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Author: Sanjay Mewada

UnityCloud Ops Brings Together Orchestration, Management, and Automation for Accelerated Digital Transformation in the World of 5G

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Digital transformation is central to everything you do. It’s what determines how you build your network. It’s what sparks innovation in your business. It’s what will drive the great customer experiences of tomorrow. But without a new approach to orchestration, automation, and management, telco operators will never realize the full benefits of digital-driven initiatives such as 5G, multi-access edge computing, and the cloud.

Orchestration, automation, and management solutions support digital transformation by helping telco operators optimize processes and workflows, simplify network operations, accelerate service creation, ensure quality and reliability, and reduce operational costs. This becomes even more important, especially as the deployment of 5G and multi-access edge computing (MEC) accelerates. Despite the fact that many vendors offer orchestration, automation, and management solutions today, these solutions fail to deliver true digital transformation under the challenges facing telco operators:

  • Network complexity due to multivendor, best-of-breed environments that lead to long service provisioning cycles, particularly as operators begin to decompose those services into microservices;
  • Struggling to monetize use cases, even when there’s clearly market demand for the use case, because of lengthy service creation cycles and limited slicing capabilities;
  • High OpEx because of multiple O&M stacks from different vendors to manage the core, the edge, and the cloud;
  • Lack of service velocity as operators continue to rely on inefficient processes that do not support the need for continuous delivery, testing, and integration (CI/CD/CT);
  • Too many different workflows that strain an operator’s support capabilities;
  • Keeping up with evolving 5G and MEC standards from 3GPP, ETSI, TM Forum, and other groups.

So, what do operators need overcome these challenges and achieve true digital transformation? An orchestration, automation, and management platform that is designed from the ground up to support this kind of transformation. This platform would need to rapidly migrate legacy technology. It would need to accelerate new service creation by leveraging pre-defined service templates. It would have to operate seamlessly across any cloud environment. And, perhaps most importantly, it must reduce or eliminate the amount of coding needed to complete change requests and other historically resource-intensive tasks.

Where can operators find a platform like that? With Affirmed’s UnityCloud Ops.

Introducing UnityCloud Ops: Orchestration for 5G and the Cloud

Affirmed’s recently introduced UnityCloud Ops is a completely new and cloud-native solution for telco cloud operations and management. Within UnityCloud Ops are tools, products, and technology that provide the service automation, simplified “any-G” network management, and network observability that telco operators need to digitally transform their business.

UnityCloud Ops addresses the challenges that telco operators are facing today as they look to embrace 5G and cloud technologies by:

  • Delivering intelligent automation through orchestration, network visibility, and big data/business intelligence;
  • Providing a common user experience across any cloud environment: private, public, or hybrid;
  • Supporting the leading network standards including 3GPP, SA5 O&M, and ETSI;
  • Adding dozens of pre-built applications that allow operators to rapidly address 5G monetization, MANO functions, and slice management;
  • Establishing the foundation for a DevOps approach to service creation that supports continuous integration, design, and testing (CI/CD/CT).

UnityCloud Ops delivers automation by implementing intelligent domain orchestration across service models, service templates, and workflows for each 5G use case. This automation features a no-code approach, instead using a GUI interface to create, orchestrate, and manage services. This approach has a number of benefits for telco operators: it eliminates the extra coding normally required for change requests and other tasks, it redirects skilled programmers to more critical tasks, and it drives down OpEx.

UnityCloud Ops offers robust slice management capabilities based on Affirmed’s unique technical approach to slice management, which addresses both the network slice management (NSM) and the network slice sub-net management function (NSSMF). Designed to interface seamlessly with third-party network functions, UnityCloud Ops simplifies and accelerates slice creation, slice monitoring, slice modification, and slice management using a standards-based approach.

Other key features of UnityCloud Ops include artifact management; lifecycle management across OpenStack, Kubernetes, and UnityCloud environments; northbound and southbound interface integration; real-time network observability through virtual probes; cloud management and optimization; and analytics/BI capabilities that support 5G’s network data analytics functions (DAF, NWDAF).

As you can see, UnityCloud Ops brings together a world of functionality to help operators simplify, accelerate, automate, and orchestrate their digital transformation in a soon-to-be 5G world. Stay tuned for more to come from Affirmed and Microsoft.

