about multi-cloud.
5G has learned the lessons of the previous generations of networks because of the inherent lack of security was clear and obvious. The considerations of security within the cloud have a completely different landscape than the telcos are traditionally used to. The hyperscalers can offer security as a service to the telcos in order to mitigate security risks. But security starts with the cloud native solution and integrated third-party software which must be scanned for vulnerabilities at the outset.
How do you think telcos clouds will evolve? Send me a note via firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to discuss further.