Samsung taps Red Hat’s container expertise for 5G RAN, core

Samsung is tapping IBM’s Red Hat for its container expertise. Samsung wants to put its 5G network software on Red Hat’s OpenShift container orchestration platform.

Via the collaboration, Samsung will introduce containers in its 5G virtual RAN, virtual core and mobile edge compute (MEC) solutions. 

Increasingly, telcos are developing horizontal cloud-native platforms as the basis for all their network functions, including the RAN, core and edge.

There are a number of things that qualify something as “cloud-native,” but one of the primary things is that cloud-native infrastructure runs in containers as opposed to virtual machines (VMs).

Red Hat is an expert at moving infrastructure to cloud-native. Its roots are based in its Red Hat OpenStack software, which runs in scores of telco clouds, globally. Recently, Red Hat has been helping telcos to transition from the VMs of OpenStack to the containers of its OpenShift platform.

Ian Hood, chief technologist for the Global Service Provider Business at Red Hat, said “Red Hat OpenShift is the new horizontal telco cloud. He said this new containerized horizontal cloud is first being deployed in wireless core networks, but “next-up will be the RAN portion.”

Verizon, Samsung and Red Hat

Recently, Samsung won a $6.65 billion deal with Verizon, primarily covering 5G RAN gear.

RELATED: Samsung scores $6B network deal with Verizon

Hood said that Red Hat is not part of that particular Samsung RAN deal with Verizon. But Red Hat is working with Verizon. He said Verizon’s core currently uses Red Hat OpenStack, “but their next-gen will be Red Hat OpenShift.”

“Operators have deployed thousands of nodes of Red Hat OpenStack with applications from Ericsson, Nokia, etc. all over the world,” said Hood. “These apps need to be converted to microservices in containers. That’s the next-gen for pretty much every operator.”

He said service providers will keep VMs running until it makes sense to transition them. But they’re putting all new applications on container platforms.

In terms of Verizon’s work on its RAN, Hood said Red Hat is not involved in the specific RAN deal with Samsung, but it is working with Verizon on its entire architecture.

In any event, operators around the world are working toward a consistent telco cloud so they can use their same infrastructure for multiple use cases.

Rakuten Mobile, for example, touts its horizontal telco cloud — which it refers to as NFV infrastructure — as the basis for all its network functions. And while Rakuten’s 4G telco cloud is based on VMs, it’s moving to containers for its 5G cloud.

RELATED: Dish picks Nokia for containerized 5G SA core

And Dish recently announced that it is building a containerized 5G standalone (SA) core for its new U.S. 5G network.