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The Future of Telco Networks in the Cloud: A Discussion Between Matt and Marco

Contributed by Matthew Twomey, Head of Product Marketing & Marketing, Anritsu Service Assurance & Marco Gatti, 5G Product and Solution Manager Anritsu Service Assurance

(This started, as nearly all good conversations are, on a friendly argument with my good friend Marco while in the pub eating tapas in Barcelona)

Matt: Marco, monitoring telco networks is inherently more difficult due to their unique challenges, such as subscriber mobility, diverse services, and stringent regulatory requirements. While cloud providers have made great strides in recent years, I think they are not yet ready to handle this complexity. However, they will eventually get there with the help of network software providers and monitoring and service assurance vendors like ourselves in Anritsu.

Marco: Matt, I understand your concerns, but I’d argue that telco networks are not fundamentally different from other IT services; they just have specific requirements related to the Telco industry, like defined networking capabilities. The complexity and challenges you mentioned can be solved by the cloud provider and made available as industrialized cloud service for on-demand consumption, and we’ll see IT cloud ultimately consuming Telco Cloud. The business cases will differentiate the adoption among private, public, and hybrid cloud approaches.

Matt: While I agree that cloud technology has made significant advancements, we can’t ignore the additional unique aspects of telco networks, such as mobility and diverse services. These complexities require specialized cloud-aware monitoring solutions, and cloud providers must invest in dedicated resources and technology partnerships to handle them effectively.

Marco: That’s true, but cloud providers like AWS, GCP, and Azure have already begun deploying network functions in the cloud, as well as implementing edge computing to address latency and availability concerns. They are partnering with many suppliers, like ourselves, to help address these issues. Moreover, they are continuously improving their infrastructure to meet the evolving needs of their customers, including telcos.

Matt: I agree that cloud providers are making progress but must also comply with the stringent regulatory requirements for telco networks. Ensuring their infrastructure and services meet these standards can be challenging and resource-intensive. Who can tell who is responsible when a regulatory requirement fails on a cloud?

Marco: While compliance is challenging, cloud providers are no strangers to regulatory requirements. They already cater to industries with unique regulations, such as healthcare and finance. Cloud providers will adapt to the telco industry’s requirements as they gain more experience and develop specialized solutions. This will clarify contractually who’s accountable and responsible, the CSP, the cloud provider, or the network vendor when events happen.

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Matt: Another concern is the seamless integration of telco-specific monitoring solutions with cloud infrastructure. In short, monitoring is vital to understand what is happening on the network. Still, it will be even more important as an input into zero-touch networks orchestrating not only the telco network but also the cloud. This may require cloud providers to think of customizations and novel solutions, as well as work with telco operators and monitoring solution vendors in a more in-depth way.

Marco: Seamless integration between CSPs, Network vendors, monitoring solutions, and potentially multiple cloud types and providers is a crucial requirement for cloud adoption success. Integration is challenging, but cloud providers have a track record of working with various partners and vendors to develop integrations and customized solutions. As more telco operators embrace the cloud, we can expect cloud providers to invest in and prioritize seamless integration with telco monitoring solutions.

Matt: That’s a valid point, Marco, but we should also consider that monitoring on public cloud is compute and storage intensive. Cloud providers might hesitate to allocate resources for these tasks due to the associated costs. Monitoring, however, is not optional, as it is essential for ensuring service quality and customer experience.

Marco: You’re right, Matt. Monitoring in the cloud can be resource-intensive, but I believe that cloud providers will find ways to optimize their resource usage and costs enabling effective monitoring solutions. Moreover, as the market evolves and competition increases, cloud providers will be incentivized to address the needs of the telco industry more efficiently.

Matt: I agree, and deploying clever AI closer to the edge and within the monitoring solutions themselves will be vital to ensuring efficiency and keeping cloud costs down. By analyzing data in real time and making intelligent decisions at the edge, we can reduce the amount of data that needs to be processed and stored in the cloud, ultimately lowering costs and optimizing resource usage.

Marco: That’s an excellent point, Matt. Combining edge computing and AI-driven monitoring solutions can alleviate some of the resource-intensive aspects of telco network monitoring in the cloud. As cloud providers and telco operators continue collaborating and innovating, we expect to see more efficient and cost-effective solutions.

 

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