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The Real Value of 5G
August 29, 2019 News 5G Shekar Ayyar VMWorld2019


by Aron Raj, DTA Journalist

Apart from all the talk on Kubernetes and acquisitions at VMworld, 5G was another trending topic among the delegates, in particular, those from the telco industries. Telcos are already looking to accelerate their 5G adoption. A couple of months before VMworld, DTA spoke to Shekar Ayyar, Executive Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development and General Manager of Telco NFV Group, VMware.

In that interview, Shekar said that the 5G era demands a new, software-driven ‘telco cloud’ architecture, one which allows CSPs to develop and deploy new services more rapidly and at a lower cost. By moving away from the inflexible, hardware-defined architectures of the past, and rolling out 5G as a fully-virtualised architecture right out of the gate, telcos will be able to beat competitors to market with new value-added services and improve the performance and operational efficiencies of their networks.

And at an exclusive session with journalists from Southeast Asia, he reiterated the same messages, but raised an interesting point which probably most of us never thought of.

“5G is a catalyst for communication service providers. Telco operators and even a broad set of cloud providers are looking to transform their infrastructure from what used to be a rigid silo architecture [where it was difficult to deploy new services], to a more agile infrastructure that is software-defined and will allow them to compete in the cloud marketplace more effectively than ever before.”

According to Shekar, 5G is not just a next-generation wireless technology. Instead, it’s the stuff that happens around 5G that makes it more interesting. There is an increasing need to have uniformity for the availability to interconnect and create applications and services that can consume resources from all of these different pools.

He explained that originally, businesses could only consume applications and services from a private cloud. Then, when the public cloud came about, they realised they could use that. Today, Shekar pointed out that the telco environment is jumping into the cloud game with their architecture of distributed points of presence, their base stations, central offices; they are virtualising this infrastructure so that more services can be consumed like a cloud.

“Telco is operating its network like a cloud. Imminently, we feel the Edge is where the action is going to move. Enterprises will want to consume more services effectively from the Edge. Public clouds will want to be part of this Edge economy, even though they just have an infrastructure that [consists of] hyper-scale data centres without a distributed point of presence. Telco operators will have access capacity and will find ways to monetise this with new sources connected to the Edge.”

Essentially, Shekar said 5G will see software-defined architectures connect with public, private, telco and Edge environments. This was not available with 4G, and no one thought of it before.

Mindboggling indeed!