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Cloud Native for Telco: Making IT Technology Feasible at the Network Edge

The term cloud native has come to dominate telco industry discussions around network transformation. Communications service providers (CSPs) are realizing that the cloudbased networking practices of the world’s leading web-scale companies can help their efforts become more efficient and deliver compelling end-user services.

Since Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) was introduced in 2012, many CSPs have pursued rapidly evolving network virtualization strategies: Physical network functions (PNFs) are being replaced by virtual network functions (VNFs) running in virtual machines (VMs) on industry standard IT hardware, rather than legacy appliances. Nonetheless, CSPs recognize that traditional virtualization is not enough to deliver significant cost savings and meaningful operational efficiency. They are focusing on cloudification and the implementation of cloud native services designed specifically for cloud environments.

CSPs are simultaneously pursuing edge computing strategies, distributing intelligence and processing resources to the edge to help deliver new experiences for customers and meet requirements for 5G services. Distributed edge cloud deployments require more operational flexibility and simplicity than centralized data centers, which makes them ideally suited for cloud native services.

But just because the term cloud native is pervasive doesn’t mean everyone has a firm grasp of the concept. And even if CSPs have already started down the path to virtualization by deploying VMs, they don’t have to start over to adopt cloud native technologies. This white paper aims to clarify what cloud native means, why it is necessary for edge cloud deployments, and how it presents solutions for implementing a cloud native strategy, wherever CSPs are in their network transformation.
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