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Necessary observations from Microsoft at Cell World Congress 2023 | Azure Weblog and Updates

Cell World Congress (MWC) was again in full swing this yr, and so was Microsoft. To begin, a recap of our MWC 2023 bulletins contains 12 main product bulletins made at MWC 2023 by Microsoft, with greater than 20 demonstrations to spotlight our newest developments. These demonstrations coated an array of subjects corresponding to reside non-public and public multi-access edge compute (MEC) use circumstances, community API efforts with our operator companions, and using AI and analytics to enhance operator effectivity and resiliency, amongst others.

Microsoft at Cell World Congress 2023

As we frequently do, now we have collected observations from a whole lot of buyer conferences (up practically 35 p.c from final yr) and dozens of associate engagements at our demo sales space, and I wish to share a number of the necessary suggestions that we heard whereas at MWC 2023:

  1. Operators are deeply within the monetization alternatives created by programmable networks and trendy related purposes.
  2. Operators have a requirement to see a robust whole value possession (TCO) case when adopting cloud-native expertise.
  3. There may be ongoing, eager curiosity in classes discovered from actual deployments at scale versus proof-of-concept deployments.
  4. Operators wish to perceive the impression that developments in AI can have on their capability to run networks which might be extra resilient, sustainable, and environment friendly.
  5. Operators are searching for an ecosystem that features significant partnerships—each technical and industrial—with the intention to guarantee holistic success.
  6. Operators are accelerating their plans for digital RAN deployments.

On this weblog publish, we take a deeper take a look at every of those core items of suggestions, offering further insights, information, and hyperlinks to additional studying.

Creating worth with community APIs and cellular edge computing

On prime of the precious alternative created by the convergence of cloud computing and networking in a distributed cloth that spans 5G to area, Microsoft additional believes that operators are uniquely positioned to create worth as they modernize their networks to cloud-native expertise.

The community itself is a wealthy supply of intelligence and performance that may be uncovered—with the suitable privateness controls and safety—not simply to finish customers but in addition extra broadly to the developer neighborhood. This publicity will enable operators to search out new sources of innovation within the developer neighborhood, and new approaches to help the objective of delivering worth above and past pure connectivity. Community APIs will energy a brand new era of network-aware purposes that put the pliability and energy of 5G to work, fixing mission-critical enterprise wants. By way of our dialogue of this thrilling new improvement with our clients, just a few key objects emerged:

  • Constant implementation throughout operators is required, as builders are unlikely to construct apps that run on a single community.
  • Nonetheless, some localization might be required to make sure particular laws on knowledge residency, privateness, and controls are supported.
  • Tying into present developer communities is important to speed up the adoption of those capabilities.
  • Builders require agility; due to this fact, we should trial new providers upfront to create significant enter for the standardization course of.
  • There may be an outsized want to ascertain an acceptable enterprise mannequin that helps the funding that operators are making in these capabilities.
  • Recognition that enterprise fashions are more likely to evolve quickly because the expertise trials with builders grow to be extra concrete.
  • Not all community APIs are created equal, and the enterprise mannequin needs to be versatile sufficient to allow totally different monetization schemes.

To seek out out extra about Microsoft’s management within the improvement of community APIs, examine Azure Programmable Connectivity.

Microsoft continues to work carefully with our operator companions to deploy each non-public and public MEC options. A constant theme that we hear from our operator companions is the necessity for a sturdy ecosystem of software options that spotlight the worth of 5G and edge computing. A number of conversations with operators and ISV companions highlighted the progress that’s being made within the deployment of options throughout the manufacturing, vitality, and transport industries. Additional, we perceive the worth of and wish to maneuver past particular person proof of idea trials to deeper answer catalogs that cowl a number of enterprise processes enabled by a personal community deployment.

We invite software ISVs to collaborate with us by becoming a member of the non-public MEC and public MEC packages.

Updating community structure whereas decreasing the full value of possession

As operators have constructed extra refined service implementations on prime of conventional networking options, they’ve moved away from bodily home equipment to undertake disaggregated community features primarily based on standardized {hardware} deployments. Whereas this has yielded some CAPEX financial savings, the operational complexity of those do-it-yourself (DIY) virtualization efforts stays excessive. This complexity instantly drives up value and danger. Because of this, our clients have challenged us to indicate definitive advantages when adopting infrastructure primarily based on cloud supplier expertise as they appear to improve their community structure to help the elevated resiliency wants and new providers, and to endure the improve to a 5G stand alone (SA) core. As a part of these discussions, operators have requested us to handle:

  • Demonstrating particular financial savings from using automation to speed up deployment of capability and to enhance launch high quality.
  • Bettering standardization and consistency of community perform deployments on prime of a cloud platform.
  • Eliminating the necessity to take care of managing {hardware} procurement and deployment.
  • Transferring from a standard CAPEX mannequin to OPEX-based consumption.
  • Enabling the acceleration of and enhancements to the standard of latest service deployments throughout the community.

To study extra concerning the cost-effective deployment of 5G networks, learn the Analysys Mason TCO report for Microsoft Azure Operator Nexus, February 2023.

Classes discovered from supporting a manufacturing deployment

Whereas many operators acknowledge the potential of cloud expertise to speed up innovation and scale back prices, they’re eager to grasp the experiences of these early leaders who’ve already deployed related cloud-based options at scale. For that reason, Microsoft invited our flagship buyer, AT&T, to share their views on stage at MWC 2023. Igal Elbaz, Senior Vice President, Community Chief Expertise Officer, and Rob Soni, Vice President of RAN Expertise, AT&T Providers, joined Microsoft to supply direct perception into their expertise as AT&T continues to deploy Azure Operator Nexus to help AT&T’s mobility community.

