OpenStack: The communities that telecommunications service providers care about

OpenStack got its start at NASA, but open source communities have given it life. OpenStack’s architecture is made up of numerous open source projects steered by IT professionals around the world. Red Hat takes part in many of those projects and continues to be a top corporate contributor to the OpenStack community. So, which projects within the OpenStack community matter most to telecommunications service providers?

This Q&A with Thomas Nadeau, Red Hat’s technical director for NFV, explores the OpenStack community and telco-centric projects, the work the community is doing now, and how to get involved.

What does Red Hat’s “upstream first” philosophy mean for Red Hat’s customers?

This philosophy means that the code used to create our enterprise-class, fully supported downstream products – either direct distribution of upstream projects or aggregates of multiple projects combined into a single, supported product – is shared and developed with the work done by the full OpenStack community.

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Open source, NFV, and containerization hold promise for next-gen TV, video, and media

As traditional cable, satellite, and terrestrial TV are challenged by over-the-top (OTT), internet protocol television (IPTV), and video-on-demand services — made even more challenging by higher-bandwidth, last-mile fiber, and 5G mobile network extensions — service providers are transforming their technology infrastructures to decrease lag time for viewers. Werner Gold, Red Hat’s emerging solutions evangelist for the telecommunications industry, discussed the issue with TelecomTV at 2018’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

Increased OTT and IPTV traffic creates more congestion on aggregation networks, Gold explained. “We need to have more powerful, flexible content delivery networks that are also being virtualized, and new caches can be built at the network edge to host the content there to offload this kind of traffic from the aggregation networks,” he said. “But also the OTT traffic is competing with live linear TV… where we need to bring the content very fast to the customers as well.”

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The path to 5G is full of possibility. To stay competitive, drive faster!

As service providers (SPs) continue preparations for 5G, building a common platform with an agile process for delivering new services to support customer needs remains a key goal. That’s according to Ian Hood, Red Hat’s chief technologist for global service providers, as he explained in an interview with TelecomTV at last year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

In the interview, Ian points to multi-access edge computing (MEC) as one solution worth considering. This moves task processing to the region of the operator network that is closest to the user, thus improving application delivery and performance as well as reducing network congestion. Ian cites five key use cases for mobile services that network edge computing can deliver, demonstrating its value: virtual radio access network (vRAN), business services, the internet of things (IoT) everywhere, virtualized video, and enhanced consumer services.

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How to implement edge infrastructure in a maintainable and scalable way

Organizations are implementing edge infrastructure to provide important applications closer to their use, while still wanting to have a single interface to perform administration from a single location. You can do this using Red Hat Virtualization.

Planning

The first step in implementing an edge site is determining the specifications of the site. In this post we’ll walk through the things you should consider when planning an edge site, and how to plan to manage and scale the site as your needs evolve.

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Overview of edge computing and MEC

What is “the Edge”?

Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) or Multi-Access Edge Computing, is defined in many ways. In fact, the definition of MEC varies widely by the context you consider it, and sometimes by audience. In this post we will explain the nomenclature and concepts that define telecommunications service providers’ network edge and its use in the delivery of mobile, business and residential services. First let’s take a look at the broader term edge. What is it?

The edge, in the traditional usage, has referred to the point where a “customer connects to the provider.” The provider being the organization providing a service. Largely, this was one of three situations:

  1. An enterprise customer connecting to a service provider’s (SP) edge for network services.
  2. A retail customer connecting to mobility services.
  3. A home user connecting to broadband services.

As we know, today we live in a world focused on cloud service providers (CSP). CSP’s are not primarily concerned with network services, but rather providing a place to easily run various workloads at scale. This includes compute, storage, network, AI/ML, IoT, databases, etc. So what is the “edge” in this context?

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Hybrid cloud, and the need for software-defined infrastructure

As customer demands and competitive pressures have grown, telecommunications service providers (SPs) around the world are continuing their march towards digital transformation. This includes taking advantage of private, public, and hybrid clouds, along with technologies that allow SP customers’ business-critical applications to be portable across all the different clouds they manage. In a recent interview with TelecomTV, Ranga Rangachari, Red Hat’s VP & GM of storage and hyperconverged infrastructure, discussed the need for portability and scale-out storage in this hybrid cloud environment, and how Red Hat is helping SPs tackle these challenges with software-defined infrastructure (SDI).

