James McShane
September 16, 2022

How can Operators leverage Telco Clouds to redefine Operations?

Now that cloud providers are offering carrier-grade cloud solutions, such as Azure for Operators (AFO), how can Telecom operators effectively and efficiently utilize these public/hybrid cloud solutions? In the transition from legacy methods to cloud solutions, Telecom operators (service providers) will need to consider which services should move to the private, public, or edge cloud and how to optimize these new offerings. Reailize provides optimal solutions for operators informed by over 20 years of expertise in fulfilling telco operators’ needs & in-depth knowledge of the latest cloud offerings available on the market.  

The 5G service-based architecture (SBA) defines how network functions are deployed in the cloud.  However, new revenue opportunities can be unlocked by operators if the ultra-low-latency, highly programmable characteristics of 5G networks are seamlessly and securely integrated with hyper-scale cloud services. This will allow developers to leverage these hyper-scale services such as AI, ML, security, analytics, and IoT in previously unavailable ways to provide new and innovative offerings to customers.

Traditional cloud offerings, including Azure, were designed for general cloud computing, not for telecom workloads, which require very low latency and specialized network functions. Azure for Operators addresses the unique requirements of reliability, resiliency, performance, observability, and security to deliver operator-grade communication services that address the performance demands of telecoms.

A brief timeline of Azure for Telcos:

  • July 2019 – AT&T and Microsoft announce a multi-year alliance in technologies including cloud, AI, and 5G.
  • March 2020 – Microsoft acquires Affirmed Networks.
  • May 2020 – Microsoft acquires Metaswitch.
  • September 2020 – Azure for Operators announced (AFO).
  • June 2021 – Microsoft acquired AT&T Network Cloud platform, and AT&T announced it will move its 5G mobile network to Microsoft’s AFO.
  • February 2022 – Microsoft unveils Azure Operator Distributed Services (AODS), the next-generation hybrid cloud platform for operators.

AFO aims to cloudify traditional telecom network infrastructure, creating virtualized elements redesigned into cloud services that can auto-deploy and self-scale. For example, telecom hardware such as switches and routers can be deployed as virtual machines or containers and hosted in Azure cloud and edge data centers, eliminating the need to install specialized hardware. Additionally, specific telecom functions such as cloud services or microservices should (and must) be redesigned. By cloudifying these functions and services, reliance on legacy hardware and lifecycle maintenance can be significantly reduced or eliminated along with the associated costs, and deployment “anywhere” (core, cloud, edge) becomes viable.

Figure 1: Redefining to Telco cloud

Essentially, AFO provides the platform for Operators to offer highly scalable and resilient networks and services to their customers with efficiencies that are not attainable with legacy processes. These enhanced network and service offerings will allow customers to develop opportunities that were not previously feasible, such as:  

  1. Agriculture: Enabling farmers to take real-time data from sensors, drones, and satellites to understand how soil, water, and livestock management intersect.
  2. Manufacturing: Businesses can create “digital twins” (virtual duplicates) of factories, applying new insights to drive better products and operations and reduce costs.
  3. Social: Providing the resources required to enable the development of real-time Augmented Reality (AR) experiences for gaming, learning, and medical applications.

Developing these new network and service offerings will require innovative thinking and the redesign of legacy processes and applications to integrate and fully take advantage of Azure solutions such as Azure private/public multi-access edge compute, Azure Sphere, Azure IoT for Operators, and Azure Stack HCI (Hyperconverged Infrastructure).

In addition to understanding telecom architectures, applications, and solutions, being able to relate these to Azure offerings and determining how to leverage AFO to effectively deploy at scale is a significant challenge. Reailize is in a unique position to partner with and provide solutions to telecom operators in multiple areas. We combine innovation with our tenured understanding of telecom applications and solutions and cloud expertise to enable the transition to telco cloud solutions such as Azure. Reailize leads groundbreaking solutions in areas such as:  

  1. Cloud Transformation - providing guidance and recommendations for advanced solutions for transitioning to the cloud efficiently while positively impacting ROI and TCO by up to 40%.
  2. 5G workload deployment and migration – application refactoring, deployment, and environment migration.  
  3. Service Assurance – defining KPIs and SLAs, proactive monitoring, RCA automation, lifecycle, etc.
  4. Targeted Workforce Development – new ways of working using Azure Cloud for Mobile Networks.

The reality of cloud for Telecom operators is here. The challenge is determining how to effectively and efficiently deploy these offerings to improve services and provide new offerings. Telcom operators have the opportunity to increase their relevance by refactoring and cloudifying their services and offerings, utilizing these telco-focused cloud services. By partnering with telecom and cloud services experts, Telecom operators can ensure that their requirements are addressed in the cloud without shifting their focus from their core telecommunications expertise.

Reach out to demo@b-yond.com to learn more about how Reailize can guide your transition to public/hybrid cloud solutions.