Symbiotic Cloud-5G Series
Globally telcos are facing rapid changes in business needs and quite obviously the pandemic has further compelled them to face newer changes. Thankfully, telcos these days are better prepared, as most critical operations happen conveniently over the cloud and are delivered at the edge. It is also clear that 5G, cloud, and edge computing are three inextricably linked technologies that significantly improve the performance of telecom applications and enable huge amounts of data to be processed in real-time.
Several organizations have built an entire end-to-end architecture comprising public, private, hybrid, and edge cloud applications to service CSPs.
The Symbiotic Cloud-5G Series will explore and feature global organizations that are involved in supporting the telcos with cloud architecture.
The first in this series is the feature on US-based networking giant Juniper Network’s Contrail Cloud.
Juniper Contrail Cloud
Juniper is a company that bets big on cloud technologies. The company is certain that service providers are embracing telco cloud to deliver 5G network services and also realize new revenue.
Built on an open, agile architecture that enables CSPs to be more responsive to customers and to rapidly respond to the changing business needs is Juniper’s Contrail Cloud. It helps deliver an enhanced customer experience, with managed and unmanaged cloud solutions that make telco cloud easy to design, deploy, and operate.
And Juniper, with inherent expertise, says that 5G is definitely not a standalone technology. It’s closely intertwined with cloud and AI, both of which are driving service providers the required business transformation in the new decade. The journey to the ‘Cloud + 5G + AI’ era will be different for every service provider, and by no means an easy change. Juniper, thus, is on a mission to bring Cloud + 5G + AI to reality for its customers.
The universal cloud framework that it has built will enable economies of scale and operation across data centers, regional cloud, edge cloud, and on-premises cloud.
Rami Rahim, Chief Executive Officer of Juniper Networks in the company’s recently held virtual summit said that Juniper has the most deployed telco cloud stack in the industry.
In the virtual summit titled, “Networks for the New Era”, held in June 2020, Rahim emphasized on the importance of keeping the world connected. He believes that the transformational forces that were already in play prior to the pandemic will only accelerate after this pandemic. As today’s enterprises are also embracing a cloud-first IT strategy, Rahim envisions Juniper to be at the forefront of delivering the cloud services to global players.
In his keynote address, Rahim took the virtual participants through the evolution of the networking industry – the advent of M series, T series, MX platform, PTX platform, SDN (products such as Contrail, cloud data center, SDN controller, and NorthStar), cloud (Mist A-powered cloud-delivered enterprise solution), and Edge cloud (Contrail Cloud).
According to Rahim, Juniper has a four-pillar strategy:
- Help customers build highly automated cloud data centers
- Future proof the wide-area network for the cloud era
- Enable the Edge cloud
- Embrace and harness the software-defined enterprise
To get a better understanding of Juniper’s cloud services and its symbiotic application with 5G, Pankaj Kitchlu, Systems Engineering Director (India-SAARC) at Juniper Networks, responds to a few questions posed by Voice&Data:
V&D: How are the three computing models cloud, edge, and hybrid relevant to the telecom industry ever since the pandemic struck the world?
Pankaj Kitchlu: The current situation has accelerated the need for distributed content delivery and a centralized control model for greater network performance and visibility. While all three computing models will build innovative use cases for future 5G deployments, the industry is increasingly seeing more value in adopting a cloud approach to ensure business continuity across entire operations as opposed to just specific critical services. Running daily operations within physical boundaries is also becoming a no-go in any CXO level conversations.
V&D: How do these models individually and in combination offer significant benefits to the telecom network provider?
Pankaj Kitchlu: Each cloud model has its time and place. In the past two decades, Telcos have been focused on the consumer business, where a standard-based model could serve mass deployments. However, with the 5G era upon us, enterprises must now take on a multi-delivery approach in order to solve mission-critical and complex issues that may arise.
The key technology change that makes this possible is the separation of the User Plane Function (UPF) which can now be located on the Edge Cloud or on-premise. Native support for edge computing and flexible UPF placement, introducing Service & Session Continuity (SSC) enables Make-Before-Break connectivity. This will provide an added dimension to the overall cloud adoption approach for Enterprises as part of this new technological wave.
- Edge Cloud on telco premise would make sense for enhanced broadband use cases across verticals such as Entertainment, Gaming, Retail & Logistics.
- Network slicing of the Edge Cloud might be applicable for Enterprises when Low Latency & Real-Time updates are critical especially for businesses within the Manufacturing, HealthCare, and Financial verticals.
- A Hybrid model is suitable when there is a need to balance both Mass and Low Latency. These would include the Energy and Automobile industries.
V&D: Conserving resources is the new normal business mantra for the post COVID world. What is your take on the cloud’s role in conserving resources and the mantra to be frugal in business?
Pankaj Kitchlu: Due to the on-going pandemic, telcos are reducing their spends and placing more emphasis on risk-free business outcomes for sustained growth. With the increase in network utilization since March, customer connectivity has become more crucial than ever.
Telco Network Operation Centres are looking at various business continuity procedures including restoring mission-critical systems through the cloud. Due to this, there will inevitably be an increase in cloud adoption – the role of cloud has now moved from simply delivering and storing content to enabling telco operators to provide an enhanced customer experience across verticals.
V&D: As India slowly plans for 5G in the coming years, the application of cloud services can be of great advantage to the telcos. How do you justify this?
Pankaj Kitchlu: Products and solutions that are innovative will naturally create unique experiences that will sell itself without a need for justification. While 5G is still a few years away from being implemented in India, one of the key factors that will fuel this mass adoption is the rapid shift towards Cloud as well as Artificial Intelligence. Both need to go hand in hand in order to make 5G a reality and to fulfil the telco and enterprise transformation journey in the next decade.