Telco Cloud: Why it matters, how to make it happen, and how to measure success

If NFV/SDN, cloud native and cloud business practices are areas of interest or challenge, our insight and support can help.

Does telco cloud still matter?

Telco cloud technology was supposed to change the face of telecoms networks. Network functions virtualisation (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) were sold as a platform for operators to operate faster, cheaper and more effectively than ever before. But deployments to date have unlocked limited business value, and the industry has grown weary.

Yet telco cloud matters more than ever. Operators are investing heavily in 5G, whose use-cases depend on cloudification of network and IT infrastructure. In other words, if we don’t figure out telco cloud, 5G will never pay off.

Telco cloud tools and insight

STL Partners has been working with operators and technology companies since 2012 to help them understand and unlock value from telco cloud. These insights are drawn from our extensive research into what’s going on, and where the industry is headed next.

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Overview

What is telco cloud and why does it matter?

This overview explains the essentials about telco cloud, including virtualisation, NFV and SDN.

Research

NFV Deployment Tracker

Access our unique database of live commercial deployments of NFV and SDN by leading telcos worldwide. The latest update contains details on 572 deployments made up of 1100+ sub-components

Latest update: June 2020

Research

5G core and NFV: Different sides of the same coin?

The 5G network core is supposed to be fully virtualised and cloud-native. But formulation of the 5G standards has not been harmonised with the broader NFV project. What impact will this have on service innovation? Includes Rakuten case study.

Published: October 2019

Research

Open RAN: What should telcos do?

Alongside the roll-out of 5G cores and radios, the Radio Access Network (RAN) is evolving to a more open, virtualised and distributed architecture. What are the opportunities and risks for telcos?

Published: April 2020

Article

Cloud Native Telecoms: Are CNFs the future?

Unpicking the claim that “cloud native” is the future of telecoms, disentangling the reality of deployments from marketing spin. What does this mean for NFV?

Article

NFV goes mainstream: How cloud native is contributing to growth

The number of deployments of NFV and SDN continues to grow – but while some markets are moving on to the next phase, others are just getting going.

Article

NFV Vendor Landscape tool

An interactive tool that shows the offerings from different players in the NFV ecosystem,segmented based on the categories defined in the ETSI NFV architectural framework. It is a broad view of current and future offerings.

Article

Will open RAN help telcos reduce their physical infrastructure footprint

Open RAN will have serious consequences for the physical distribution of the mobile network. What strategies are operators adopting and how will this affect operations?

Article

Latest NFV News & Announcements

A selection of what we consider to be some of the most exciting recent developments in NFV & SDN, all of which have real potential to transform the current landscape.

Research

Telco Cloud: Why it hasn’t delivered, and what must change for 5G

Telco cloud made big promises for the transformation of telecoms. It is a fundamental enabler for 5G and the exciting opportunities ahead. Why hasn’t it delivered yet – and what needs to change?

Published: February 2020

Webinar

5G Telco Clouds: Where we are and where we are headed

In this webinar, we will argue that 5G will only pay if telcos find a way to make telco clouds work.

Article

Who cares about Telco Cloud?

Telco cloud, NFV, SDN… Many dismiss it as over-technical, over-hyped, or just plain boring. Deployments to date haven’t delivered much. Yet it is a fundamental enabler for 5G growth opportunities, so now is the time to get it right.

Research

NFV Deployment Tracker: Asia-Pacific points to the future

Asia-Pacific is the leading region in the global NFV/SDN market: highest volume of deployments and consistent record of innovation. The region points the way ahead for the global market.

Published: November 2019

Article

Rakuten’s network: is it really cloud-native, multi-vendor and fully-virtualised?

Japanese new-entrant operator Rakuten claims to have built a fully-virtualised, cloud-native, multi-vendor network, which is a world’s first. We evaluate the nature of Rakuten’s employment, breaking it down based on what each factor means and the extent to which these claims are true.

Webinar

Virtualisation: Reaching tipping point

A webinar on NFV and SDN. What operators are deploying, what this means, and how 5G is likely to accelerate progress. Based on our unique data on NFV deployments

Live event: May 2019

NFV/SDN

Telco Cloud

Unlocking the core and enabling growth

Research stream, including around 8 reports a year

Our dedicated research stream covers why telco cloud matters in the 5G era, how to make it happen, and how to measure success. NFV SDN, and beyond. It also includes access to the NFV Deployment Tracker, our industry-leading database of deployments.