The World Wide Wireless Web: What You Need to Know

by Sanjay Mewada Sanjay Mewada No Comments

As the World Wide Web approaches its thirtieth anniversary, the question arises of whether businesses and consumers can still trust the original model of the WWW to serve the needs of a much-changed marketplace. In 1991, the first year of the WWW, smartphones didn’t exist, “broadband” speeds maxed out at around 512 kilobits per second and Google was still years away. By contrast, there are 3.5 billion smartphones in the world today, 5G promises speeds up to nearly 20,000X faster than 512 kbps and Google serves an estimated 3.8 million searches every minute.

 

At Affirmed, we believe the WWW needs to adapt to a new age: the World Wide Wireless Web. The WWWW is designed for a mobile world where consumers expect seamless broadband connectivity, a rich ecosystem of mobile applications and cloud-based services. The WWWW will be built around five unique characteristics that will drive the mobile applications and services of the future.

 

The 5 Unique Characteristics of WWWW (World Wide Wireless Web)

 

#1. A “mobile-first” approach

When the WWW was first developed, mobile devices were treated as second-class citizens. The web experience was tailored around computers and, later, laptops, with little thought given to how applications and pages would display on mobile devices. As mobile becomes the predominant platform, the roles of mobile and desktop devices will reverse. Web services and content will be tailored to mobile experiences (e.g., the move to accelerated mobile pages), including rich content such as video and online gaming. Retooling the web as a mobile experience presents a variety of challenges for mobile operators, including the need for higher bandwidth, lower latency, strong security and identity controls and, most importantly, the ability to quickly launch new mobile services to support enterprise and consumer use cases.

 

#2. Dynamic, seamless connectivity

The “wireless” in WWWW will be a combination of cellular and Wi-Fi technologies that will deliver consistent service in and out of buildings and other locations. There are a lot of things that mobile network operators will need to do to make this happen, from network slicing to flexible pricing. For example, a mobile operator may want to offer better experiences or lower pricing for Wi-Fi sessions versus LTE or 5G sessions. Some of the technologies that will make this happen include network slicing, real-time analytics and edge-based services.

 

#3. An intelligent, distributed edge

Building off my previous point, an intelligent, distributed network edge will be critical for mobile operators because of the requirements for low latency and high bandwidth on many 5G services. Augmented/virtual reality applications are just one example of this. Real-time telemedicine is another. Over time, more face-to-face services will shift to Facetime-to-Facetime (or similar) services, requiring a distributed versus centralized deployment model. Moving services to the edge also requires an agile, cloud-native architecture that can leverage microservices and containers to quickly spin up and spin down new services as local demand dictates, which brings us to…

 

#4. Virtualized, cloud-native core

Services will be the cornerstone of the WWWW. Mobile network operators will need to transition into digital service providers in order to pursue new revenue opportunities. To date, the mobile operator model for service creation has been byzantine compared to the agile, fail-fast model of the digital-native companies (Amazon, Google, Spotify, etc.). DevOps-driven processes will require a vastly different service creation environment; one powered by a webscale architecture and featuring container-based microservices that can be quickly assembled to create new services.

 

#5. Everything as a Service

It started with Software as a Service, followed by networks, platforms, infrastructure, etc. Ultimately, everything will be offered as a cloud-consumable service. This is a very different operating model for communications service providers who have historically built their networks by hardware accretion. The ability to deploy and deliver services in the cloud is a potential game-changer for mobile operators, as it can dramatically reduce costs while increasing network agility. Most mobile operators, however, have limited experience with cloud technologies, which can make this a potentially disruptive transition without the right partners and platform.

 

Affirmed: Your connection to the WWWW world

At Affirmed, you could say the future is our business. We’ve been building virtual, cloud-based networks from day one. Today, we offer an unmatched portfolio of cloud-native, 5G-ready solutions for mobile operators that include the industry’s first fully virtualized mobile core platform, real-time virtualized analytics, IoT solutions including advanced virtual network slicing capabilities, a microservices-based service creation environment and much more. The World Wide Wireless Web is coming, but the opportunity to lead is narrowing. If you want to join the mobile leaders of tomorrow, follow their path and talk to Affirmed. We’re ready for the future whenever you are.

 

Find out more information on World Wide Wireless Web – a new model for global connectivity, a mobile-first and seamless, wireless access.