Service Providers’ long planned strategic investments in deploying 5G new RAN platforms are becoming a reality. Whether Service Providers are building upon existing 4G/LTE networks to gradually enable 5G benefits or laying the foundation for greenfield open standalone 5G vRAN architectures, the 5G tide is steadily rising. Now, as 5G handsets become widely available, consumer expectations are rising for the promising benefits of 5G applications and services. Unlike the arrival of 4G that benefited consumers with faster speeds, the 5G architecture enables a portfolio of new and innovative use cases that service providers can leverage to generate new revenue streams and fuel their 5G investment. This portends a significant shift in network dynamics that will have far-reaching repercussions and opportunities for service providers, retail organizations, entertainment platforms, and every other consumer-facing and B2B application.

To prepare for 5G profitability, service providers and application developers will need to rethink how their data sources and applications are distributed. Low latency applications will require intelligence distributed to the edge where the end use cases reside. Other applications may benefit by avoiding the constant backhaul or distribution of traffic from centralized data centers. Your goal is to reevaluate where data, applications, and processing power live and breathe on the 5G network.

Edge computing—also known as multi-access edge computing (MEC) – based on distributed data centers (DDCs), not only improve the way applications interact with consumers and businesses via 5G or any high-speed transport, but enable new applications that were previously not possible. DDCs become the nexus of network access with Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs) for orchestration and security, and virtualized or containerized workloads that provide services to end points. Leveraging a distributed data center architecture, service providers as well as enterprises deploying their own SaaS platforms, can increase the services revenue while reducing the cost per service.

The challenge is how you manage, secure, and scale the DDS infrastructure. Manual, piece-meal administration of policies for security, segmentation, and onboarding isn’t a workable strategy. The key is to automate as many network management functions as possible to reap the full benefits of 5G and distributed data centers and then manage and assure the deployed services.

Maximize Value of 5G and Distributed Data Centers with Automation and Insights

To capitalize on the benefits of 5G and edge applications, a distributed data center fabric needs a high degree of automation to keep costs flat even as new services are spun up. For example, IT needs assurance that operational and security policies are performing as intended wherever data and applications are running—especially as new services are added at the edges. Proactive monitoring, alerts for anomalies, and troubleshooting assistance assures that the network and applications are performing at expected service levels.

The challenges of managing a centralized data center are complex enough, but proactively managing the infrastructure, applications, and data sources distributed over many locations—some of which are not under direct physical control—can be daunting. The most comprehensive way to automate distributed data centers is using Cisco ACI and the Cisco Data Center Network Assurance and Insights Suite. Imagine having the ability to:

  • Make configuration changes to any data center fabrics (DDC or central) from a centralized location while assuring the outcome.
  • Avoid problems before they occur with detailed security and feature analysis of the running network.
  • Efficiently allocate network resources for services with detailed capacity planning tools.
  • Cut mean time to repair with sophisticated telemetry-based root cause analysis and remediation tooling that detects anomalies and issues in the data center network.

Automation features such as these enable distributed data centers to form the foundation of 5G networks and workloads. Case in point, KT Corp, Korea’s largest telecommunications service provider, transitioned their network architecture to better manage the growth of 5G traffic using advanced routing and automation software, intelligent analytics, and machine learning. KT implemented a new 5G mobile network platform with automated and virtualized technologies on Mobile Edge Cloud, featuring Mobile Packet Core, network slicing, segment routing, and control and user plane separation (Remote-CUPS). The end-to-end network includes a 5G routing backbone with Cisco Network Convergence System Router 6000 and ACI on Nexus 9000 switching platform at KT’s distributed data centers.

The KT network architecture efficiently manages the increase in 5G traffic by fully automating advanced routing, intelligent analytics and machine learning among its infrastructure, data centers, platform and applications. The virtualized mobile packet platform enables KT to remotely manage traffic at scale to meet the requirements of new innovative B2B and B2C 5G services.

Master 5G Distributed Workloads and Edge Services for Profit

Generating new revenue streams is the key to recouping the enormous investment in 5G infrastructure while keeping network operations and management costs flat. Cisco Distributed Data Centers can manage the applications at the service edge that require the capacity and low latency of 5G while providing insights and assurance that come with Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure.

For more information: Cisco ACI for Data Center

Additional information on KT Corp’s implementation of DDC for 5G


Thomas Scheibe

Vice President, Product Management

Cloud Networking