A new Competitive Assessment by global technology intelligence firm ABI Research provides an in-depth and objective evaluation of the telco cloud platforms offered by eleven 5G Telco Cloud-Native Platform players. 5G is slated to enable new business applications and a faster time to market to deploy services for Communication Service Providers (CSPs). Underpinning this would be cloud-native platforms that will make use of Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines, service meshes, Kubernetes-based container technology, and other cloud-native tools to host new applications including Containerized Network Functions (CNFs) and the new 5G Service-Based Architecture (SBA) Core. Platform providers in this market are diverse and include incumbent Network Equipment Vendors (NEVs) who have traditionally sold end-to-end network infrastructure solutions with their platforms included in the software stack, as well as cloud computing platform providers who have recently entered the telecom space through the introduction of LTE and 5G networks. While incumbent NEVs make up a majority of the market share in providing telco cloud platforms which host their network functions, cloud computing platform providers are gaining in popularity among CSPs as telecom networks become more digitized, cloud native, and open.
The companies are evaluated in the following order of ranking:
Market Leaders: VMware, Red Hat
Mainstream: Nokia, ZTE, Canonical, Huawei, Google, Ericsson, Wind River
Followers: AWS, Microsoft Azure
“CSPs are looking to enable cloud-native 5G capabilities through the deployment of a horizontal platform that can span their entire network from the core to RAN to edge. Some of the key criteria that CSPs are looking for include the ability to build a multi-vendor network and avoid vendor lock-in. As the 5G SBA value proposition revolves around providing services on-demand through microservices and cloud-native principles, flexibility, agility, and scalability become major factors CSPs look out for when choosing a platform,” says Kangrui Ling, Industry Analyst at ABI Research.
VMware and Red Hat are assessed as leaders in the market, with VMware coming out on top due to their strong multi-vendor Network Function (NF) partnership program supporting more than 220 NFs. Red Hat follows closely behind with their Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform and hybrid cloud and multi-cloud capabilities. Both providers are also top innovators, with VMware offering a variety of telco-specific features, including RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC), SD-WAN, and orchestrators, while Red Hat offers auto-scaling of clusters and zero-touch provisioning through solutions such as Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes, Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, and Operator Lifecycle Manager (OLM).
“Cloud native is critical for telco applications in 5G, and is crucial in bringing automation, scale, performance, efficient operations, faster time to market, an improved CI/CD pipeline, and the easy introduction of new software and features. Newer trends are also emerging which include multi-vendor capabilities and hybrid cloud/multi cloud support as networks become more open and disaggregated,” concludes Ling.
These findings are from ABI Research’s 5G Telco Cloud-Native Platforms competitive ranking report. This report is part of the company’s 5G Core & Edge Networks research service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights. Competitive Ranking reports offer comprehensive analysis of implementation strategies and innovation, coupled with market share analysis, to offer unparalleled insight into a company’s performance and standing in comparison to its competitors.
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