Google’s Amol Phadka Says 2022 Pivotal Year for 5G Cloud Telecommunications | Top 10 Cloud Infrastructure Service Providers List

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Cloud-native 5G is on it’s way, but not just yet. However, top Google spokesperson Amol Phadka feels 2022 will be the year carriers will start moving more of their workload to it. He feels it’s just a matter of time before we see its full integration into the industry.

The telecom space embraced public clouds much later than enterprise IT and it will take a few years before the transition to cloud-native infrastructure is complete, according to Amol Phadke, global managing director of Google’s Telecom Industry Tools group.

“The disaggregation of hardware and software took a long time to get to networks. In the IT space that happened much earlier,” he said in a phone interview.

Although wireless carriers haven’t fully bought into public clouds collectively, Phadke contends market dynamics and ecosystem development are all that stands in the way of that. 5G serves as a catalyst for that outcome, he said.

5G standards that introduce virtualized control of the data plane posits a hardware agnostic approach to network architecture, and “disaggregation automatically opened up the network domain to alternate business and operating models,” Phadke said.

“If underlying hardware infrastructure can be general purpose, or cloud infrastructure, and the software sitting on top can be specialized, then that created the first sort of discontinuity that has then created the acceleration,” he added.

While the journey to virtualized, disaggregated, and open networks remains unfulfilled at large, Phadke claims 2022 is the year of the pivot wherein many carriers will actively adopt cloud-native network workloads and place them on public clouds.

Industry Specific Apps Fuel Google Cloud’s Confidence

A growing desire and necessity to leverage data in more meaningful ways also nudges operators down this path, he said. Managing infrastructure with data-driven methodologies and further development of an ecosystem of independent software vendors (ISVs) remain key indicators of progress on that front.

Phadke claims Google Cloud was the first hyperscaler to recognize the telco industry is multi-cloud by definition, pointing to its Anthos for Telecom platform, an effort Google initiated two years ago to bring its Kubernetes-based Anthos cloud platform to the network edge.

“It was actually a proactive step to recognize that workloads could fit on multiple clouds, as long as the management of those workloads is seamless, which is why we built Anthos,” he said.

“Communications service providers (CSPs) should have the flexibility to choose where they would like to place their workloads. And we have this common management application development platform, which is Anthos, that could still run seamlessly on any underlying cloud infrastructure,” Phadke added.

Beyond that, Google strives to position its capabilities based on differentiators it brings the industry, borrowing lessons from cloud development the company undertook many years prior to power its most popular services.

“This is why we came at it from the angle of an open source, multi-cloud, ecosystem-led strategy. Our infrastructure is our differentiator, as well as some of the things we have built around Kubernetes,” Phadke said.

5G Edge Bares Early Fruits

“We are trying to continuously advocate in the industry that although edge is a very unique, promising technology, some of the benefits of it have just come into fruition,” he said. As such an ongoing focus for Google revolves around a maturation of applications and integrations with ISVs for industry specific 5G edge applications, network workloads, packet cores, and radio access networks (RAN).

“We have not as an industry actually reaped all the benefits that an edge can provide if we use it correctly,” Phadke said.

Industry centric edge applications require collaboration between a cloud provider, such as Google Cloud, a network operator, one or multiple ISVs, and the enterprise putting that service into production, he explained.

Google, like its counterparts, maintains it has no plans to directly compete with industry heavyweights in the RAN or carrier business. Indeed, the hyperscaler has partnerships with NokiaEricsson, enterprise IT vendors, chipmakers, and multiple wireless carriers.

“We believe ourselves to be a vendor-agnostic cloud infrastructure provider. But there is a set of innovations we can do at the compute layer, at the storage layer, at the infrastructure layer that allows disaggregated radio networks to perform at the scale at which carriers need,” Phadke said.

“A lot of our innovation is really around enabling other vendors who have radio solutions to collaborate with us, rather than try to get into that space,” he said.

Likewise, “our approach is definitely not to compete with CSPs. We are not trying to make the CSPs operate like Google.”

Google Cloud views itself as an enabler in that regard. “Even at the infrastructure level, we will never go into deep in-country networks. Our infrastructures are built to essentially connect our cloud data centers together, not really get into what the consumers are going to be doing, or what the enterprises are going to look for from a CSP,” Phadke said.

On that front, Google recently revealed plans for Google Distributed Cloud, a platform spanning hardware and software designed to push Google Cloud to the edge and into data centers.  A pair of initial products arriving under the expanded portfolio include Google Distributed Cloud Edge and Google Distributed Cloud Hosted.

The former allows operators to run RAN functions and core network elements at the edge and the latter targets enterprises and public-sector organizations with strict data residency, security, or privacy requirements that typically preclude comprehensive use of public clouds.

Via this site. // lists these companies as their pick of the top 10 cloud service providers:

  1. Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  2. Microsoft Azure
  3. Google Cloud
  4. Alibaba Cloud
  5. IBM Cloud
  6. Oracle
  7. Salesforce
  8. SAP
  9. Rackspace Cloud
  10. VMWare

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