Winning the race to the 5G edge with intelligent automation
As Communication Service Providers and their ecosystem partners – which include hyperscale cloud operators and application/NFV software vendors – are building out 5G edge infrastructure to deliver innovative digital experiences for their consumer and enterprise customers, they have identified open, programmable, and modular automation solutions as essential to success. Kailem Anderson, Vice President of Portfolio and Engineering at Blue Planet, provides more insight on these efforts.
The 5G-enabled edge promises new digital experiences
5G and multi-access edge computing (MEC) are complementary technologies that promise to transform communications. 5G offers high-performance and low-latency transmission, while MEC moves compute and storage resources to the network edge – closer to end-users, humans, and machines (IoT) – to significantly reduce latency. MEC provides both an IT service environment and cloud computing capabilities to help enable the real-time enterprise.
Today, CSPs are deploying 5G and MEC to provide on-demand 5G edge services that will support new, high-quality digital experiences, from ultra-low latency services that improve gaming and virtual / augmented reality experiences, to Industry 4.0 automation that will let enterprises evolve toward efficient light-infrastructure models.
It takes an ecosystem
To assemble the best mix of cloud, connectivity, and software resources, CSPs are pursuing these market opportunities in an ecosystem approach that includes hyperscale cloud operators, a myriad of software vendors, and system integration partners. The CSPs, of course, bring the converged fixed and wireless network infrastructure, the hyperscalers provide the distributed cloud infrastructure, the software provides the service agility, and the systems integrators ensure all the systems and software work together.
CSPs must be able to dynamically assemble all of these ecosystem components – infrastructure, edge compute resources, and applications – to provide on-demand services, and they realize that their legacy OSS and operational processes cannot meet this requirement. Instead, open, multi-domain automation is required to realize the combined promise of 5G and MEC.
CSPs must be able to dynamically assemble all of these ecosystem components – infrastructure, edge compute resources, and applications – to provide on-demand services, and they realize that their legacy OSS and operational processes cannot meet this requirement.
The necessity of analytics-driven automation
Traditional operations environments are designed for a world of pre-defined, static services, and rely on manual interaction with legacy OSS systems to design, provision, and assure services – a process that takes weeks or even months. And the use of proprietary systems makes it expensive and difficult to incorporate new services, vendors, and elements into the OSS framework.
The 5G world is completely opposite to this. It’s all about being dynamic, so CSPs need cloud-native support systems that are open and standards-based, programmable, and driven by models, catalogs, and business intent. The CSPs that participated in our Virtual Insiders Forum (VIF 2021) indicated that they want their software automation vendors to align with and adhere to this strategy.
Introducing Blue Planet 5G Edge Automation
To help CSPs implement service lifecycle automation for 5G and edge-based services, we offer the Blue Planet 5G Automation Solution. Our open, standards-based solution aligns with the 3GPP and ETSI NFV MANO framework, and incorporates TMF and MEF Open APIs for multivendor, multi-domain interoperability across the 5G ecosystem.
The solution automates the three key phases of your 5G journey:
- Preparation and planning – simply put, you can’t automate what you can’t see. So, Blue Planet initiates your 5G automation journey with real-time insight into existing network and service resources, informed by auto-discovery and federation with pre-existing inventory systems.
- Automated operations – Blue Planet provides automated 5G service lifecycle management – including orchestration, assurance, and optimization - end to end across the RAN, xHaul transport, and 5G Core in a seamless continuum.
- Monetization with network slicing – Blue Planet provides the first productized end-to-end network slicing solution that automates the design, creation, monitoring and modification of customizable slices from end-to-end across the 5G RAN, xHaul transport, and 5G Core.
Managing the service lifecycle from planning to activation, orchestration, and assurance is a huge challenge for all kinds of service providers. It’s especially difficult in 5G networks because we are talking about doing this in real-time for thousands of dynamic services across physical, virtual, and cloud-based resources.
Putting it all into perspective
To sum it up, managing the service lifecycle from planning to activation, orchestration, and assurance is a huge challenge for all kinds of service providers. It’s especially difficult in 5G networks because we are talking about doing this in real-time for thousands of dynamic services across physical, virtual, and cloud-based resources. And it’s effectively impossible using traditional operational processes and legacy OSS systems – you simply cannot use yesterday’s technology to manage tomorrow’s services. Analytics-driven automation is required.
But piecemeal, tactical automation that only addresses specific domains or services is not enough. The ecosystem approach to 5G – which incorporates CSPs, hyperscalers, software vendors, and systems integrators – demands a comprehensive end-to-end network approach to automation. With Blue Planet, we offer an open and standard-based path on the journey to 5G that gives you the ability to quickly build a scalable and agile multi-vendor 5G network, and efficiently roll out new on-demand slice-based services from end-to-end across multiple domains.
I encourage you to learn more about our state of the art Blue Planet 5G Automation Solution, and please take a few minutes to review our recorded Virtual Insiders Forum sessions, where you will hear CSPs and hyperscalers articulate their views 5G, automation, and a host of related topics. As always, you can contact us anytime to schedule a detailed discussion and demonstration focused on how Blue Planet Intelligent Automation can transform your IT and operations environments and accelerate your 5G journey.
I look forward to hearing from you.