Watch this video to listen to about AT&T’s journey in their very own phrases.

Whereas lots of the classes discovered from our deployment at AT&T have already been constructed into the Azure Operator Nexus platform, these classes are additionally mirrored in our blueprints for onboarding new community features to the platform—our greatest practices for deployment and operations, our working mannequin, in addition to our platform API design. To study extra concerning the Microsoft carrier-grade, hybrid platform, learn the weblog “Introducing Azure Operator Nexus.”

To study extra about how different clients are utilizing Azure expertise to check 5G expertise, please see “MTN deploys one of many first 5G Standalone Core in Microsoft Azure.”

Harnessing AI-powered operations with new providers

In mild of the rising complexity of disaggregated community architectures, bigger numbers of units connecting to networks, and a need for speedy innovation, our clients proceed to precise curiosity in harnessing the ability of cloud-based analytics and AI. To deal with this curiosity, Microsoft introduced the provision of two new providers—Azure Operator Insights and Azure Operator Service Supervisor—which had been developed to simplify community administration. A key a part of our platform worth proposition is that lots of the capabilities we’re constructing on with these new choices are the identical capabilities that energy the administration of Azure itself—in order that they have actually been tried and examined.

After we spoke to clients about Azure Operator Insights at MWC 2023, the next themes surfaced:

  • On-premises or cloud-based knowledge lakes have typically been tried in a single type or one other, with blended outcomes. Information silos nonetheless exist as do the challenges of getting a scientific understanding of community well being and clients’ high quality of experiences.
  • Prospects had been excited to see Azure Operator insights paving the way in which to take away the silos and allow knowledge democratization for all customers.
  • GPT was in fact on the entrance of everybody’s minds, and clients had been additionally very excited to see the alternative ways by which Azure Operator Insights managed knowledge would profit from GPT—each within the brief and longer phrases.

Many shoppers additionally requested us how one can automate community actions primarily based on the insights AI can ship. That is the place Azure Operator Service Supervisor performs a job. A number of key themes had been raised constantly throughout many discussions on automation:

  • Guide working procedures are nonetheless prevalent inside operators’ environments. These are usually error-prone, expensive, and sometimes delay the deployment of software program or configuration modifications.
  • The place clients have tried to automate these procedures, the plethora of automation options for every underlying platform or community perform vendor has resulted in fragmented tooling that fails to handle the overarching service as an entire.
  • Prospects had been to see how Azure Operator Service Supervisor allows a service-centric automation toolchain, addressing community providers composed of a number of community features and deployed throughout many websites and heterogeneous infrastructures. Prospects had been additionally notably eager to find out how now we have been capable of scale back real-life deployments from days to minutes.

We additionally heard operators discuss their modern experiences when adopting AI for fault administration, customer support, and automation. Nonetheless, it was the truth that Microsoft is making certain AIOps is an integral a part of all of Microsoft Azure for Operators choices and the consistency in administration that this ensures that basically obtained operators excited—in addition to GPT integration.

For extra data, go to Azure Operator Insights and Azure Operator Service Supervisor.

Establishing new partnerships and providing significant ecosystem help

Microsoft is pleased with our distinctive acquisition of industry-leading, cloud-native community features that present us with the telco DNA wanted to really perceive the distinctive necessities of carrier-grade options. We’re equally dedicated to supporting the companions that operators know and belief at this time, with full and equal entry to the Azure Operator Nexus platform capabilities. Our clients strengthened the expectation that we proceed to work carefully with the {industry} ecosystem in areas corresponding to community perform pre-certification, software program DevOps, and safety greatest practices to allow the profitable supply of the end-to-end service expertise.

Watch our companions describe Microsoft’s efforts to collectively service the {industry}—together with Monica Zethzon, Vice President and Head of Answer Space Core Networks, Ericsson, and Fran Heeran, Senior Vice President and Normal Supervisor of Core Networks, Nokia.

Register right here to affix the Azure Operator Nexus Prepared program.

Adopting cloud expertise to help digital RAN workloads

As cellular operators start planning for the following RAN improve after their present 5G new radio (NR) deployment, they want to higher perceive key questions corresponding to:

  • Will hybrid cloud platforms help numerous proposed acceleration applied sciences for each non-public and macro networks if the operators select to undertake them? This contains the TCO and efficiency expectations related to using disaggregated platforms to help RAN workloads, with a selected emphasis on vitality effectivity and spectral effectivity in dense areas.
  • Will cloud platforms present the administration of far-edge at scale, and allow absolutely cloud-native RAN workloads which might be applied on the proposed Open RAN interface specs, such because the O2 interface?
  • Can platform providers be used to achieve end-to-end visibility from purposes, packet cores, RAN, and infrastructure? And additional, can this be leveraged to achieve true visibility into the community and to supply absolutely optimized and automatized CI/CD and AIOps experiences?

To higher perceive Microsoft’s imaginative and prescient for the adoption of cloud expertise in help of RAN workloads, try the Microsoft programmable RAN platform whitepaper.

All in all, MWC 2023 supplied a implausible and wealthy alternative for Microsoft to attach with our clients and companions as we broaden using our Azure for Operators portfolio to modernize and monetize the community.

Uncover extra about Azure for Operators

Be taught extra concerning the Azure for Operators portfolio.



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