In a recent Webinar about how to build a successful 5G networks a question that took my mind was .
“How successful we can be if we address a fundamentally new Problem using a new Technology if we still use old principles to build our Telecom Networks and with out disrupting the supply chains”
I think the answer for these type of questions in the context of 5G fundamentally will depends on following two key initiatives.
- How to use Radio spectrum to gain strategic advantage over competitors
- How to use Cloud to gain advantage for 5G
The Radio Spectrum is a complex topic primarily driven by many factors like regulatory and existing use of Spectrum making real 5G a slight different than what is really possible with Spectrum of today . This alone is not enough as Smart cells vs Wifi6 will be again something that will really depend on Spectrum use of 5G .These details i will leave it for now for future discussion and want to focus on Cloud and how really it will make your 5G successful.
During our recent work with in ETSI NFV Release4 Sol WG , GSMA and LFN CNTT we have discussed and agreed on a number of ways really Cloud can support you to differentiate your 5G network . Knowing this can be a real game changer for Opcos who are investing in 5G and Future Networks
A homogeneous Infrastructure Platform on 5G that can be used by all applications like traditional 5G CNF’s , MEC , Developer applications and any legacy IT /OTT applications that are required to be offered to users . One such example is OpenShift or VMware Edge and Last mile solutions using technologies like CNV or VCF7.0/NSXT3.0 that will build the edge clouds in an automated manners and enable day 2 through standard tools whether use VM or containers or BM’s as a baseline architecture
A uniform IPI that can be deployed using standard Red Fish solutions such as the one from HPE really will make is possible to build 5G using the Clone technology as used in most automotive industry today and that really enabled them to produce with minimum toil
Scalability in the last mile is the most important criteria for 5G Success . For example a compute solution that can scale and can provide power to process really all sort of workloads at the Edge is certainly a make or break for 5G . When it comes to Data one such example is storage and Disk , with solutions like RedHat Ceph3.0 that supports compression from Q3 2020 using its blue store offering and can integrate CephFS with NFS support makes the real convergence possible .
Convergence vs Automation
IT SRE and DevOps has gained lot of traction recently and this is not without a reason . It has certainly reduced the CFO bills and that is why the Telco’s want to achieve the same . However the requirements of workloads are really unique and that makes us to understand that real automation with out standard modeling is never possible .
On the Cloud side we can make use of TOSCA models together with solutions like automation hub together with secure catalog and registry means we can do both modeling for varying workload requirements and to automate it in the same fashion . Further we can do some advanced testing like the one we have been doing in PyATS
Registries and Repositories
The concept of 5G factory that we have been rigorously trying to achieve in Middle East Telco projects are really made possible using secure registries like Quay for containers , Dockerhub and its integration with Jenkins and CI/CD tools for Telco.
It is no surprise if i tell you these are most important differentiators as we introduce public clouds for 5G
The programmability of Immutable infrastructure is the biblical principle for 5G Networks . Both Service Mesh , NSM and Server less are deployed as operators which a practically CNI programs that makes your infra follow software YAML instead of tight and coupled instructions .Further to that the Operator supports full automation of both day0 and day2 Infrastructure tasks .
For K8S it is currently supported while for VM’s it will be available fully in Dec 2020
Openshift service mesh for 5G CP CNF’s is possible today with
Further to that today we faced a number of issues in Docker to Telco and use of CRI-O and PodMan will certainly support to advance the 5G .
“Podman is more light weight compared to CRI-O so you should expect it better performing on 5G Edge compared to PoDman .
Redhat Fuse online is one of solutions which abstracts Infrastructure and make it possible to integrate developer , integrator and tester using one tool . Except of container it also standardized your VM’s . E.g VM in Openshift running FTP service and that make it possible to run on native containers itself .Fuse Online provides a data mapper to help you do this. In a flow, at each point where you need to map data fields, add a data mapper step. Details for mapping etc
Red Hat® Fuse is a distributed integration platform with standalone, cloud, and iPaaS deployment options. Using Fuse, integration experts, application developers, and business users can independently develop connected solutions in the environment of their choice. This unified platform lets users collaborate, access self-service capabilities, and enforce governance.
An SDK is definitely helpful for 5G platform specially when it comes to open your networks for the developer who need .NET or JAVA . Quarkus from RedHat is a Kubernetes-Native full-stack Java framework aimed to optimize work with Java virtual machines.
Quarkus provides tools for Quarkus applications developers, helping them reduce the size of Java application and container image footprint, eliminate programming baggage, and reduce the amount of memory required.
Advanced Cluster Management
With huge number of 5G sites and future scnerio of site sharing between operators . It will be a real need to deploy Apps and manage them in a hybrid Cloud scnerio and nothing explains it better than burr sutter demo at the RedHat summit . A cool video from RedHat team is available there if you want to learn it more
In a summary you can mange
- 5K+ poD’s
- Create clusters in hybrid cloud like AWS,GCP,Azure, Bare metal and On prem
- Policy management
- Secure deployment by validating YAML and images using Quay/clair sorted by Labels
- Possibility for developer to create and deploy policy using GUI
Above all RHACM makes is possible to measure SLA of Clusters and Optimize workloads e.g shift to other clusters in an automated manner .Certainly a Cool thing for 5G to serve heavy lift and Content driven applications
Heavy Lifting of Workloads
The proponents of silo vendor solutions often tell us that 5G Base band processing and e-CPRI heavy lifting with parallel processing will make X-86 a non practical choice to adopt classical cloud way .
However the latest Intel atomic series with FPGA’s and NVIDIA GPU’s means we can not only solve the Radio issues such as the ones we are trying to solve in Open-RAN but will enable to introduce latest technologies like AI and ML in 5G era networks . Those who are more interested in this domain can refer to latest work in ITU here
For ML/AI use cases in 5G there are many made possible in both Telco and vertical industry like Automobiles, warehouse monitoring etc today using GPU operator , Topology manager like shows visibility in to GPU ,NIC,BW,Performance etc.
Open Policy Pipeline can optimize the ML model itself using analytics functions of the Cloud
When it comes to Cloud value to data scientist in 5G using platforms like OCP or HPE Blue Data as follows
- Anaconda tool sets for programming
- Jupyter notebooks
- CUDA and other similar libraries
- Report on both Log and Policy compliance
- Tekton Pipeline in OCP for CI/CD of ML/AI use cases
- Models are made in Jupyter by scientists while it is triggered in the Tektron pipeline
Finally using OCP Open Model Manager we can Register, deploy and monitor open source models in one central environment, uniting data scientists and IT/DevOps.
The most important takeaway is that if we have to take full advantage from 5G we not only need to follow 3GPP and traditional Telecom SQI’s but also those advantages offered by Cloud . This is only way to not only manage a TCO attractive 5G but also will enable to introduce both Niche players and new services that will be required to build and drive a Post COVID-19 world economy .