The Journey to 5G – A Cloud-Centric View

5G: The new 3G?

Let’s go back to 2007, back to the introduction of the very first iPhone.  This was a significant moment—for Apple, the mobile phone industry and for consumers. It was also a huge moment for 3G. True, the first iPhone didn’t even support 3G. But it created a platform that would ultimately help drive widespread 3G adoption once the iPhone 3G was released one year later. The iPhone was not just a phone, but also a sophisticated communication device that delivered the functions of a PDA, web client, messaging client, navigation device, camera and music player (one that provided access to a new ecosystem and delivery model that morphed an entire industry). The simultaneous introduction of iPhone 3G and the App Store, bringing third-party development to iOS, certainly helped drive mobile, connected, app-driven world of technology we know today.

So… what does this have to do with 5G? It’s clear from the iPhone, that while 3G was an enabler of its growth and success, the iPhone was also an enabler of the growth and success of 3G. Similarly, the 5G revolution will not be just about 5G in the 3GPP release 15 or 16 sense of the term. Key advances in 5G-NR (massive MIMO, mmWave etc.)  5G-SA/CUPS are all important and necessary innovations, but they are not sufficient in terms of the platform that will cater to and power a new wave of emerging 5G (see Telehealth), edge computing and IoT applications.

A new breed of platforms is needed

The demand for flexible function and service instantiation, increased agility and intelligence across the edge-core-cloud dictates the infusion of compute, storage and additional embedded capabilities to cater to increasingly diverse and interlinked sets of workload profiles.  Imagine 30 billion IoT end points running concurrently alongside self-driving vehicles, predictive maintenance algorithms and content caching and acceleration applications (and virtualized network functions (VNFs) too), all requiring different SLAs, sets of resource types, security, resiliency mechanisms etc.

This entails a flexible, pervasive workload execution platform that can bring together the best of IT, services, and workload management.  It includes mobility capabilities at levels of scale and concurrency that require increased embedded logic, intelligence and automation across very diverse administrative domains and technology types.  Managing and updating this platform in a secure and efficient manner will present new challenges that must be addressed to meet service level and cost targets.

This platform must be able to enable complex service logic, power sophisticated composable functions and service graphs, and enforce policies with granular workload visibility in the right location (intelligent distribution), with the right amount of allocated resources, and at the right time.   The platform must also leverage the full power of large developer communities with flexible licensing models that will foster a new wave of mass-adoption and innovation (e.g. smart city collaboratively keeping people safer and more informed). This aspect of 5G may prove to become the most meaningful modernization challenge service providers will need to take on.

Cloud-enabling 5G

Dell and VMware have significant roles to play in driving the evolution and advancement 5G-ready platforms. With its validated Edge Computing, IoT and 4G/5G architectures and solutions, Dell accelerates a new generation of mobile rollouts.  These solutions minimize product, technology, integration risk over a variety of cloud management platforms with the added benefit of a curated ecosystem of VNFs and services partners.

Dell and VMware have partnered across the hardware and software stack to automate and accelerate mobile operations and enable premium user experiences with optimized economics. These unique workload profile management, visibility and security capabilities increase operational agility and help streamline operating costs across geographies, administrative domains and organizations.  The Dell and VMware supply chains, global support and financing practices contribute to accelerating the 5G modernization on a global scale.

Our solutions “in action” at MWC

Come see all of these Edge, 5G and IoT capabilities “in action” and meet our experts at the MWC 2019 Barcelona Hall 3 Stand 3M11; or go here for an update on associated webinars, video series and articles or to schedule an-in person meeting.

About the Author: Mehdi Sif

Mehdi Sif has more than 20+ Years of experience working for the leading global service provider companies. Previously, as Vice President of the Global Solutions Team at Huawei USA, Mehdi led the company’s CSP solutions strategy offering worldwide. Mehdi pioneered the company’s Mobile Innovation Lab in Silicon Valley, with a focus on NFV and Mobility. He has also had senior positions at Juniper Networks, Nokia and Nortel. Mehdi is the recipient of the 2004 U.S. Presidential Gold Medal Award for his work with the International Executive Service Corps (IESC). He holds an MBA in Management of Technology and is the author of various patents in the areas of (4G) Mobility and Network Function Virtualization (NFV).