Thursday, 02 December 2021

Being the agent of change for cloud native network architecture

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Monday 25 October 21

We were delighted to speak to Inbar Lasser-Raab, CMO at DriveNets about the future of cloud native network architecture and why operators need to make the transition sooner rather than later

The term ‘cloud native’ is something that the telecoms industry has been gradually coming to terms with in recent years, but for the term remains loosely defined and somewhat ambiguous.   For Inbar Lasser-Raab, chief marketing officer at DriveNets, cloud native networks can be defined by three key factors, each with their own clear benefits for the operator.   1. Disaggregated hardware and software – By decoupling the hardware and software, and allowing the latter to run on standardised, ‘white box’ network equipment…

The term ‘cloud native’ is something that the telecoms industry has been gradually coming to terms with in recent years, but for the term remains loosely defined and somewhat ambiguous.
 
For Inbar Lasser-Raab, chief marketing officer at DriveNets, cloud native networks can be defined by three key factors, each with their own clear benefits for the operator.
 
1. Disaggregated hardware and software – By decoupling the hardware and software, and allowing the latter to run on standardised, ‘white box’ network equipment, networks can not only become more flexible, but can also scale quickly at a lower cost.
 
2. Cloud-native software – Highly containerised software allows for greater efficiency and customisation, with a faster deployment time and clear separation of network functions. 
 
“We can run multiple networks or applications over the same shared infrastructure, just like the cloud does today,” explained Inbar. “The motivation for service providers to do that is, obviously, lowering cost.”
 
3. The perfect springboard for innovation – A disaggregated, cloud native system gives developers and service providers the ideal platform from which to create new services and applications, unrestricted by specific hardware requirements. 
 
“One of the hardest things in our industry – with monolithic routers and software, and with hardware tied to that software – is that its really hard to innovate and roll out services from multiple providers and application vendors,” explained Inbar.
 

You can watch our full interview with Inbar Lasser-Raab from the link above

 

But despite these many benefits, some operators are still wary about making the transition towards the cloud, something Inbar ascribes to operators being unfamiliar with a multivendor model.
 
“It’s not one vendor providing everything,” she explained. “That’s a new concept and the biggest concern is they [the operators] want one throat to choke. Service providers are afraid that, when issues arise, there will be finger-pointing between the different vendors.”
 
But this need not be the case. For Inbar and DriveNets, this is a challenge that can be solved by taking greater responsibility over the cloud platform you are offering to the operators. 
 
“Any issues and the service provider calls us, and we make sure that, behind us, the operations and support centres coordinate the solution with the other vendors,” she explained. 
 
The transition itself can be a gradual process. AT&T, DriveNet’s most high profile customer, first started their cloud network transformation in the core of their network, but this is not the only option. 
 
“AT&T started with the core. Other operators started with peering, others with aggregation and edge infrastructure. So, it really depends on the need and on which part of the network service providers are refreshing,” said Inbar. “Because its cloud architecture and therefore separate containers, you can really have different maintenance windows to upgrade one part without touching the other. That’s the beauty of software-based cloud-native architecture.” 
 
Ultimately, this transition to the cloud is something that is already happening rapidly throughout the telecoms industry and those not considering making the jump must be careful that they do not get left behind by their competitors. 
 
“Analysts have predicted that in the next five years we’ll see more than half the networks based on this model,” said Inbar. “So, we are really hoping to be that agent of change and we’re seeing that engagement already.”
 
 
Inbar Lasser Raab will be joined by speakers from STL Partners, BT and Ngena on a panel discussing the future of cloud-native network architecture at this year’s live Total Telecom Congress taking place TOMORROW. Book your place now and join us in London
 
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