MWC 2019: VMware says telcos must move 5G infrastructure into the cloud to stay ahead

The SD-WAN giant wants to bring some of industry's biggest players into the 5G fold

VMWare building with arched glass front

VMware made many announcements at MWC 2019 and they all centred around one common theme: network virtualisation.

"If a telco wants to progress in the future, they need to think software-defined," said Gabriele di Piazza, VP products & solutions for telco at VMware. "More and more communication service providers (CSPs) are turning to VMware to lead their transformation ahead of 5G rollout."

It thinks that there needs to be a shift away from hardware-defined architecture, towards a fully virtualised one which will enable telcos to beat competitors to market with fully automated, scalable infrastructure.

Traditional data centre models will be a thing of the past and phones will transmit to masts and that data will be sent to the cloud, where the network is managed virtually in a SlaaS configuration - we're noticing a pattern here.

VMware calls it a 'telco cloud' which will exist alongside the traditional public, private, hybrid and edge clouds. The network function virtualisation (NFV) platform on its telco cloud will enable better management of a network and improved efficiency of services.

Features and applications can be applied to the cloud environment such as machine learning-driven technology that can spot issues and vulnerabilities and automatically patch them without having to physically attend a data centre and make a repair.

"With the current demands placed on carrier networks reaching new levels and 5G on the horizon, there's no room for error when it comes to network infrastructure," said Piazza. "Near real-time solutions are the key to identifying and fixing issues in order to keep networks humming. Networks need unified monitoring, automation and assurance across physical and virtualized networks to deliver the highest levels of performance, scalability and resiliency."

Among the vast amount of announcements the company made at this year's MWC which included its telco cloud, NFV virtual cloud platform, it also announced some key business partnerships that aim to strengthen 5G network management on the whole.

Building on a relationship dating back to 2012, VMware announced it's teaming up with Ericsson to test, validate and optimise the biggest network functions in VMware's cloud.

This makes both firm's offerings more appealing as Ericsson becomes one of the prime chargers in the 5G infrastructure scene, it benefits from having its applications available on the VMware cloud and having them tested for assurance by the pair of them.

It will make it easier for telcos to access and manage the Ericsson services they need while knowing that they're safe and optimised as they reside in the cloud.

VMware also announced that it will be servicing T-Systems as its managed services provider using its Workspace One multi-cloud platform.

When the company hires a new employee, that employee's work device, say a phone, can be delivered to them on their first day pre-loaded with every application they need to function in the office.

One of the main issues with the current workplace is those presented, ironically, by security products, said Adam Rykowski, VP product management for Workspace One.

Multi-factor authentication can be an issue for new starters or when working remotely because users would have to log in to every service, of which there could be up to 30-40 which is hugely laborious and time-consuming.

Using Workspace One, all the apps the employee needs reside in the cloud and can be accessed using a single sign-on that VMware applies to all relevant apps.

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