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Nephio Aims To Simplify Cloud-Native Automation of Telecom Network Functions


Cloud-native technologies were predominantly built with enterprise solutions in mind, meaning that many of the telecom requirements were overlooked, something many network operators are still grappling with. Open source project, Nephio, aims to help the telecom industry by delivering Kubernetes-based cloud-native automation to simplify the deployment and management of network functions and the underlying cloud infrastructure.

In this episode of TFiR Let’s Talk, Swapnil Bhartiya sits down with Prabhjot Singh Sethi, VP of Engineering at Coredge, to discuss the new open source project and how it is going to help telco 5G core and alignment Coredge product with Nephio which solves edge problems.

Key highlights of this video interview are:

  • Nephio is a seed project by Google aiming to solve the 5G problem where people are wanting to leverage cloud-native technology but are coming up against challenges. Sethi discusses the purpose of the project and what it is trying to achieve.
  • Sethi tells us that cloud-native technologies were preliminary developed with enterprise solutions in mind, but many of the telco requirements such as network functions were overlooked. He goes into detail about how Google came to introduce their own Kubernetes resource management and how Nephio is trying to leverage those capabilities to create a simpler solution for telecom providers.
  • Nephio is primarily targeting 5G, with the initial use case of everyone who is rolling out private 5G. The intention for the solution is that even core telco 5G networks can leverage the same solution. Sethi goes into the key use cases and the possibility Nephio presents for expanding into edge computing.
  • Sethi discusses the 5G automation issues Nephio is trying to solve and how they are making it easier for operators. Sethi explains that Nephio comes with a Kubernetes mindset aiming to take away the complexity of configuration for the user. He goes into detail about advanced users being able to customize everything as per the requirements.
  • 5G architecture is already being brought into position, but how operators are visualizing the telco network and trying to solve it is still in the process. From a business consumption point of view, the vision is to expand connectivity to billions of devices to enable large-scale IoT like autonomous vehicles and many healthcare solutions. Sethi goes into detail about how he feels 5G will evolve and what to expect.
  • Nephio is already in use in Google’s business as they look to solve the main 5G problems for their customers. Sethi tells us that it is currently a seed project where a lot of work is being done by Google from a community perspective as people try to understand how these things can be repurposed. He goes into detail the stage the Nephio project is at and Google’s role.
  • Coredge is one of the members of the Nephio project. Sethi talks about Coredge’s perspective of the Nephio project, saying he feels Nephio is in alignment with their product, CloudCompass, and explains that they are currently trying to solve the edge problems and accelerate cloud-native technologies adoption. He explains how they are collaborating and contributing back to the community and the opportunities this presents for them.
  • Sethi explains how Nephio differs from similar projects. He goes into detail about a project called EMCO, a multi-cluster orchestrator seeded by Intel, and how the problems it is trying to solve are not native to Kubernetes. Sethi discusses why the trend is in favor of Nephio and the potential to collaborate with an umbrella project in Linux Foundation, ONAP.
  • Sethi goes into depth about the next step for intent-based active reconciliation, saying that people are still working on it with close loop automations and AI/ML aims at solving some things automatically. However, he feels it is still incomplete at the moment, but that Nephio adoption is likely to fast-track this.
  • The Nephio project aims to tackle multi-vendor and multi-cloud challenges with the help of API extension since it is extensible to include any new vendor at any point in time. Sethi discusses Coredge’s perspective on these challenges as well.

Connect with Prabhjot Singh Sethi (LinkedIn)
Learn more about Coredge (Twitter)

The summary of the show is written by Emily Nicholls.