Samsung, VMware team on cloud-native 5G functions

VMware will help Samsung create containerized network functions (CNFs) and virtual network functions (VNFs) so that the South Korean company can offer the most modern 5G telecom services.

The parties aim for better network design end-to-end from the core, to the RAN, to the edge. They have been working together at Samsung’s lab to optimize Samsung’s various VNFs and CNFs, such as vRAN, 5G core, mobile edge compute, management and analytics. These functions will be integrated with the VMware Telco Cloud platform. 

The VMware Telco Cloud platform allows service providers to deploy a cloud-native, software-defined 5G network with operational consistency.

There are a number of factors that make a telco cloud qualify as “cloud-native,” but the primary factor is that it uses containers as opposed to virtual machines (VMs). Increasingly, telcos are developing horizontal cloud-native platforms as the basis for all their network functions.

VMware is famous for its VM software, but the company has been pivoting toward containers as this technology has swiftly gained favor.

“The infrastructure supporting 5G will depend on virtualized and containerized network functions delivered from software-defined telco and edge cloud platforms,” said Shekar Ayyar, general manager of VMware’s Telco and Edge Cloud Business, in a statement today.

VMware is majority-owned by Dell Technologies, which has been setting its sights on getting a piece of the 5G pie and helping service providers move toward cloud-native architectures.

Dell Technologies CTO John Roese told Fierce earlier this year: “The current 5G ecosystem is structurally challenged. A few traditional telecom providers dominate. Most Tier 1 operators are using the components from the traditional telecom ecosystem. They are also trying to virtualize their core and RAN, taking technologies from the IT and cloud world. Dell has been on a journey to help modernize these architectures.”

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For its part, Samsung is also focusing on containers. In a similar announcement to today’s partnership with VMware, Samsung recently said it 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 and introduce containers in its 5G virtual RAN, virtual core and mobile edge compute solutions.