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on 1 March 2017

Mobile World Congress 2017: day 3 recap

With day three coming-and-going, it is clear the telecoms are going to come under more and more pressure to change their business models not to just thrive, but survive. The biggest threat to today’s telecom service providers are public cloud. Firms like Amazon, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud have become the supply chain for content and data delivery through the last mile. Customers are ubiquitously consuming content and information on multiple devices, and from multiple content providers like Netflix and Amazon Prime – all are happy to oblige.

Further, edge devices including CPE (consumer premise equipment), autonomous/connected cars, sensors, meters, IoT devices, etc. are constantly generating huge amounts of data that needs to be processed. To improve efficiency, telecom service providers are looking for ways to move processing closer to where the data is generated. This will involve an architectural shift from a centralised to a distributed model; for example, instead of 3-5 regional data centres, there might hundreds of “mini” data centres.

To be successful, telecom carriers understand they must fundamentally change their approach from a closed, highly fragmented business model that leverages proprietary solutions to merely connect everyone to one that is open and disaggregates hardware from software to enable new revenue generating applications and services. Moreover, by opening their architectures, telecom operators can reduce costs and improve overall operational efficiency from the data centre to the transactional edge by using software to automate many of the functions traditionally executed by humans. Canonical has developed several solutions that help our customers to manage this phase shift. Each of these solutions are being showcased at our MWC Booth (Hall P3 – 3K31).

MAAS (Metal as a Service)

As the foundation of our solutions stack, MAAS is our solution for bare metal server provisioning. MAAS allows operators to deploy physical hardware as opposed to virtual environments. Underpinning the service there are common technologies like PXE (preboot execution environment) and IPMI to ensure interoperability and support for a range of hardware. MAAS makes it easy to provision physical servers as easily as deploying a virtual machine in the cloud with full programmatic control over the hardware and its capabilities. Further, MAAS works across all vendors and operating systems including Windows, Ubuntu, CentOS, RedHat and Suse.

We are showcasing Ubuntu Core running on a top-of-rack switch (ToR) like the Facebook Wedge platform and even WiFi APs, running MAAS rack controller software to provide scale-out OS provisioning.

Ubuntu OpenStack

OpenStack is a way for telecoms to deploy Open Source cloud infrastructure on commodity hardware. Operators look at Ubuntu OpenStack as an opportunity to reduce the cost of application deployment while increasing the speed with which they can bring new application services online. Whilst the cost to deploy OpenStack is relatively low, the ongoing investment in maintenance, labour, and operations can be high as some OpenStack solutions are unable to automate basic tasks including updating and upgrading their environment. People are the expensive piece of the puzzle: fewer, but more experienced staff is the key to keeping costs down.

Early on, telecommunications companies and networking vendors recognised the potential for OpenStack as the platform for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and the applications that run on NFV called Virtual Network Functions (VNF).

During MWC we are are demonstarting how Big Software applications like Hadoop or Kubernetes can be deployed quickly and easily within Ubuntu OpenStack using Juju.

Juju & Charms

One of the most cutting-edge solutions on display on the Ubuntu booth is Juju. Juju is a state-of-the-art, open source operations modelling tool. It forms part of Ubuntu’s cloud portfolio, together with Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu OpenStack, MAAS for bare-metal provisioning, and Landscape for systems management and monitoring. Juju allows you to model, configure, manage, maintain, deploy and scale cloud services quickly and efficiently on public clouds as well as on bare metal via MAAS, OpenStack, and the LXD container hypervisor. You can choose to use Juju from the command line, or through its beautiful and powerful GUI. Juju allows service providers to model, configure and manage services across all major public and private clouds with only a few commands. Hundreds of preconfigured services are available in the Juju store.

At MWC we are exhibiting carrier-grade NFV MANO (management and orchestration) with the powerful combination of Juju and Open Baton. NFV MANO is a working group of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute Industry Specification Group (ETSI ISG NFV). It is the ETSI-defined framework for the management and orchestration of all resources in the cloud data centre. This includes computing, networking, storage, and virtual machine (VM) resources. Experience the integration of Juju as Generic VNF Manager into the Open Baton NFV framework. Their powerful runtime management features, auto-scaling and self-healing, will be demonstrated using Core Network Dynamics carrier-grade IMS and EPC VNFs.

If you are a telecom service provider looking for ways to reduce costs while improving operational efficiency through software, drop by the Ubuntu booth at Hall P3 – 3K31.

Remember to follow @ubuntu, @ubuntucloud on Twitter for real-time insights and updates throughout the #MWC17 show.

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