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Drive down 5G complexity with automation

Contributed by Olivier Daures, Strategic Marketing, Communications Technology Group (CTG) at Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Why is automation a must-have requirement for emerging 5G services? And how can HPE help you enable it? Let’s take a closer look.

Imagine you run a successful restaurant kitchen, managing a busy team of station chefs and assistants. At any moment, your team is working on a dozen different tasks, but you manage to keep everything tightly coordinated and on schedule. Now, imagine your restaurant expands—by a lot. Now, you’re asked to serve dozens more dishes to 1,000x more diners. Suddenly you’re managing a staff of hundreds, with thousands of tasks happening simultaneously. You still need to keep everything coordinated and on schedule. One thing becomes immediately clear: the way you used to run things—all the systems and tools you had developed over the years—won’t work anymore.

To succeed at this scale, you need to completely rethink your operations.

Fortunately, this is just a hypothetical situation. But if you’re part of a service provider organization preparing for 5G standalone (5G SA) networks, it might sound familiar. 5G brings amazing new capabilities, with the ability to tailor services for enterprise and industrial customers and differentiate your offerings. But that flexibility comes with enormous new operational complexity. In a world of cloud-native infrastructure and microservices, your network has exponentially more moving parts—and yesterday’s operational approaches will no longer get the job done. There’s only one option: automate. And Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), a global leader in service provider orchestration and assurance, can help you do it.

A driving need to automate

The next evolution of 5G networks rewrites the rules for service providers, breaking free from the “one-size-fits-all” connectivity models of the past. With the move to 5G SA, you can use network slicing to customize services for diverse enterprise use cases. You can configure slices to meet disparate requirements – for latency, resiliency, and other attributes – under different service-level agreements (SLAs), over a single infrastructure. 3GPP[1] has already identified 74 distinct consumer and business-to-business (B2B) service scenarios that 5G enables.

This is great news from a business perspective, allowing you to tap into new markets and use cases where you never played before. But operationally? Life just got a lot more complicated. If you’re responsible for provisioning and managing 5G services, you now have to contend with:

  • IT-based software models. 5G SA brings software methodologies from the IT world to service provider environments for the first time. Concepts like DevOps and automated Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines can help you be more agile by continually adding and optimizing network capabilities much quicker. But if you’re not used to working this way—and most Ops teams aren’t—it can feel like a totally different world.
  • Exponential increase in network entities. 5G also brings cloud-native architectures and disaggregation principles from hyperscale cloud environments to operator networks. Instead of using mostly monolithic, single-vendor network appliances, you’re now managing hundreds of virtualized and containerized network functions (VNFs/CNFs) from multiple vendors, and thousands of containers. Here again, you can benefit from agile and flexible cloud models, provided you can handle the massive increase in volume, dynamicity, and complexity of service elements.
  • Complex multi-layer, multi-vendor operations. To provision network slices, you need to apply consistent service characteristics end-to-end across all network layers and subnets such as RAN, core, transport, and enterprise, as well as VNFs/CNFs from multiple vendors.

If you’re wondering how you’ll navigate these requirements using manual processes, handcrafted workflows, and aging service assurance tools, you can’t. There are just too many discrete components, with too much happening at once. Somehow, you have to automate and abstract away that complexity, and enable zero-touch provisioning and management.

Automating 5G operations with tools from HPE

As a longtime leader in service provider network automation, and one of the first to offer a fully cloud-native 5G SA solution with the HPE 5G Core Stack, HPE is the ideal partner to help solve this complexity problem. With our 5G automation software, we can help you automate the end-to-end operation of 5G networks and slices and provide consistently excellent customer experiences.

We can help you:

  • Automate the management of 5G networks and services with intent-based orchestration and zero-touch operations
  • Accelerate your network slicing implementation to start offering customized enterprise services
  • Respond to ongoing network and service changes in dynamic 5G environments in a simple, codeless way
  • Deliver consistently superior 5G services with automated assurance, driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML)

You can enable these capabilities with two recent additions to the HPE portfolio:

  • 5G capabilities for HPE Service DirectorYou can now orchestrate 5G infrastructure and services in a simple, codeless way to optimize operations across your environment. With intent-based modeling, you can design service models and policies at the level of business processes and orchestrate their end-to-end implementation across your hybrid network. You can use zero-touch, profile-driven 5G network slicing orchestration and fully automate lifecycle management of slices across domains.
  • HPE 5G Automated Assurance. Building on our industry-leading service assurance platform, we offer an ML-based solution to collect and monitor vast amounts of information from 5G networks. You can automatically detect, predict, and remediate network and service issues, including triggering healing actions. And you can use analytics tools and dashboards designed specifically for dynamic multi-vendor 5G networks.
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