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BCCL upgrades core banking platform with Red Hat and Temenos

“This standardization means better interoperability between our systems and helps us avoid the incompatibility issues we tend to see with proprietary software.” — Pablo Recepter, CIO at BCCL

As industry and regulatory environments in Argentina have evolved, Banco Credicoop Cooperativo Limitado (BCCL) needed to upgrade its core banking platform as part of its digital transformation initiative. To take advantage of this new platform, BCCL, a large cooperative bank that handles 2.65 million customer accounts and up to 4 million transactions a day in 267 branches and 24 service centers across the country, also needed to upgrade its software to create a robust IT foundation for its core banking systems and Temenos software.

Keeping pace with change

According to Pablo Recepter, CIO at BCCL, the project’s goal was to implement the necessary technology to ensure the bank’s transactions could function reliably and efficiently in an increasingly complex industry, as well as meet changing regulatory requirements. Cost containment was another major consideration.   

After evaluating several solutions, BCCL selected open source solutions from Red Hat, a Temenos certified partner. Already, the open source Red Hat platform has met key imperatives of BCCL’s operations so it can offer the kinds of innovative banking services it wants to deliver to its customers, effectively and safely operate in a complex regulatory environment and scale to meet its higher processing requirements.

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AI in banking: Where artificial intelligence and machine learning may take us

With an aim to separate hype from reality in Day 4 at Sibos, I was on a mission to understand what the existing and near-term applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) were in banking.  With machine learning described as “table stakes” now, Richard Harris (Feedzai) during The Ethical Side of AI panel, suggested that the closest we have to understanding the impact AI will have is by looking at the internet – knowing the internet would change everything but twenty years ago, we didn’t know how – describes the state of AI today.

Risk mitigation appears to be an active area for current AI application. For example, with a worldwide impact of money laundering estimates between 2% to 5% of global GDP (upwards of $2 trillion USD), Heike Riel, IBM (Sensemaker: The interconnectedness of everything and advanced AI) cited a case where they found a reduction in false positives of 95% to 50%, along with a reduction of 27% in manual effort by using AI/ML to help discover the undefined unknowns in the data. Using AI to help triage fraud for human interpretation and action is considered ‘narrow’ AI – the application of AI to one particular task.  

Broadening the scope of AI beyond a single task may be on the horizon. In the future I can see a time when an AI would become a new hire to the bank, employed to derive new, company-wide insights to improve processes, identify efficiencies or ways to improve customer experience.

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Financial firms continue to explore distributed ledger opportunities

An increasing number of industries seem to be dipping their toes into the blockchain arena. According to a recent report from PwC, 84 percent of respondents said their company is involved with blockchain in some capacity, whether that be testing new capabilities in a lab setting, building proofs of concept or running full-scale deployments. The World Bank and the United Nations have introduced blockchain initiatives, as has Red Hat customer, the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), following the lead of companies in communications and media, retail, energy and utility, healthcare, and other industries.

Blockchain seems to be everywhere. However, according to the PwC survey, there’s still one industry that’s seen as leading the pack: financial services. That financial services leads the pack makes sense, given the fact that blockchain started out as a way to record currency transactions for Bitcoin, a type of digital currency that operates independently of a central bank. And while the initial leading industry for blockchain application was financial services, it’s clear that the technology has moved well beyond this, and financial services organizations are exploring the use of blockchain in different ways.

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Telecom at OpenStack Summit: Here’s what not to miss at the show

Join Red Hat’s telecommunications team at OpenStack Summit Berlin, November 13-15, to learn about virtual central office (VCO), open platform for network functions virtualization (OPNFV), smart OpenStack cloud, Kubernetes, Red Hat Ceph Storage, and more. With more than 200 sessions and a number of extra events there’s a lot happening this year! To give your summit schedule some focus, keep reading for a highlight of key sessions, lightning talks, and events we recommend.

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