Unlocking 5G with end-to-end distributed cloud

June 21, 2022 | 7 minute read
Himanshu Shukla
Senior Principal Product Manager, OCI Development Product Management
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Now that 5G mobile service has started to enter the mainstream, many are wondering what’s next for the technology. A real near-term economic incentive exists evolve to a 5G network, but for telecommunication, or telco, providers to deliver more value to their customers and attract new categories of customers, their success hinges on a key component: Harnessing the power of the distributed cloud.

Gartner defines distributed cloud as the distribution of cloud services to different physical locations, while the operation, governance, updates, and evolution of the cloud infrastructure services are the responsibility of the originating cloud provider.

In the last few years, we have witnessed two major technology driven inflection points in the telco industry: The adoption of cloud native technology to achieve promise of 5G and the shift from centralized data centers to distributed cloud architecture. The promise of 5G to deliver on use cases, such as massive machine type communication and ultra-reliable low latency communications, is now achievable thanks to network functions containerized and deployed in a microservice-based architecture.

The evolution of a distributed cloud computing paradigm also enables applications, tools, security, and management that are critical to operating and building on network delivered at the point of need. These two technology drivers not only enable telcos to bring efficiency to their network operations but also become a vehicle for future innovations in the industry.

Oracle offers a full spectrum of hybrid and edge cloud solutions that allow operators to distribute their workloads from the core to the edge. These distributed cloud capabilities offer telcos a range of infrastructure- and platform-as-a-a-service (IaaS and PaaS) options for deploying workloads where they’re needed and allow telcos to operate their networks in an efficient, effective manner with reliable, scalable cloud solutions.

Oracle infrastructure solutions across the distributed cloud

For telcos, requirements for performance, latency, regional deployments, data sovereignty, and security often prevent the adoption of the public cloud for network operations and other mission-critical applications. Oracle’s hybrid and edge offerings allow operators to address on-premise requirements for specialized deployments, such as user planes and private and public MEC, disconnected or intermittently connected operations, such as fault-tolerant independent operations, low latency and high performance like edge compute and MEC, and data locality and security.

Distributed Secturity - Analytics - Observability - Management

Let’s look at each of these solutions.

Dedicated Region Cloud@Customer

Dedicated Region Cloud @Customer or Dedicated Region is a fully managed cloud that brings all of Oracle’s cloud services into customers’ data centers. Customers get the same architecture, billing models, operations, security, and IaaS and PaaS services as in the public regions of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). This offering also includes Oracle’s enterprise cloud applications. You can use these services for lift and shift scenarios, such as IT and database workloads and network infrastructure workloads, or to upgrade legacy applications using modern cloud primitives while continuing to meet demanding performance and compliance goals of carrier-grade telecom platform infrastructure.

You can use dedicated regions to build a cloud-based telecom network infrastructure with a unified management and control plane to include having a full view of the current available capacity within the region.

Dedicated Region Cloud@Customer supports the following key telco use cases:

  • Secure and performant infrastructure to run 5G network and IT services: Dedicated Region allows telcos to deliver applications and services with integrated security, quality of service (QoS), and compliant data residency within their own data centers. Dedicated Region provides horizontal scalable cloud infrastructure to run mobile network infrastructure, such as 4G and 5G core, consolidated operations and business support system (OSS BSS), and enterprise IT applications, such as ERP or HCM.
  • Deploying 5G private networks to power Industry 4.0: 5G presents an opportunity to deploy private networks, allowing enterprises and public sector customers to obtain a custom network experience for their businesses. Dedicated Region allows telcos to readily operate an enterprise core, which can address the need for dedicated bandwidth capacity and range, security, high-quality connections, and consistent, always-on service to help reduce downtime. For example, factory automation or robotic applications on the factory floor might require a rapid response to avoid risk of damage or need to be able to navigate a changing environment in real time.
  • Modernizing and migrating to the cloud while staying on-premises: Some customers want to transform to a cloud model to benefit from cloud scale and associated cloud economics, but regulatory, security, or performance regulations require that they keep their operations or certain workloads on-premises. Dedicated Region provides them the same pricing and performance benefits as the public cloud, while allowing them to adopt a modern cloud-based approach to their business.
  • Data residency: Telcos have large volumes of subscriber data that are considered confidential or regulated. The data often needs to remain under the control of the operator, and it can’t be processed in a public cloud in a different country. It must be processed or analyzed at on-premises locations, within the network, and within the country of origin. So, carriers need a solution that allows them to keep the processing and storage of data under their local control. Dedicated Region allows customers to retain control of their data and keeps it within their country or region, while still working with the full power of the cloud.

