Originally posted on VMware Blogs by Daniel Soares, Amanda Shoemaker, Robert Forsberg and Rod Gilbert
Communication service providers (CSPs) need a combination of partners to support cloud transformation. A collaboration between Ericsson, VMware and Dell Technologies has created a certified platform to underpin the Ericsson Digital BSS portfolio. How can CSPs leverage this platform to facilitate cloud evolution? Discover here.
From bare metal to the cloud: there’s been a fundamental shift in how computing services are delivered. With more and more companies moving advanced workloads to the cloud, the question is no longer whether you should make the move, but rather how to ensure a smooth transition and quickly benefit from the cloud. When CSPs embark on their cloud journey, Ericsson maintains a strategy of allowing our business support system (BSS) customers to choose which cloud platform they want for their BSS systems. The latest example of this is our collaboration with VMware and Dell Technologies, in which VMware provided the application platform that drives scale across multi-cloud environments and Kubernetes operations, with Dell Technologies supporting the entire cloud ecosystem with its infrastructure solution. This partnership has provided a certified end-to-end solution that speeds up the adoption of cloud environments for CSPs.
Ericsson BSS embraces cloud native concepts
Flexible, multi-cloud deployment options are enabled across all Ericsson Digital BSS components, driven by a clear strategy for new products to adopt cloud-native concepts and to evolve the existing portfolio to embrace a microservice-based architecture. The BSS cloud platform combines flexibility and choice for customers, with VMware and their Tanzu portfolio providing a comprehensive, modern application platform. This platform is also driving scale across multi-cloud and Kubernetes operations. Dell Technologies brings the PowerEdge server and PowerFlex Software Defined Storage into the mix, enabling the right infrastructure to design scalable, resilient and highly performant clouds. The technical collaboration between Ericsson, VMware and Dell Technologies provided the right approach by covering all phases of the process: from design, testing, validation to ensuring the interoperability of various technology configurations and product combinations. This resulted in interoperability certification between the products.
As a part of the certification process, the Ericsson, VMware and Dell Technologies engineering teams created a joint reference architecture for Ericsson Charging: a common architecture that can be extended over time for other products in the Ericsson BSS portfolio. Together, these partners established a dedicated lab where the design was put through a rigorous testing process that covered multiple areas such as installation, sanity testing, robustness, performance, upgrade/fallback and stability.
Figure 1 – Joint reference architecture for Ericsson Charging created by Ericsson, VMware, and Dell Technologies
The detailed testing procedures has enabled Ericsson Charging to become the first-ever product to successfully complete the VMware Ready certification process for VMware Tanzu. For customers, the VMware Ready certification demonstrates that the reference architecture between VMware Tanzu and Ericsson Charging is highly reliable, robust and scalable, and moreover, can be deployed into their production environments in the shortest possible time.
The reference architecture provides numerous benefits for a CSP including:
- Operations optimization: The test results demonstrate how this reference architecture can help CSPs reduce their operational expenses in a cloud transformation by running Ericsson Charging with VMware Tanzu on Dell Technologies. This cost reduction is evident across multiple parameters with far-reaching effects on CSP operations: spanning from hardware optimization, shared resource utilization, time to market, ease of life cycle management, operation complexity, resiliency and performance.
- The mixing and matching of different workloads: The reference architecture allows the mixing and matching different workloads with different operating systems, allowing multiple Kubernetes clusters to be created on the same physical hardware. Beyond hardware utilization, the reference architecture also simplifies deployment and maintenance of the Kubernetes cluster by CSPs, using open source the Kubernetes cluster application programming interfaces (API)natively supported by VMware products. This essentially puts a new cluster in the hands of developers within a matter of minutes –significantly accelerating the overall time to market. This functionality is key to optimizing hardware utilization and achieve peak performance for the reference architecture.
- Fast and reliable infrastructure deployments: Dell Technologies’ factory pre-installation services will enable fast and reliable infrastructure deployments with pre-installed and pre-configured PowerEdge servers, PowerFlex Storage and PowerConnect switches. The centralization of these activities reduces deployment time and mitigates risk of failure by leveraging the automation and tests of the solution prior shipment. Together with remote service capabilities, Dell Technologies PowerEdge self-healing architecture and PowerFlex’s seamlessly scalable software defined storage, provide continuous operations and zero-trust security, helping eliminate planned and unplanned downtime for maintenance and upgrades.
- Life cycle management: CSPs can also automate and operationalize the full lifecycle management and upgrade processes through Customer Resource Definitions (CRDs) supported by Tanzu’s platform reconciliation process. The platform – together with Ericsson automation – features assets like continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines and test automation. It helps a CSP’s operations team save valuable time and effort by ensuring zero to minimal downtime and fully automated operations for product updates and upgrades.
- Increased performance: Extracting maximum performance from the infrastructure was the goal. Ericsson test results showed that running the containerized Ericsson Charging application with Kubernetes on VMware-Dell stack results in better hardware utilization when compared to previous benchmarks. With this significant improvement in hardware utilization, testing showed that CSPs can serve about 5 million subscribers per server – a 25 percent increase compared to previous benchmarks – while also increasing the transaction per second (TPS) per server.
A continuous journey
The reference architecture enables the accelerated deployment of Ericsson’s BSS offerings on VMware’s platforms, while Dell Technologies’ infrastructure provides predictable outcomes and telco-grade latency, performance, security and reliability, mitigating the risks to the customer’s experience in their cloud implementations. At the same time, Ericsson, VMware and Dell Technologies take their individual responsibilities from a commercial, delivery and support perspective.
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