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Cloud for Network

If the mission of cloud is to bringing scalability and flexible usage of resources and telecom network is already globally scaled from one side and it has the most flexible usage of network resources being radio interface, what else Cloud can do for the network.

I wrote another short blog on network compute fabric and summarised how the concept of computing has enhanced and optimised the network solution and operation, while the networking concept have immersed in the computing down to the micro processors with parallel processing bringing hardware accelerators forward.

The architecture of telecom network has evolved since the earlier generation and while still the seven layer OSI model for communicating network components holds, every node in the network can be considered as an specialised computer, with a similar stack as normal computer, a stack of computing infrastructure, operating system, enablers and applications. In this case the applications would be the network functions.

With this computer like image of network node, and seeing the network elements in the light of computer stack, is a symbolic way to evaluate the benefit of cloud for this computing. Cloudified application with the objective of scalability and flexibility will be to make the virtualised network functions. Then the enablers for application virtualisation in computing side, should be enhanced by enablers for the Network function virtualisation.

The next layer of stack that needs attention is the operating system. even though the OpenStack and Kubernetes have done wonder bringing the cloud concepts to many different domains, the Network nodes ( considered a special computer ) have a different type of operating system and they are dependent on different type of hardware to handle the network resource.

As a consequence, a new set of enablers are needed at operating system level to fully bring the concept of cloud to the network domain.

Another reason for that is the fact that the network by nature doesn't end at the network node but it is extended to the user device. It is in fact the continuation of service from the network node to the user device that makes a major difference how a network node should be cloudified compared to a normal computer.

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