Oracle Compute Cloud@Customer

Compute Cloud@Customer is a fully managed solution delivering core OCI services to any on-premises edge location for a consistent hybrid experience. It allows customers to run applications and workloads on-premises using familiar OCI services, tools, and APIs. With Compute Cloud@Customer, they can run OCI services locally and at the same time connect to a broad range of services available in a parent OCI region. Compute Cloud@Customer supports workloads and devices requiring low-latency access to on-premises systems, local data processing, data residency, and application migration with local system interdependencies.

Compute Cloud@Customer supports various use cases, including the following examples:

  • Distributing 5G network workloads from the core cloud (public or dedicated) to an on-premises edge: Telcos are increasingly looking to bring cloud capabilities to the near edge to support low-latency processing, reduce network load by limiting the amount of data that needs to be backhauled to the core. Telcos also want to distribute the processing of workloads for efficient consumption of resources across the network. For example, to improve the customer experience, telcos operate their 5G packet core and associated user plane functionality at the near edge to allow packet sessions to exit to the data network at the edge instead of bringing it back to the core.
  • Deploying cloud capabilities to an on-premises data center with the right footprint and cost: Outside of the core network, telcos need to deploy scalable cloud solutions to operate their workloads. At these regional metro data centers and near edge locations, such as aggregation sites, building an entire cloud region isn’t always feasible. As such, telcos are looking for a right sized cloud solution that satisfies their requirements for services, form factor, and cost. Compute Cloud@Customer provides a rack-scale solution that delivers the horsepower needed to operate telco workloads in an optimal footprint with the same pricing model as public cloud.

Oracle Roving Edge Infrastructure

Roving Edge Infrastructure is a service that extends fundamental OCI capabilities to a portable and ruggedized appliance that can operate outside of the traditional data center and at the far edge of the telco network. This availability allows applications with requirements for low latency, time sensitivity, and high throughput to function, even when connectivity to the core cloud isn’t available.

Roving Edge devices bring high performance to the edge with a mix of computing, storage, and platform software, running as a standalone 2U server in a ruggedized enclosure for purposes like data lake, analytics, line-of-business applications, or as small-size ultra-portable, battery powered devices that can be used for data collection in the field. A combination of CPU cores, memory, storage, and high-speed networking guarantees high-performance output from each node. Further, each device can support AI and ML processing through an embedded graphic processing unit (GPU).

Oracle’s Roving Edge solution is purpose built to bring core IaaS and PaaS services to far edge locations and are designed to support various virtualized workloads, such as multiaccess edge computing (MEC) applications, real-time local data processing and analytics, or distributed network functionality.

Bringing it all together

Oracle’s distributed cloud is a portfolio of fully managed and scalable solutions that bring cloud services to the telco’s own data centers and enable the buildout of a secure, performant, and sovereign cloud infrastructure.

OCI Public Region or Dedicated Region Cloud@Customer

With these solutions, you can build a complete dedicated cloud architecture for your businesses. Using Dedicated Regions, you can run a fully functional and performant private cloud region within your on-premises environment and expand to multiple regional Dedicated Regions for distribution of workloads or disaster recovery. Further, workloads can be distributed to the edge in a smaller footprint and form factor using either Compute Cloud@Customer or Roving Edge.

The Oracle distributed cloud offers you the choice to build a private cloud architecture with the same services as public cloud. You can have the same public cloud scale, operating model, and economics in a dedicated and private cloud to support your performance, security, and compliance needs.

Conclusion

Oracle is committed to providing our customers with a range of performant hybrid and edge offerings across distributed cloud to meet their needs. The spectrum of solutions that Oracle offers allows you to select and deploy the right infrastructure to operate cloud native workloads wherever you need to run. You can access the benefits of a full dedicated region with cloud economics and performance with Dedicated Region to deploy second-generation cloud services at rack scale with Compute Cloud@Customer or operate highly performant workloads at the far edge with Roving Edge.

Himanshu Shukla

Senior Principal Product Manager, OCI Development Product Management


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