Taking Telecom to the Cloud

When I read about the Telecommunications market, I notice significant changes happening in parallel.

For instance, LTE (Long Term Evolution or 4th Generation Networks) is setting a new standard in transporting voice calls. Mobile phone users are accessing rich content, which in turn creates a balancing act between OTT (Over-the-Top) traffic and players on one side and carriers looking to monetize OTT on the other.

The proliferation of smart devices has led to a new ecosystem of machine-to-machine platforms and applications, which contributes to data growth explosion.

Evolution in Telecommunications happens faster with each generation.  The cool factor of fashionable features, generational performance leaps in handset equipment, increased bandwidth and ease of ‘getting connected’ all contribute to the speed of evolution.

This is unlike traditional network functions like SMS relays, content delivery, and support functions like OSS (Operations Support) and BSS (Busines Support) that serve individual functions and aren’t scalable.

As a result, the Telecom Cloud is increasingly appealing. It allows one shared pool of resources capable of running ‘softwarized’ network and support functions while meeting the service level agreements (SLA) of the Telecom network.

It’s like the difference between a buffet restaurant and having a personal gourmet chef with a fridge full of ingredients. The buffet restaurant offers you what has been prepared for the day — no more, no less. The chef can make you whatever you want — in specific portions — whenever you like (and more efficiently)

Characteristics

The “Cloud” remains a word with many definitions and implied uses.  There are many different cloud deployment models and, it can be argued, not all are really leveraging the cloud.

True cloud deployments should meet several criteria. I would describe the ideal (API) cloud as: controlled, scalable, flexible and pay-per-use resources offering a fully-transparent platform for virtual machine and software deployments.

Key players in the Telecom market envisioned this a long time ago and have been vocal on such cloud-oriented topics as the socialization of

communities through technology adoption, the future growth of networked devices and the introduction of the Telecom cloud infrastructure.

Dell

Dell’s cloud offering is very broad, consisting of Public Cloud Services, on- and off premise Private Cloud Solutions and Services, Converged Infrastructure Solutions, Cloud Infrastructure Design, Software, Consultancy, Security, Integration platorms (Boomi).

These are supported by a range of products, engagement practices, reference designs and programs to offer our customers the best experience in their paths to transformation. The common philosophy amongst the offerings is the Open Standards based approach to deliver capable and affordable solutions that suit our customers’ needs.

Open Source and OpenStack

Back to looking at the Telecommunications market, especially the equipment providers in this market.

I foresee a large-scale adoption of open source components on standards-based hardware to offer Software-as-a-Service solutions and network components as well as turnkey Infrastructure-as-a-Service solutions. Carriers will eventually leverage existing network, business and operations- support assets, allowing them to further enhance offerings.

The choice of leveraging open source platforms makes a lot of sense as it allows flexibility without affecting the ubiquitous nature of a true cloud. OpenStack is a great example of this. OpenStack is on its 6th release and offers all of the building blocks required for the Telecom cloud, especially when taking the ecosystem of value-add software vendors into account. OpenStack is already widely used in test plans and conceptual designs despite its absolute need for teams of skilled software engineers to create the environments.

Cloud Hardware

Making the right choices when selecting hardware is important as hardware will greatly influence operational expenses. Dell has been a very active player in datacenter solutions for years. More specifically, Dell leads in market share in the hyperscale server caegory (according to IDC).

With the experience gained in designing datacenter and high-performance servers, Dell started designing and delivering server products specifically-featured for Cloud deployments with PowerEdge C products. Additional components, such as Force10 and PowerConnect Networking complete the offering for end-to-end, turnkey cloud infrastructure solutions.

Dedication

Alongside the development of cloud server products, a dedicated team was assembled with the sole purpose of developing enablers for OpenStack design and deployment like reference designs, integration of Cloud based Block Storage, Software Defined Networking and Big Data Solutions based on Hadoop. Today, this group of experts is represented in the OpenStack Foundation board of Directors and has submitted components to the OpenStack Community such as the Crowbar software framework.

Rob Hirschfeld offers a non-technical overview of how OpenStack offers a unique combination of features for building hyperscale clouds.

Application overhaul

For OEM customers in the process of moving to the cloud, there are some unique considerations for a successful deployment. From designing for elasticity and scalability to ensuring fault-tolerance, license and infrastructure management, security,  multi-tenant readiness and more, Dell’s OEM Solutions team works closely with the broader Dell teams to deliver revenue-generating end-to-end cloud solutions.

Have you initiated any cloud deployments in your organization? If not, is it something you’re considering over the next 12-18 months?

 

Marcel Moelands

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1 Comments

  1. Looks good, Rob Hirschfeld has been educating people about OpenStack and cloud ready servers for a while and I think it’s good to see integration frameworks bringing together open source components. These days a software vendor must often be able to deliver both applicances as well as be able to deliver flexible licenses to leverage existing infrastructure, then provide flexible support options and ongoing customer relationships. Telecommunications is where cloud came from anway if you look at old maps of networks that were some other service provider’s repsonsibility… they were depicted as clouds. From a technical perspective it’s good to see the use of networking as a service and CDN technologies working together for content distribution. This is what we have been doing with the Elastic Trumpet.

    By: Asher Bond on March 6th, 2013 at 12:24 am

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