HomeContentNewsGoogle And Linux Foundation Release Nephio To Automate 5G

Google And Linux Foundation Release Nephio To Automate 5G

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The Linux Foundation extended its push to bring open source projects into the telecom market by partnering with Google Cloud to develop the Kubernetes-based Nephio project. The Nephio project aims to make it easier for telecom operators to deploy and manage multi-vendor cloud infrastructure and network operations across large-scale edge deployments by providing Kubernetes-based cloud-native intent automation and automation templates.

It sits on top of a Kubernetes substrate, either directly handled by an operator or via a hyperscaler-based platform such as Google Config Connector, Amazon Web Services (AWS) Kubernetes Controllers, and Azure Service Operator.

Kubernetes’ cloud-native orchestration capability is used to enable operators to roll out and manage new services in their 5G and edge deployments. This would allow for a speedier onboarding of network functions into a production environment, similar to how hyperscalers employ the DevOps process.

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“We believe that true cloud nativeness lies in the fact that Kubernetes can actually automate all the way down from describing a network function or a service to the infrastructure including all the underlying networking components,” Gabriele Di Piazza, senior director of product management for telecom at Google Cloud, states during a keynote address at today’s Open Networking & Edge Executive Forum.

The project is also open about the fact that it does not provide end-to-end service orchestration, cloud infrastructure, or network operations.

The project’s largest hurdle appears to be providing a “carrier-grade” option for telecom operators as they build up their 5G networks. This has long been an issue since telecom operators compete in a highly regulated market with government and public safety regulations that often exceed those of traditional cloud-based operators.

More than a dozen companies have backed the Nephio project, including Airtel, Bell Canada, Orange, and Rakuten Mobile, as well as vendors like Arm, Casa-systems, Vapor IO, Ericsson, F5, Intel, VMware, Juniper, and Nokia. For years, the Linux Foundation has been focusing on the operator and 5G arena.

At the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America event in late 2019, the LF Networking (LFN) group, for example, performed a live presentation of a Kubernetes-powered end-to-end 5G cloud native network.

Other 5G and telecom-focused projects like the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP), Magma Core Foundation, XGVela, LF Edge Akraino, and O-RAN Software Community are all part of the open source organisation. That last initiative was started roughly three years ago by the Linux Foundation and the O-RAN Alliance to develop open source software for 5G radio access networks (RAN).

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