On the Road to Cloud-Native: Telco Operators’ Cloud Journey

Visibility Without Borders is key to overcoming cloud challenges.

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Over the past several years, telcos have been making significant investments in the development of cloud infrastructures and virtualized network functions (VNFs) to meet the growing demands of advanced technologies and the rapid deployment of 5G networks. According to recent market research, the telecom cloud market size is projected to surpass $105.7 billion by 2030 and to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.45% from 2022 to 2030.

Many telcos began their cloud journey by embracing network function virtualization (NFV), taking a full-stack, virtual machine-based VNF approach. Virtualization held the promise of lower OpEx and CapEx for operators. The goal was to make networks cheaper as well as better equipped to rapidly scale to meet growing demand. This was accomplished by purchasing commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, as opposed to dedicated equipment that would necessitate support, maintenance, and periodic upgrades. Running network functions as the software on the COTS would allow for scalability to handle peaks in network capacity demand.

In addition to being a more cost-effective strategy, telcos saw virtualized networks as a way to increase the speed of innovation so they could more rapidly introduce new services, thus generating important new revenue streams.

Ultimately, it is not entirely clear if cost reductions have resulted from virtualization, because telcos have more recently taken on the large expense associated with the rollout of 5G and fiber.

Continuing Down the Path Toward Cloudification

The subsequent phase of telco cloudification has been a move to a “cloud-ready” approach. In this phase, telcos are utilizing disaggregated stacks and decomposed VNFs to provide pre-integrated solutions. As operators continue to look for a return on investment (ROI), there is a growing belief that further cloudification will be needed to deliver on the industry’s innovation and technology aspirations.

Becoming cloud-native will bring considerable advantages for telcos. Because of cloud-native’s service-oriented architecture, operations will gain greater agility, which is particularly important for service innovation—enabling them to change things on the fly in response to customer needs. It also allows for increased elasticity, which means being able to scale up and down to meet constantly changing network demands, such as the edge cloud distributed requirements of 5G. And lastly, becoming cloud-native will enable a fully automated environment, which will be crucial in order to manage containers and microservices.

The Growing Importance of Visibility Without Borders

As telcos eventually become cloud-native, developing industry 4.0 applications such as those that support factory automation, transportation services, and eHealth services, innovative enterprise services, and applications will require zero tolerance for defects. Service assurance will need to be more predictive, allowing a more proactive approach to avoiding defects rather than simply reacting to them.

NETSCOUT’s Visibility Without Borders solutions focus on the service layer of the network, including the control and user plane, as opposed to just the infrastructure. By monitoring network traffic across all of these layers, NETSCOUT is able to use sophisticated artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to send alerts to closed-loop automation platforms, allowing telcos to take corrective action before a failure impacts the end user. Throughout telcos’ cloud journey, NETSCOUT Visibility Without Borders solutions will be crucial in enabling them to succeed.

 Learn more about NETSCOUT Visibility Without Borders for telcos.