IBM To Build Telefónica’s First-Ever Cloud-Native 5G Core Network Platform

by The Chicago Times Business Staff

September 25, 2021

ARMONK, NY — IBM announced Sep 23 a multi-year strategic agreement with Telefónica to use IBM intelligent automation software and services to implement UNICA Next, Telefónica’s first cloud-native 5G core network platform.

As Telefónica and other Communications Service Providers (CSPs) around the world prepare for the benefits that 5G will bring to core network functions; Telefónica intends to have an open, secure, intelligent, and highly automated network capable of powering transformation for consumer and enterprise customers across all industries.

To deploy the cloud-native platform, Telefónica has worked with IBM Global Business Services, a leading systems integrator and IBM’s digital transformation services and consultancy arm, Red Hat, and Juniper networking.  The platform will be a new open-standard open-networking technology compliant platform that will be deployed across multiple central, regional, and distributed data centers, offering low latency and high bandwidth while delivering services in an agile fashion.  UNICA Next data centers are scheduled to be deployed beginning in October 2021, with scalable architecture designed to meet ETSI and other relevant industry standards.

The new network is based on IBM Cloud Pak for Network Automation, Red Hat OpenShift, and Juniper Networks Apstra and QFX technology, all of which work together to provide streamlined end-to-end orchestration and operations.

The platform will enable continuous improvements in deployment and management, as well as the creation of new services that provide increased customer value.  The combination of IBM Cloud Pak for Network Automation software and UNICA Next enables intent-driven orchestration, which supports the end-to-end lifecycle management of various network cloud elements and network functions, including 5G core.  When combined with the power of Red Hat Open Shift and Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes, Telefónica will have an environment designed for increased observability and control for managing the UNICA Next Kubernetes environment and driving 5G and edge innovation more quickly and with less complexity.

These new capabilities will be designed to enable Telefónica to deploy network services and new network functions more quickly by leveraging the IBM Cloud for Telecommunications partner ecosystem.

Telefónica, a pioneer in the adoption of open networks, has already deployed a live implementation in Europe using the IBM Cloud for Telecommunications and is continuing to innovate for their customers with increased speed and value.

The IBM Global Telco Solutions Lab in Coppell, Texas, in collaboration with Telefónica’s Network Cloud Lab in Madrid, will help accelerate the evolution of UNICA Next by creating new fully integrated releases using CI/CD methodology for ongoing life-cycle upgrades to the existing UNICA Next platform.

Telefónica will be able to increase agility and data security while also continuing to innovate and transform by leveraging IBM’s large network function ecosystem, Red Hat’s vast ecosystem of certified partners, and Juniper’s relationships with network function and hardware vendors by collaborating with IBM.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT KILLS JEDI CLOUD CONTRACT WITH MICROSOFT

by The Chicago Times Staff

July 6, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon announced on Tuesday that it had canceled a contentious cloud-computing contract with Microsoft that had the potential to be worth $10 billion.  Instead, it will seek a deal with both Microsoft and Amazon, as well as possibly other cloud service providers.

The Pentagon faced lengthy legal challenges from Amazon over the original $1 million contract awarded to Microsoft.  Amazon claimed that the Microsoft award was tainted by politics, citing then-President Donald Trump’s animosity toward Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who resigned as the company’s CEO on Monday.  Bezos owns The Washington Post.

JEDI will be replaced by a new program called Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability, according to Sherman, and Amazon and Microsoft will “likely” be awarded parts of the contract, though neither is guaranteed.  According to Sherman, the three other major cloud service providers might include Google, IBM, and Oracle.

“We understand the DoD s rationale, and we support them and every military member who needs the mission-critical 21st century technology JEDI would have provided,” Microsoft said in response to the Pentagon announcement.

Amazon said it understands the Pentagon’s decision and agrees with it.  The company stated in a statement that the 2019 contract award was not based on the merits of competing proposals, but rather on “outside influence that has no place in government procurement.”

The JEDI project began with Microsoft receiving a $1 million contract as the first step in a 10-year deal with a potential value of $10 billion.  The project that will replace it is a five-year program, with Sherman estimating that the contract value will be “in the billions.”

Sherman stated that the government will negotiate the amount Microsoft will be compensated for the cancellation of its 2019 contract.

Amazon Web Services, a market leader in cloud computing, had long been viewed as a strong contender to lead the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure project, or JEDI.

The project’s goal was to store and process massive amounts of classified data, allowing the US military to improve battlefield communications and use artificial intelligence to improve war planning and fighting capabilities.