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Communication service providers (CSPs) and enterprises looking to unleash the power of 5G are faced with a new set of operational challenges. They include how to architect and deploy a common infrastructure strategy across the network that can deliver cloud flexibility and automation, lower operational cost and allow for solution choice from a multi-vendor ecosystem.

Building on a decades-long collaboration, Intel and Red Hat are announcing the evolution of their strategic relationship to accelerate the delivery of automated, cloud-native infrastructure for new 5G services. Together, Red Hat and Intel will align R&D efforts to help move 5G, networking innovation and related features more quickly into upstream open source projects (e.g. Kubernetes) while also bringing these new technologies to customers as commercialized, supported offerings for production deployment more swiftly. Our customers stand to benefit from more complete solutions as they transform their networks from cloud to network to edge for a range of new use cases and services.

Network architects have a near infinite number of hardware solutions, offering an overwhelming selection of choices. When silicon and software are designed—from the beginning—to work together, organizations have the opportunity to optimize applications and business processes. Our joint expertise and engineering work, anchored in open source, enables CSPs and enterprises to more rapidly implement cloud-native networks for increased agility.

Red Hat OpenShift, Red Hat’s industry-leading enterprise Kubernetes platform, helps enable service providers as they transition to 5G cloud-native networks, especially towards 5G RAN and 5G core aspirations. With OpenShift, service providers and enterprises have the ability to manage workloads and build cloud-native apps all while boosting developer productivity. This is paired with a full suite of feature-rich silicon, software and tools from Intel, including Intel Xeon® Scalable processors, Intel® Ethernet Network Adapters, FlexRAN reference software and OpenNESS (Open Network Edge Services Software) edge computing software toolkit.

With this combination of technologies, eco-system solution vendors will be able to develop cloud-native network functions that can realize the benefits of 5G accelerated infrastructure and system resources. In turn, communications service providers will further benefit from having flexible deployment models, whether on-premise as bare metal or via public or hybrid cloud. Intel architecture and Red Hat OpenShift form the technology backbone of a multi-cloud and hybrid cloud architecture strategy for telco cloud that is also multi-vendor. Enterprises equally benefit from unified management and orchestration from edge to cloud.

Network and edge innovation

Working towards this containerized future together is nothing new. Earlier this year, Red Hat and Intel announced the creation of a cloud-based onboarding service and testbed for network functions, supporting both virtualized network functions (VNFs) and cloud-native network functions (CNFs). Red Hat and Intel have had several partners through the lab and are engaged with the 5G Core and RAN ecosystem to expand the lab this year. Our evolved areas of innovation will address the following:

  • Hybrid multicloud with Red Hat OpenShift application services, enabled by Intel’s 2nd Generation Xeon Scalable processors, maximizes agility and optimizes efficiency by allowing for a flexible yet consistent connection between on-prem enterprises infrastructures and multi cloud service provider offerings. Organizations will have the freedom to more easily deploy the applications they need where they need them.

  • Infrastructure optimization of Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage, Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) with Intel technology through a portfolio of Red Hat Certified Operators for improved performance, security, platform awareness, telemetry, control and cloud-native data plane aided by OpenNESS, to offer a whole new level of operational insight and management.

  • Red Hat OpenShift network controller enhancements enabled by Intel technology maximizes organizations’ ability to provide better network visibility and control to cloud partners and differentiated quality of service. This improves OAM (operations, enhanced administration and maintenance) through dynamic patching and upgrades and lifecycle management.

  • Enhanced programmable solutions are enabled via an optimized platform based on Intel Xeon processors, multiple 100Gbps Intel® Ethernet Network Adapter E810 with Dynamic Device Personalization (DDP) and future versions of RHEL to meet the needs of diverse workloads across network locations. For wireless core solutions, the enhanced programmable pipeline in DDP allows for deeper and more diverse protocol header processing for 5G user plane function (UPF).

  • vRAN optimizations enabled by a joint reference architecture help achieve a high performing, highly optimized and time-sensitive 5G vRAN infrastructure blueprint using Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform and OpenNESS Kubernetes Operators. This will be certified with hardware vendors building vRAN optimized hardware solutions and the vRAN CNF application vendor ecosystem.

  • Path to heterogeneous computing makes it easier for organizations to adopt an edge architecture with whatever hardware they want to build on. This can deliver maximum data plane performance for cloud-native environments, edge node security, support for heterogeneous compute environments, including CPU, GPU, FPGA, SmartNIC, accelerator and Intel® Optane™ DC persistent memory.

  • Optimized edge network services for edge deployments, including edge appliances for VNFs/CNFs and private wireless (LTE and 5G) provide repeatable, scalable building blocks to meet application demands at the edge allowing operators and enterprises to scale their commercial edge deployments. Additionally, Red Hat OpenShift and Intel technology combined with the VNF/CNF ecosystem around SD-WAN, networking and security use cases for the enterprise edge/uCPE provides a solid foundation for service providers to build their services on, and a way for enterprises to benefit from unified management and orchestration.

  • Robust toolkits and libraries for edge developers with a focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning and media distribution for key edge use cases using Open Visual Cloud, OpenNESS and OpenVINO will facilitate a new level of insights at the edge with software development kit’s based on open source principles that enable agile development.

We see CSPs and enterprises embracing cloud-native architectures across the network to gain flexibility, agility and scale. Through joint reference architectures and expanded collaboration areas, Intel and Red Hat are focused on simplifying the challenges and complexities of shifting to these new architectures. Learn more about Red Hat and Intel’s collaboration here and here.

About the authors

Reza Mokhtari joined Red Hat in January 2018 as a Global Telco Alliance Executive. In alliance with Red Hat partners, with focus on digital transformation, he has been responsible for driving 5G, Edge, and Hybrid Cloud business opportunities. 

Prior to joining Red Hat he has had an extensive background in product management, business development, sales, and partner alliance. Throughout his years while working at Ericsson, Nokia Siemens, and Amdocs, he has had multiple leadership roles with prime focus on global Telco Service Providers. Mokhtari has worked extensively with network function virtualization of RAN, 4G/5G Core IMS/EPC  as well as NMS/OSS network management. 

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Hanen Garcia is Global Telco Solutions Manager at Red Hat, with more than 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry building network solutions and value-added services for large telecom operators. In his current role, he is driving solutions to support telecommunications service providers during their network transformation journey. Prior to joining Red Hat, he worked at Ericsson as an innovation specialist designing cutting-edge solutions for mobile networks. Garcia holds an M. Eng. in innovation management from the ÉTS in Canada and an M.Eng. in telecommunications from Polytech in France.

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