MWC: Arrcus Teams with Red Hat; Microsoft's New Nexus


By: R. Scott Raynovich

A few highlights at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona have reinforced some key themes that we have been tracking for years: a move toward more efficient, cloud-native technologies to reduce operating costs.

Two of the news items that have stuck out so far for me:

Short take: The cloud is finally winning in telecom. It’s only taken about two decades. But this, along with clear trends we’ve established in AIOps, show that the future of telecom is cloud.

Arrcus Taps into Edge and AI

On the cloud networking front, more modern, cloud-native technologies will be more important than ever as the network scales to adapt to high-bandwidth needs such as 5G and AI.

Arrcus announced it will optimize its FlexMCN platform to run on Red Hat OpenShift, delivering cloud-native network functions (CNFs) with orchestration, automation, and advanced traffic engineering features like SRv6 and Flex Algo for operational efficiencies.

This is important on two fronts. First, it shows that cloud networking startups such as Arrcus are having success becoming part of the new edge networking fabric. Use cases for this implementation include multicloud connectivity at the edge as well as simplified network address translation (NAT) management, according to a solution brief. One interesting example is that customers could implement container-based networking either in a private cloud or as a virtual machine hosted by the service provider. This demonstrates the flexibility of cloud-native networking technologies over traditional networking.

“Applications like AI inferencing are creating a greater need for latency sensitive edge networking, and demanding greater efficiency from distributed networks,” Arrcus CEO Shekar Ayyar told Futuriom via email. “Bringing together the power of Arrcus cloud networking with Red Hat’s OpenShift creates an ideal foundation for customers to leverage multicloud networking for edge use cases.”

The collaboration targets the telecommunications market to deliver 5G, edge, and multicloud networking solutions. This fits into a well-established theme at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, in which telecommunications providers are focused on operational efficiency, using cloud and AI technologies – and the advent of AIOps, which we have highlighted in detail in this analysis.

Microsoft Upgrades Azure Operator Nexus

In other news, Microsoft was showing off its Azure Operator Nexus service provider platform, which appears to be gaining traction. Microsoft has refashioned Nexus as a hybrid platform in response to concerns from some operators who want to run it as a private cloud, rather than a public cloud.

As part of the platform launch (relaunch?), Microsoft said the platform has new deployments in 5G standalone, addresses national security requirements for regions, supports DevSecOps for multivendor deployments, and provides new form factors to support diverse radio access network (RAN) deployments. It also touted automation and AIOps improvements. This includes Azure Operator Insights and Copilot, which drive automation. Partnerships include Amdocs, Accenture, and ServiceNow.

Public endorsements of Azure Operator Nexus came from e& UAE and AT&T. AT&T said it’s ready to put commercial traffic onto Microsoft’s Azure Operator Nexus carrier cloud platform.

AT&T’s Yigal Elbaz told Light Reading that the Microsoft platform was “remarkable.”

"Things that took us weeks and months take us days now," he said on the sidelines of the MWC Barcelona trade show.

Again, it shows how cloud has an edge (pun intended) in delivering better efficiency and AIOps.

I would expect that both these stories reinforce the idea that the traditional, vertically integrated service provider infrastructure is on its way to extinction. The cloud is taking over.

Futuriom Take: With increased pressure on their bottom line, major service providers look like they are accelerating their move to cloud platforms to improve efficiency, including AIOps and cloud networking capabilities.