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September 21, 2023
Swedish kit maker Ericsson is helping to bring some hyperscale benefits to telco cloud with a version of its Cloud RAN solution that works on Google Distributed Cloud (GDC).
GDC is Google’s hybrid edge cloud offering, extending its hardware and software to the edge of the network and into on-premises data centres. The whole thing is managed from the public cloud via a secure, dedicated connection to the on-premises infrastructure.
Ericsson and Google have successfully demonstrated a full implementation of the Ericsson virtual distributed unit (vDU) and virtualised central unit (vCU) on GDC Edge, and the solution is up and running in the Ericsson Open Lab in Ottawa, Canada.
Getting Ericsson Cloud RAN up and running on GDC is likely to appeal to operators that want to reap the benefits of Google’s cloud solutions but retain control and ownership of the physical infrastructure on which their virtualised networks are deployed, and the data they carry.
Those benefits include Google’s generative AI tool – called Vertex AI – and its BigQuery machine learning solution. Together they will help operators glean further insight into the massive quantity of data generated by Cloud RAN applications, helping them to control, inspect, configure and optimise their RAN infrastructure.
At the same time, operators can continue to use their own data centres, which is important to them when it comes to issues like privacy and data sovereignty.
Indeed, for all the hype about public telco cloud, the reality is that for now, the majority of telcos are focused on using private cloud for their virtualised networks. In August, research firm Dell’Oro lowered its five-year growth forecast for revenues generated by 5G standalone (SA) workloads hosted on public cloud.
Hybrid solutions therefore represent a useful route for hyperscalers that want to get their foot in the telco cloud door, and Ericsson is presumably only too happy to share in the spoils.
“We’re proud to enable Ericsson Cloud RAN to run on Google Distributed Cloud Edge infrastructure, which includes access to our AI/ML capabilities as well as cloud-native automations,” said Gabriele Di Piazza, senior director of telecom products for Google Cloud, in a statement. “We’re delighted to recognise Ericsson as a distinguished Google Cloud Partner and look forward to a continued strong partnership in support of our mutual customers.”
It’s also worth remembering that Cloud RAN is infrastructure agnostic, and can deployed on any x86-compatible hardware of an operator’s choosing.
“This partnership enables us to deepen and expand our valuable collaboration with Google Cloud, and it opens new opportunities for operators to utilise the benefits of cloud-native solutions and automation,” said Mårten Lerner, head of Ericsson’s Cloud RAN product line. “Ericsson remains committed to ensuring the adaptability of its Cloud RAN applications on diverse cloud infrastructures, offering operators enhanced flexibility and choice in deploying Cloud RAN as well as supporting the evolving hybrid cloud architectures together with Google Cloud.”
Nick is a freelancer who has covered the global telecoms industry for more than 15 years. Areas of expertise include operator strategies; M&As; and emerging technologies, among others. As a freelancer, Nick has contributed news and features for many well-known industry publications. Before that, he wrote daily news and regular features as deputy editor of Total Telecom. He has a first-class honours degree in journalism from the University of Westminster.
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