knowledge centre

Third-party, on-premises cloud stacks could be an alternative to operator-built 5G network clouds

Caroline Chappell Research Director

"Operators using their own 5G network clouds risk falling behind in the cloud technology race, but commodity on-premises cloud stacks from public cloud providers could offer a solution."

AT&T announced a ‘public cloud first’ strategy with Microsoft Azure and IBM in July 2019. However, AT&T continues to invest in an OpenStack-based private cloud to host 5G network functions. There are two major challenges with such operator private network clouds: they are proving difficult to operate and the technology stack that they use is rapidly being eclipsed by the next wave of ‘cloud-native’ technologies to which enterprises and major public cloud providers subscribe. This comment explores whether operators should reassess their plans for 5G network clouds. It argues that operators should consider whether emerging, on-premises versions of public cloud providers’ digital infrastructure can provide a viable alternative to building their own 5G network clouds.