08/20/2022 5:46 am

Authors: Måns Burman, head of partnering and alliances, BA Cloud Software and Services, Ericsson and Magnus Gall, global account director, Red Hat

Service providers are uniquely positioned to serve up a new generation of immersive, personalized, ultra-reliable experiences, applications and solutions. Ericsson and Red Hat are expanding their collaboration for validation of network functions and platforms to enable service providers to bring their next generation services to market faster in a multi-vendor scenario.

A different plan of action is required when going multi-vendor

As service providers deploy 5G, they are focused on becoming more agile and innovative as businesses, allowing them to accelerate time to value. In undertaking this transformation, they must find the right balance between cost, risk and time to market.

Ericsson and Red Hat recognize that a multi-vendor approach requires a different plan of action compared to deciding for a single-vendor approach with vertically integrated solution and lifecycle management. Building multi-vendor networks requires proven interoperability in order to reap the ultimate benefits of flexibility and choice. Beyond the joint Ericsson and Red Hat work, we’re immersed in a broader ecosystem collaboration to simplify integrating different technologies and suppliers.

Ericsson and Red Hat want to free up service providers to focus on adding differentiation to their 5G services and value for their customers. We’ve been working for many months to define the optimal operating model for a multi-vendor scenario, so as to guide customers on how to deploy and fine-tune the combinations of Ericsson and Red Hat technologies, saving them time and resources.

Ericsson network functions on Red Hat platforms

The Ericsson and Red Hat collaboration gives service providers the confidence to accelerate their network transformation and reduce the risk when pursuing a multi-vendor strategy. Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud platforms are tested to run Ericsson’s network functions – which together make up a pre-defined reference configuration – that helps reduce the deployment complexity of distributed networks. We are investing significant joint engineering work, to get our combined technologies ready for commercial deployment in a demanding service provider network environment.

Ericsson and Red Hat now have validated solutions ready to deploy, empowering service providers with an open platform that extends across a network for vEPC, 5G Core, IMS, OSS and BSS. Our teams have been integrating Ericsson’s network function solutions with Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat OpenStack Platform. We have been running proof of concepts (POCs) with service providers around the world and have our first commercial 5G core deployments.

Ericsson and Red Hat are engaged in multiple technical collaboration projects at various stages and maturity. Including a collaboration for Cloud RAN where Red Hat participates in Ericsson’s Open Lab for interactive innovation with Ericsson Cloud RAN customers and ecosystem partners around the world.

The key thread across all these technical collaboration projects is that they’re all leveraging a common and worked out methodology.

Established process for technical collaborations

Our technical collaboration projects begin with addressing the Ericsson network functions’ requirements for the Red Hat infrastructure, together with a pre-defined networking blueprint and the compute requirements. This is done to ensure the platform’s capabilities for onboarding and hosting of the network functions, as well as to define an initial joint target reference configuration.

The validation process that follows is rigorous and thorough. The target reference configuration is deployed in a joint engineering lab environment and subject to an extensive set of test cases (e.g., onboarding, security, robustness, resilience, automation, etc.). During the testing engineers make adjustments to the target reference configuration, if required, to attain the final validated reference configuration. Service providers using the reference configuration gain greater ease and efficiency for the deployment, onboarding and hosting of the network functions and the opportunity to scale them with confidence.

The software baseline, deployment guides and blueprints for the validated reference configuration of the network functions and platform are fully documented along with the test case results. These allow service providers, in their role as prime integrator, to speed up installation, mitigate risks and limit the need for extensive system integration work.

5G Core and Cloud RAN

The cloud-native projects for Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core and Ericsson’s Cloud RAN running on Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform have attracted significant market interest. The collaboration project for Cloud RAN hosted on OpenShift is in execution stage, centered around our joint engineering teams making OpenShift ready to handle the cloud-native requirements of Ericsson’s Cloud RAN. For Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core hosted on OpenShift there are early commercial operations carrying live traffic, with larger scale commercial availability targeted for Q4, 2022. While the specific scope and challenges addressed for 5G Core and for Cloud RAN are different, the collaboration rests on the same methodology and engineering partnership.

Dual-mode 5G Core, Cloud RAN and all other Ericsson cloud-native network functions (CNFs) are by design built on cloud native principles and fully compliant with the requirements of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), as is Red Hat OpenShift.

Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core is built with a cloud-native, microservices-based architecture and combines Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and 5G Core (5GC) network functions into a common multi-access and cloud-native platform that supports 5G and as well as previous generations of Mobile Packet Core. It’s an evolution of Ericsson’s powerful virtualized portfolio, designed for cloud deployment, consisting of its Cloud Packet Core, Cloud Unified Data Management (UDM) and Policy and Signaling Controller products.

Ericsson Cloud RAN is a cloud-native software solution delivering disaggregated RAN functionality. Cloud RAN is a viable option for service providers to have increased flexibility, faster delivery of services and greater scalability in networks.

Ready and Set

– The foundation of the Ericsson and Red Hat collaboration is based on a set of technical collaboration projects.
– Customer value is created by ensuring that selected combinations of Ericsson and Red Hat technology are thoroughly pre-tested, optimized and documented prior to deployment in service provider networks.
– For service providers that closely follow a pre-tested reference configuration it will help limit the need for local system integration activities, de-risk the project and save time to market.
– Ericsson and Red Hat take individual responsibility for their own part of the offering.

Combining our unique strengths, together we continue working to be trusted partners for service providers on their journey to build flexible and open multi-vendor networks. No two companies have the same path, and we are here to deliver scalable network architecture and provide choice and agility to service providers, empowering their businesses whatever their strategy.

For more information, go to Ericsson and Red Hat collaborate to deliver multivendor solutions to CSPs and Red Hat and Ericsson Telecommunications Solutions.

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