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If You Think Virtualization Is About Saving Money, You’re Missing a Lot

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

What do you think of when you hear the word virtualization? If you’re a mobile carrier, the word “virtualization” likely evokes images of massive appliances being replaced by sleek servers, perhaps with a smiling CFO in the background for added effect. Mind you, it’s not a bad image, but it’s only a small picture of what virtualization can do for your network. In fact, the money you can save by virtualizing your network hardware is small change when compared to the money you could be generating with new services from a fully virtualized mobile platform.

For years, vendors have positioned network functions virtualization (NFV) as a capex reduction play. That’s because most NFV vendors are selling virtualized versions of their legacy hardware, so the main benefit to their customers is cheaper hardware. As a company that has been truly virtualized from the start, Affirmed Networks sees things differently. We didn’t build our virtual mobile core solution just to save you money, but to make you money through agile service creation, automation, network slicing, mobile edge computing and more. If you still think of NFV as a cost-cutting measure, here are six ways that Affirmed’s cloud-native NFV solutions will have you seeing dollar signs instead…

Beat the OTT players at their own game.

OTT players aren’t encumbered by massive networks or painfully slow processes. Their credo is to fail fast and fail often in the pursuit of innovation. It’s their competitive advantage, and it can become yours too with Affirmed’s microservices-centric architecture. We designed our network for agile service creation: stateless database, decomposed services, container-based apps. It lets you quickly build, test and launch new services for small groups (i.e., microservices), which can boost your services revenue by as much as 47%.

Deploy and update services faster with far less effort.

Virtualization reduces capex, but what about opex? For that, you’ll need service automation and service chaining. Affirmed delivers both with its Affirmed Service Automation Platform (ASAP for short). By automating the provisioning and service chaining process, mobile carriers can accelerate their time to market (which can boost service revenue by 13%) and reduce opex by as much as 77%!

Get real-time analytics that really make a difference.

For years, mobile carriers have used physical probes to provide network intelligence. The trouble is, physical probes are expensive and eat up costly network bandwidth. Affirmed is the first company to offer a completely virtualized probe solution, vProbe, that doesn’t require hardware and doesn’t drain your network’s performance. vProbe delivers pervasive, real-time network analytics that can be leveraged to create new services and improve network quality.

Cut your network into profitable slices.

The Internet of Things (IoT) represents a big opportunity for those mobile carriers that figure out how to “slice” their network to support a diverse range of new communications devices, from connected cars to life-saving medical devices. Affirmed’s IoT services platform includes pre-built IoT service templates as well as easy-to-use virtual network slicing capabilities based on latency, throughput, security, availability and other requirements, so mobile carriers can deploy and monetize IoT services faster.

Create value-added services to capture more revenue.

With Affirmed’s GiLAN virtualized services environment, mobile carriers can easily create new services using a simple building-block approach. Simply chain together the service features you want (e.g., deep packet inspection, video optimization, proxy services, security) to create new services, from content filtering to ad insertion.

Bring your network experience to the edge.

Moving the mobile core experience to the network edge will be critical to delivering new latency-sensitive, high-bandwidth services such as virtual/augmented reality and self-driving vehicles. Affirmed’s mobile platform supports mobile edge computing, allowing mobile carriers to bring core services closer to the consumer for better, richer experiences.

 

As you can see, virtualization isn’t just a solution to your hardware problem, it’s a solution to your “how are we going to compete and thrive in the future” problem. At Affirmed Networks, we see virtualization as a cost saver and a revenue driver. If you’re having a conversation about virtualization and the word “innovation” isn’t part of it, you need to be talking to us.

Cloud Native: Why Cloud Readiness Matters Right Now

by Ashwin Moranganti Ashwin Moranganti No Comments

Cloud-native architecture. The words themselves are likely to elicit a range of reactions, from apathy (“Do we even need that?”) to annoyance (“Don’t we have enough to do?”). In fact, the words should be music to the ears of mobile service providers—because “cloud-native” is a must-have for 5G.

“Cloud native” isn’t marketing hype and it isn’t a complicated architectural template. The Cloud-native 5G NG Core was designed from the ground up to support the speed, scale and service requirements of the future, much in the same way that Amazon, Google, Netflix and other cloud leaders have already done. In the simplest of definitions, a cloud-native 5G NG Core has three main characteristics:

  • It breaks traditional, monolithic network functions into microservices that are autonomous, replaceable/changeable and stateless;
  • It stores these microservices into containers that can be easily moved, arranged and managed;
  • It uses a common management tool such as Kubernetes to dynamically orchestrate the various virtual network functions (VNFs) rather than using proprietary vendor VNF managers.

From a consumer standpoint, 5G means faster speed, lower latency, and a pervasive IoT (Internet of Everything) fabric, but for mobile operators, 5G is about network slicing, innovation velocity and reducing network operating costs. In order to meet the network demands of 5G, operators need a web-scale infrastructure with dynamically reconfigurable software services –similar to what the Amazon and Google have for cloud services.

The payoff of a cloud-native 5G NG Core is enormous. It allows you to develop and deploy new services/applications much faster using continuous Agile and DevOps methodologies, gives you a network that can hyperscale efficiently (because the NFs are stateless) and provides more agility and flexibility by moving microservices into Docker containers that can be centrally orchestrated through an open-source tool such as Kubernetes. As you can see, a cloud-native architecture doesn’t compete with the goals of NFV/5G, it supports them and in many cases turbocharges them.

Yes, you can try to build an NFV/5G network without a cloud-native architecture. But, sooner or later, you’re going to hit a wall in terms of the performance, scale and cost savings you achieve. Cloud native isn’t a question of “If,” but “When.” If your NFV/5G vendor doesn’t have a clear path to cloud-native capabilities in their solutions today, you may not have a clear path to creating a cloud-based network in the future. It’s a path we set out on from the beginning when we first designed our virtual EPC to support microservices, containers and service automation/orchestration. If you want a cloud-native core from a leading NFV/5G vendor, talk to us to ensure you don’t find yourself playing an expensive game of cloud catch-up while your competitors lead the way with innovative new services and better customer experiences.