Why Telecom Modernization Calls for Kubernetes

Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders have realized that digital transformation is both imminent and necessary. Despite the diversity of industries in which one can track these moves, the backbone of each transformation is telecommunications—indeed, we can thank the telecom sector for allowing us to buy a product, check a credit card balance, or even see a doctor using our mobile devices.

In recent years, digital transformation has been made faster and more accessible thanks to a technological leap in the communications landscape: 5G. This network technology is driving monumental shifts in the digital economy by connecting our world and its inhabitants through the IoT. As a key to progress, then, 5G presents an unmissable opportunity for network operators, and seizing it will require that they modernize their products to meet changing customer needs.

To do so, many telcos have turned to cloud-based solutions to achieve carrier-grade networking and performance. One such solution is Kubernetes (or K8s), an open-source container orchestration platform first released by Google in 2015. In the time that has passed since, K8s has empowered telecom companies to move to cloud-native infrastructure and deliver the applications and services that consumer and business customers have come to expect—particularly with 5G.

Keeping up with the times, however, will require telcos to solve the issues that come with containerizing their 5G networks, including concerns over system complexity and security. With a smart adoption of Kubernetes, the industry can deal with these challenges by networking across the hybrid cloud and automating its way to efficiency and innovation.

Networking across the telco cloud

At its core, Kubernetes provides a streamlined means of orchestrating cloud-native application bundles, or containers. It does so by virtualizing operating systems, which allows companies to spin up container clusters whose deployment can be automated to minimize downtime and maximize savings.

These advantages provide the flexibility and scalability needed for capitalizing on the telco cloud vision — to turn 5G networks into platforms for person-to-person communication and marketplaces for third-party services. By grounding these products in portable clusters, Kubernetes can make the most of 5G by reducing latency, supporting application auto-healing, and ensuring native integration. 

K8s also offers telecom businesses a number of operational benefits. While these companies’ clouds have traditionally been based in private data centers (the management standard for 3G, 4G, and LTE networks), the rollout of 5G equipment has changed the game. Now, with network function virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) becoming the defining characteristics of the telco cloud, carriers are adopting hybrid and multi-cloud approaches to 5G deployment. 

In this context, Kubernetes is a boon because it can connect employees across on-premise and public clouds, all while eliminating authentication and compatibility issues between network and platform functions.

Given the scope of this type of digital transformation, it can be challenging to successfully manage a hybrid K8s deployment. With Diamanti’s Kubernetes platform, leaders get the tools and backing necessary to handle this complexity. Thanks to its streamlined approach to orchestration and dedicated support teams, Diamanti demystifies the process of system set-up and allows telcos to make a seamless transition to the hybrid cloud.

Automating savings and innovation with Kubernetes 

Making this transition can unlock one of Kubernetes’ most valuable features — automation. Yet the possible benefits of K8s automation face an industry-specific barrier: telecom engineers are often accustomed to manually configuring IP networking equipment and setting their own pace for workflow. While this might be accepted practice in the sector, it can also prove costly in terms of team productivity and computing spend, costs that are guaranteed to rise as providers continue to roll out 5G.

Thankfully, K8s is designed to automate these processes. By setting container deployment to correspond to periods of high and low network traffic, businesses can simplify operational complexity, save money, and free employees up to concentrate on bringing new services to market. With Diamanti’s centralized Kubernetes platform, for example, telcos can manage multi-layer automation across the hybrid cloud with ease. This enables them to simplify network operations between legacy and cloud-native infrastructure by automating container lifecycle management.

Diamanti’s platform also provides leaders with enhanced security and integrated analytics pipelines, which can together help them make informed, business-smart decisions about next steps in the market. This agility won’t just allow a seamless transition to 5G but ensure telcos are equipped to accompany the industries that they serve in their own digital transformations.