Telco Cloud Deployment Tracker: Deploying NFs on public cloud without losing control

In this update, we present a review of telco cloud deployments for the whole of 2022 and discuss trends that will shape the year ahead. Fewer deployments than expected were completed in 2022. The main reason for this was a delay in previously announced 5G Standalone (SA) core roll-outs, for reasons we have analysed in a previous report. However, we expect these deployments to be largely completed in 2023. 

We also review deployments of NFs on the public cloud in 2022. While few in number, they are significant in scope, and illustrate ways in which telcos of different types can deploy NFs on public cloud while retaining control over the management and ongoing development of those NFs.

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CNFs on the public cloud: Recent deployments illustrate how to avoid hyperscaler lock-in

Few telcos have yet deployed critical network functions on the hyperscale cloud, as discussed in this report. However, significant new deployments did go live in 2022, as did tests and pilots, involving all three hyperscalers:​

Recent deployments and trials of CNFs on public cloud

Source: STL Partners

In our recently published Telco Cloud Manifesto 2.0, we argued that telcos thinking of outsourcing telco cloud (i.e. both VNFs/CNFs and cloud infrastructure) to hyperscalers should not do so as a simple alternative to evolving their own software development skills and cloud operational processes. In order to avoid a potentially crippling dependency on their hyperscaler partners, it is essential for operators to maintain control over the development and orchestration of their critical NFs and cloud infrastructure while delivering services across a combination of the private cloud and potentially multiple public clouds. In contrast to a simple outsourcing model, the deployments on public cloud in 2022 reflect different modes of exploiting the resources and potential of the cloud while maintaining control over NF development and potential MEC use cases. The telcos involved retain control because only specific parts of the cloud stack are handed over to the hyperscale platform; and, within that, the telcos also retain control over variable elements such as orchestration, NF development, physical infrastructure or the virtualisation layer.

In this report, we discuss the models which the telcos above have followed to migrate their network workloads onto the public cloud and how this move fits their overall virtualisation strategies.

Previous telco cloud tracker releases and related research

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