Ericsson and Red Hat strengthen their technical collaboration

A different course of action is required when switching to multiple vendors

As service providers deploy 5G, they strive to become more agile and innovative as businesses, enabling them to accelerate time to value. In undertaking this transformation, they must strike the right balance between cost, risk and time to market.

Ericsson and Red Hat recognize that a multi-vendor approach requires a different course of action than choosing a single-vendor approach with a vertically integrated solution and lifecycle management. Building multi-vendor networks requires proven interoperability in order to reap the ultimate benefits of flexibility and choice. Beyond the joint work of Ericsson and Red Hat, we are immersed in a larger collaboration ecosystem to simplify the integration of different technologies and suppliers.

Ericsson and Red Hat want to free up service providers to focus on differentiating their 5G services and delivering value to their customers. We have been working for many months to define the optimal operating model for a multi-vendor scenario, to guide customers on how to deploy and refine the combinations of Ericsson and Red Hat technologies, saving them time and resources.

Ericsson network runs on Red Hat platforms

The collaboration between Ericsson and Red Hat gives service providers the confidence to accelerate their network transformation and reduce risk when pursuing a multi-vendor strategy. Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud platforms are tested to run Ericsson network functions – which together constitute a predefined reference configuration – which helps reduce the complexity of deploying distributed networks. We have invested significant joint engineering effort to prepare our combined technologies for commercial deployment in a demanding service provider network environment.

Ericsson and Red Hat now have validated solutions ready to deploy, giving service providers an open platform that spans a network for vEPC, 5G Core, IMS, OSS and BSS. Our teams integrated Ericsson network function solutions with Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat OpenStack Platform. We have executed Proof of Concepts (POC) with service providers around the world and have our first 5G baseline commercial deployments.

Ericsson and Red Hat are engaged in multiple technical collaboration projects at different stages and maturities. Including a collaboration for Cloud RAN where Red Hat participates in the Ericsson Open Lab for interactive innovation with Ericsson Cloud RAN customers and ecosystem partners worldwide.

The common thread running through all of these technical collaboration projects is that they all rely on a common and elaborate methodology.

Established process for technical collaborations

Our technical collaboration projects begin by meeting Ericsson’s network function requirements for Red Hat infrastructure, with a predefined network plan and compute requirements. This is done to ensure platform capabilities for integrating and hosting network functions, as well as to set an initial common target baseline configuration.

The validation process that follows is rigorous and thorough. The target reference configuration is deployed in a common engineering lab environment and subjected to a comprehensive set of test cases (e.g. integration, security, robustness, resiliency, automation, etc.). During testing, engineers make adjustments to the target baseline, if necessary, to reach the final validated baseline. Service providers using the reference configuration gain ease and efficiency in deploying, integrating and hosting network functions and the ability to scale them with confidence.

The software foundation, deployment guides, and blueprints for validated reference configuration of network functions and platform are fully documented with test case results. These allow service providers, in their role as primary integrator, to speed installation, mitigate risk, and limit the need for extensive system integration work.

5G Core and Cloud RAN

Cloud-native plans for Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core and Ericsson’s Cloud RAN running on Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform have garnered considerable market interest. The collaborative project for Cloud RAN hosted on OpenShift is in the execution phase, centered on our joint engineering teams preparing OpenShift to handle the cloud-native requirements of Ericsson’s Cloud RAN. For Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G core hosted on OpenShift, there are early commercial operations carrying live traffic, with larger-scale commercial availability targeted for Q4 2022. Although the scope and specific challenges discussed for 5G Core and for Cloud RAN are different, the collaboration is based on the same engineering methodology and partnership.

Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G core, Cloud RAN and all other Cloud Native Networking (CNF) functions are designed based on cloud-native principles and fully compliant with the requirements of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), as does Red Hat OpenShift.

Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core is built with a microservices-based cloud-native architecture and combines Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and 5G Core (5GC) networking functions into a common multi-access, cloud-native platform that supports supports 5G and also as well as previous generations of Mobile Packet Core. It is an evolution of Ericsson’s powerful virtualized portfolio, designed for cloud deployment, consisting of its Cloud Packet Core, Cloud Unified Data Management (UDM), and Policy and Signaling Controller products.

Ericsson Cloud RAN is a cloud-native software solution providing disaggregated RAN functionality. Cloud RAN is a viable option for service providers to have increased flexibility, faster service delivery, and greater scalability in networks.

Ready and ready

In summary:

  • The foundation of the Ericsson and Red Hat collaboration rests on a set of technical collaboration projects.
  • Customer value is created by ensuring that selected combinations of Ericsson and Red Hat technology are thoroughly pre-tested, optimized and documented before deployment into service provider networks.
  • For service providers who closely follow a pre-tested baseline configuration, this will help limit the need for local systems integration activities, reduce project risk, and save time to market.
  • Ericsson and Red Hat bear individual responsibility for their own portion of the offering.

Combining our unique strengths, we continue to work together to be trusted partners for service providers on their journey to building flexible and open multi-vendor networks. No two companies have the same path, and we’re here to deliver scalable network architecture and deliver choice and agility to service providers, empowering their businesses regardless of their strategy.

For more information, visit Ericsson and Red Hat Collaborate to Deliver Multi-Vendor Solutions to CSPs and Red Hat and Ericsson telecommunications solutions.

Margie D. Carlisle