 

The data intelligence you can expect from our NFV tracker

Telco Cloud

Unlocking the core and enabling growth

Research stream, including around 8 reports a year

Our dedicated research stream covers why telco cloud matters in the 5G era, how to make it happen, and how to measure success. NFV SDN, and beyond. It also includes access to the NFV Deployment Tracker, our industry-leading database of deployments.

 

The data intelligence you can expect from our NFV tracker

Research

3 telco business models: Soft-net, compute-net, cloud-net

Telcos must adapt to virtualisation and changing customer needs in the Coordination Age. Our three models offer a realistic agenda for telcos to build up the stack into the IT layer – either by themselves or through partnerships

Published: March 2019

Research

NFV Deployment Tracker: North America update

New deployments in N America are increasingly driven by 5G, with a striking role for open source and telco self-builds. N American deployments account for around 24% of the global total

Published: June 2019

Research

SD-WAN: enterprise challenges, flavours and future pathways

A three-part mini-series exploring SD-WAN technology from an enterprise perspective. How can SD-WAN help with enterprises’ challenges, what flavours are on offer and how do they work, and where will it go next?

Published: June 2019

Article

NFV Architectural Framework

NFV architecture needs to establish the virtualisation of diverse sets of network functions, and encourage the standardisation of NFV by addressing interoperability and enable VNFs to be used in a way that is independent of the vendor supplying them. This article explores the NFV architectural framework established by ETSI

Webinar

Telco SD-WAN: What’s happening, and how to do it?

In this webinar, hosted by Juniper Networks, we share our independent view on why SD-WAN should be an operator’s first VNF-based service. We also discuss models for deployment

Recorded: March 2019

Article

Introduction to SD-WAN

This guide provides an introduction to SD-WAN. Covers use cases, benefits for businesses and the future of the technology

Data chart

Proprietary vendors still dominate NFV

NFV promised to deliver truly open hardware and software platforms. Yet the space is still dominated by proprietary vendor solutions. We look at the data around this

Published: January 2019

Article

Benefits of SD-WAN: SD-WAN benefits over a traditional environment

SD-WAN brings with it several benefits over a traditional environment. Here, we explore the core benefits of SD-WAN and explain some of the nuance surrounding these.

Article

What is SD-WAN as a service?

SD-WAN does not have to be delivered in a hardware-centric way. Enter SD-WAN as a Service. SD-WAN as a Service is about applying the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model to SD-WAN

Article

CDN: what is edge CDN and virtual CDN (vCDN)?

Content and gaming providers face increasing competition to offer users the best quality of experience in the face of increasing demand for fast and high-quality streaming. The COVID-19 environment has put new strains on the network that means it is much more difficult to ensure delivery of content in a way that optimises user experience. There are two key trends emerging in CDN that could address this challenge: edge CDN and vCDN.

Article

15 NFV Solution Providers to Watch

We have been following developments and deployments in the Telco Cloud space for several years. In this article, we highlight fifteen different companies that offer NFV solutions, from traditional Network Equipment Providers to start-ups you may not have heard of.

Article

vRAN and edge computing: networking use cases will be key to investment and rollout

vRAN, or virtualised radio access network, could be one of the largest drivers for more distributed compute in the next five years. This has significant implications for how and where edge infrastructure will be deployed. There are several considerations edge application providers must take note of.

SD-Wan vs. MPLS

Article

SD-WAN vs MPLS: Will SD-WAN lead to the demise of MPLS?

When SD-WAN first came along, there was a lot of hype surrounding it; many said it was far superior to MPLS and that its rise would lead to the ‘death’ of MPLS. We look at the difference is between the two, and if one is in fact better than the other.

Meet the telco cloud team

Matt Pooley

Matt Pooley

Virtualisation Practice Lead

Yesmean Luk

Yesmean Luk

Consultant

Miran Gilmore

Miran Gilmore

Consultant

David Martin

David Martin

Associate Senior Analyst