As we have mentioned in previous articles, network virtualization is currently of utmost importance in the Telco-networking industry. Not only is it a priority, but the race is ongoing in all that might mean improving this technology. At this year’s MWC, the best technology enabler award went to Huawei, for its Network Function Virtualization (NFV) performance and capabilities. Let’s explore the features that pushed Huawei’s Cloud Native on top of the contestant group.
Huawei’s NFV – Cloud Native
As the company puts it, Cloud Native goes beyond virtualization. In order to provide ROADS (Real-time, On-demand, All-online, DIY, and Social) user experience, carriers need modern, specially-tailored network architectures. Reuniting SDN (software-defined networking), NFV and cloud computing into a functional, integrated ecosystem goes by the name of All Cloud, in Huawei’s vision.
This solution presumes “full cloudification”. It is in fact the middle stage of a process considered by the company as inherent to all modern carriers. The first stage is virtualization, the middle one “cloudification”. The ultimate phase would be Cloud Native. All three steps pave the way to achieving the All Cloud transformation.
Therefore, Cloud Native, the technology that earned Huawei’s MWC award, represents the peak in this proprietary network architecture. Besides the concept, the company materialized the corresponding model. At MWC 2017, Huawei presented a Cloud Native demonstration in cooperation with Vodafone.
More about the Cloud Native demonstration
The joint Cloud Native team set up a collaborative laboratory for the demo in Milan. Several key technologies in the project proved to stand the verification performed at the Core Network Innovation Center.
What was it all aimed at – one might ask. Infrastructural elements need to be put into context in order to show their qualities. This time, the companies “showcased (an) autonomous driving demo, supported by Huawei Cloud Native-based core network”.
*We should add that the term “cloud native” is not Huawei-exclusive, and that others are also trying to achieve the commercial, material models for this modern telecommunications element. The idea of cloud-native applications “redefined the competitive landscape across virtually all industries “. In fact, there is also a Cloud Native Computing Foundation that launched in 2015. Its goal is to “drive alignment among container technologies”. Huawei is a member of the CNCF, along with AT&T, Box, Cisco, Cloud Foundry Foundation, CoreOS, Cycle Computing, Docker and other well-known companies.
Building upon the cloud native architecture
Another Huawei release at MWC 2017 is Cloud Metro – a solution based upon the previously introduced architecture. It fits the current and future networking and telecommunication needs for rapid integrations and efficient operations. Also, it enables “metro networks utilize cloud technology to enable resource pooling, service agility, operation automation and open platforms.”
Separating the functional modules in two layers, Cloud Metro allows for on-demand service function selection, as well as for deployment. The solution already is in the deployment stage in China, where it supports “commercial SD-UTN (software-defined unified transport network) smart government and enterprise leased line services”.
As all innovations are even more successful when integration is seamless, this solution counts on Cloud Native architecture, and in turn it links with 5G-enabled service diversity. Huawei also showcased 5G network slicing, in a conjoint demonstration with DT this time.
Why standardization is important
As in many technical and industrial environments, standardization ensures that a standard systems architecture describes the relationship between parts. In simple terms, going through this process guarantees that further along the way “pieces” coming from various providers will harmoniously fit together – and integrate well.
Due to the importance of cloud native in virtualization, Virtualization Review broke down the cloud native architecture layers in one of their articles. Providing a starting roadmap for all those interested, their block diagram of the subsystems found in cloud native architecture serves in pinpointing the main elements that benefit from standardization.
Here are the main standardization targets, as Virtualization Review sees them, via CNCF:
- the container OS;
- also, the container runtime;
- the container orchestration and management;
- the physical infrastructure on which the container OS resides;
- the source code management and registry services.
Why is cloud native a key technology for the future?
Due to its core function of enabling more rapid software release, as well as continuous delivery, cloud native stands out as a key technology for the future. Estimates about the future of telecommunications also come in continuously – yet they point in the same direction, or at least most of them do.
The next years will test even the strongest capabilities, Lots of demands, infinite data traffic, exponentially growing user numbers. All these will push the limits to the maximum – and all professionals caught unprepared might not stand this trial.
Ad-hoc automation is insufficient for what will come. Solid, integrated structures stand better chances of resisting to the future demands. Plus, these should allow further expansion. Here enters cloud native, and each successful demo and integrated architectural element confirm its validity as a resistant, capable technology for this telecommunications’ tomorrow.