The Do’s & Don’ts of going Cloud Native with communications
Fri 14 Jan 2022
In just a short few years cloud computing has revolutionised how countless industries operate. Conventional methods would adopt an approach that necessitates software licenses, hardware and servers to ensure a working IT infrastructure. However, the advent of cloud computing has allowed traditional IT functions to move online in a cost-effective way and significantly reduce the need of expensive hardware.
In the search for ways to benefit from the growth of 5G, communication service providers (CSPs) are increasingly looking towards cloud native approaches. As a catch-all term, cloud native computing typically refers to the technologies and solutions that enable organisations to build and scale applications in a range of dynamic environments including public, private, and hybrid clouds.
Cloud native approach
Communication service providers have been migrating to the cloud for years but embracing a truly cloud-native agenda requires a far more expansive approach. Conventional, legacy processes need to be reassessed and modernised to make the most of cloud advantages.
Cloud-native solutions like Kubernetes, micro-services and open APIs offer communication service providers the opportunity to focus on innovation and move away from out-dated approaches. It’s also clear that automation can contribute to the success of cloud native approaches, when used effectively. As 5G services require regular updates and upgrades, automation can ensure that all installation, testing and delivery is as frictionless as possible.
In an interview with Google Cloud, Dr. Lester Thomas, Head of New Technologies and Innovation at Vodafone, pointed to a powerful use case where automation has been able to make a genuine difference. “The anomaly detection use case that we’ve done so far is about analysing the root cause of what’s going on in the network. We see that as the very first part of an autonomous network,” he told Google.
It’s vital for communication service providers to establish a cloud native data platform that is able to manage data in clearly defined and standardised ways. By setting standards around data quality and interoperability, actionable insights can be more easily extracted.
Like any successful project, getting the technology right is only one aspect that needs to be addressed. Skilled staff are essential to any cloud native deployment with recent figures showing workers are turning their attention to the skills needed in the cloud environment.
According to the State of Cloud Native Development Report developed for CNCF by SlashData, there are now 6.5 million cloud native developers, an increase of 1.8 million since Q2 2019. On top of this, more than four million developers currently use serverless architectures and cloud functions, illustrating the growing usage of cloud native approaches.
While the exact tech stack of each enterprise will differ, often significantly, it is unlikely that any communication service provider would benefit from possessing separate infrastructure for both virtualised and containerised workloads. Creating an arbitrary separation between these workloads not only makes more work for staff who need to deal with hard-to-manage siloes but it also makes scaling more difficult.
Breaking down data silos should be a primary goal for communication service providers as taking advantage of the potential of 5G will be unnecessarily challenging with a poor data management strategy.
Many communication service providers have already seen the value of going cloud native with statistics from research firm Gartner finding that cloud-native platforms will form the basis of over 95% of new digital initiatives by 2025, a massive increase from just 40% in 2021. Those companies that fail to embrace this approach will find it increasingly difficult to compete with those firms that incorporate cloud-native platforms.