VMware sees open infrastructure, automation and integrated management as key to accelerating enterprise private network deployments
At a virtual session during VMworld this week, the company broke down the opportunities and challenges associated with not just deploying private enterprise network, but also standing up differentiated services dependent on a mix of public, private, and edge cloud infrastructure.
VMware Senior Director of Solutions Management Sumit Verdi called out a multi-vendor open infrastructure, automation and integrated management as key drivers of successfully delivering private networks, which service providers see as a key piece of deriving revenue from broader investments in both virtualized/cloud-native 4G and 5G networks.
Verdi called out digitization opportunities in 5G for verticals, including automotive, energy and utilities, manufacturing, public safety, and healthcare.
These verticals, Verdi said, are all “moving towards a new paradigm of applications really focused on looking at experience, looking at decision-making within these particular industries, and also a class of automation. The overall [service provider]ecosystem…is now going to span multiple industries, so going from a very consumer-centric model to now kind of trying to take a look at a B2B model.”
Here’s where it gets tricky. Carriers know that meaningful 5G service revenue will come from serving enterprises, not consumers. But to correctly serve the variability of the enterprise verticals delineated above, 5G networks need to be highly flexible with compute distributed out to the network edge whether that’s far-edge sites or even geographically close to the enterprise.
And, when you consider needs ranging from campus talk, text and data, to support for all forms of internet of things devices, including utility meters or light sensors on the low end to autonomous AGVs or HD video streaming coupled with video AI on the high-end, a problem around scaling management and orchestration emerges, as does a challenge associated with real-time monitoring of wildly different calibers of SLAs.
Verdi said adherence to SLA requirements “is going to become critical. More and more of these applications are going to get classified into the ‘mission critical’ type of context. As such, SLAs are going to be very, very critical.” Then there’s the question of automating device onboarding, mobility management and so forth.
Another issue comes up around interconnect. “As we see this ecosystem of edges basically evolving, I think this interconnectivity and interoperability across this multi-cloud environment…is going to be critical,” Verdi said. For example, think of a manufacturing plant–there’s potentially a private cloud on-prem that’s connected to a public cloud with each used depending on data sovereignty and governance practices. Add in a private edge cloud used for near-real time data processing that’s connected to a private 5G network, whether that’s private in the sense of enterprise-owned or delivered through a slice of an operator’s public network.
Other considerations include security and spectrum. The point is, delivering this type of service can (and will) take many forms, it will be complicated, it will be key to returning network investments made by operators, and it will happen. The ability to scale, differentiate and manage all of it will inform service provider success and the degree to which that value can be passed on to enterprises.
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