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In case you missed it, Red Hat recently hosted its annual Open5G event to discuss the latest innovations, challenges and opportunities facing service providers when it comes to 5G networks. Business transformation continues to be top of mind for many in the telecommunications industry as the scope of 5G and the associated cloud infrastructure implications are pushing service providers and operators to rethink the way they deploy and support workloads using open source technologies.
At Red Hat, our partner ecosystem is the beating heart behind many of the innovations driving telco business transformation today and into the future, comprising some of the world’s leading service providers, systems integrators, cloud providers and more. During Red Hat’s Open5G event, partners took the virtual stage alongside Red Hat and customers to share their unique experiences and perspectives in 5G. Here are a few key learnings from Red Hat partners:
Open source software is the driving force behind 5G radio access networking (RAN)
At Red Hat, we often talk about the flexibility and scale open source brings to the cloud. This also applies to 5G radio access networks (RAN) and the many components surrounding it. For instance, baseband functionality which is used together with antennas and radios to communicate with a cell phone are powered by robust computing functions running on a consistent cloud infrastructure. The job of communications service providers (CSPs) is to make sure that all of these pieces are working together efficiently to support the end users, whether it's an individual using a cell phone or a large telecommunications organization supporting day-to-day business operations.
In an opening keynote at Open5G 2022, Ericsson spoke about its collaboration with Red Hat to enable Ericsson Cloud RAN. Eric Parsons, Head of Cloud RAN Engineering Unit, and Mårten Lerner, Head of Cloud RAN Product Line at Ericsson, explain that software is “the brain” supporting Cloud RAN and 5G networks around the world. Ericsson has collaborated with Red Hat to optimize the cloud infrastructure layer on Red Hat OpenShift to make it easier for service providers to support a variety of workloads and IT systems on Ericsson Cloud RAN. By optimizing the cloud infrastructure for performance and power with partners like Red Hat, Ericsson is also creating a new paradigm for its ecosystem of service providers to deploy their networks more consistently and reliably in the cloud.
No single vendor can meet the demand for 5G and open RAN
Open RAN architecture enables operators to establish standardized interfaces between different network elements by tapping into diversified suppliers. In short, open RAN allows service providers to mix and match in order to find the solutions that work best for their unique network requirements. This all sounds very straightforward, but what does implementing an open RAN strategy actually entail?
As the technologies surrounding RAN continue to evolve, companies like Nokia and Vodafone are working together with Red Hat to streamline the integration of open interfaces in RAN deployments while also navigating the growing “cloudification” of RAN across a hybrid landscape. Both Nokia and Vodafone agree that service providers must be able to view RAN through a single pane of glass, which requires interoperability and multi-vendor collaboration. Open interfaces and cloudified RAN should not be approached as separate development streams, but rather as a coordinated effort to achieve the necessary scale and efficiency for a given radio network.
What’s next for network architecture in the cloud? Network-as-a-service
The architecture and operating model of the network is fundamentally changing and moving to the cloud. With this, enterprises are shifting away from traditional hardware-centric, on-premises architecture to a software-defined, cloud-native model that enables fully virtualized architecture and intelligent applications. The entire network is becoming cloudified to support a modern network that drives agility, cost efficiency and new revenue streams for service providers.
We have long heard of “as-a-service” offerings, from PaaS to IaaS, but now it’s time for the network itself to become a service, according to Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS collaborates with CSPs and software vendors such as Red Hat to accelerate next-generation networks through cloud-native architectures and friction-free access to business applications and data to meet modern network demands. By investing in the cloud, CSPs can more seamlessly develop intent-driven networks for greater scale, innovation and elasticity.
Successfully unlocking the enterprise edge is not possible without an open ecosystem of cross-functional collaborators
Networks operating at the edge require layered capabilities, from the infrastructure layer to software-defined architecture and added capabilities for security, orchestration and cloud-native applications. As a result, enterprises are leaning on an ecosystem of hardware and software vendors, systems integrators, service providers and more to bring together the right recipe for success based on their unique business needs.
Red Hat partners Intel and Casa Systems are working alongside Red Hat to meet the growing need for multi-vendor solutions for enterprise edge use cases. By collaborating with a rich partner ecosystem, service providers can enable industry-specific capabilities that offer much needed security functions, cloud-native applications and data analytics. In addition, the value of an open ecosystem specifically means greater flexibility and faster time to value, both of which are central to success for enterprise edge use cases.
It’s time to take automation to the next level with hyperautomation for 5G
In today’s 5G landscape, enterprises are prioritizing three key goals: developer velocity, operational agility and business innovation. Enterprises want to act fast with the ability to deploy applications anywhere while eliminating operational inefficiencies and increasing productivity to drive new business opportunities. All of this is achievable through automation, and more specifically, hyperautomation. Hyperautomation entails a fully institutionalized approach to automation wherein the underlying network operations are entirely automated with a validated system.
Executives from Red Hat partners MYCOM OSI and Cisco, along with customer Telefonica, hosted a session to discuss hyperautomation and its impact on 5G. CSPs are navigating growing complexity with disaggregated 5G networks and cloudification, while working to enable real-time digital services and on-demand solutions for customers. As a result, CSPs are turning to hyperautomation strategies to support multiple systems without any human intervention in order to not only keep the network running smoothly, but scale with the speed and efficiency needed to meet customer demand.
Learn more about how Red Hat partners are driving 5G innovation for the next-generation with Red Hat Open5G 2022 on-demand, and check out a recent blog from Red Hat’s Darrell Jordan-Smith on his key takeaways from the event.
About the author
Honoré LaBourdette is Vice President of the Telco, Media, Entertainment & Edge Ecosystem at Red Hat. In this role, she has global responsibility for the success of partners including NEPs, ISVs, OEMs, Global Systems Integrators and Hyperscalers. Honoré and her team work to ensure rapid deployment of cloud-native applications at scale leveraging Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud technologies for 5G, OSS/BSS, cloud RAN and cloud networking, from core to cloud to the far edge.