In Paris, a mother consults her child’s doctor via a computer screen. In Riyadh, a shop restocks its shelves while more supplies are on the way. In Chicago, a student pays rent online, and in Melbourne, a small business owner ships orders to the Middle East. All these moments, and many more daily conveniences, rely on data centers – warehouses filled with interconnected computer servers that power cloud computing and support critical services.
Data centres are the physical infrastructure behind cloud computing, enabling essential services like healthcare, grocery shopping, online education, and banking. They also reduce our overall carbon footprint by negating the need for data hardware on-site for companies that decide to move to the cloud. In the context of telecommunications, they provide a new way of managing messaging infrastructure and enhancing scalability of services. Let’s take a look at this transition issue for the industry.
Resilience through Cloudification
Resilience is an indispensable attribute for messaging systems within the telecommunications industry. However, this resilience is increasingly being put to the test due to the escalating effects of climate change, which are giving rise to a higher frequency of major ecological events. These events, such as large-scale forest fires and flooding, pose significant challenges to the robustness of the infrastructure that supports messaging services, particularly data centers. When these infrastructures are affected, it can lead to disruption in critical systems like SMS and voice calling, causing significant issues for telecom operators.
Traditionally, telecom companies might have relied on just one or two centralized system provision centers to handle their messaging services. However, given the growing threat of climate-related disruptions, this approach is no longer sufficient. Telcos now acknowledge the need to diversify their infrastructure and ensure they always have backup centers available to maintain their uninterrupted functioning.
A notable example that illustrates the importance of resilience in telecom systems is the case of Ukraine in recent years. The ongoing conflict and war in the region significantly impacted the country’s telecoms infrastructure during the first wave of attacks, disrupting vital communication services. In response to such crises, innovative solutions are required. In this case, Elon Musk’s offer of the Starlink satellite system to maintain critical communications showed the increasing need for alternative and resilient communication methods during times of conflict and disaster.
In fact, cybersecurity attacks on systems infrastructure and data centers will become more common in the future. This is because the battlegrounds are moving from the real world to the digital world and the battles raging there are about disruption of economic activity.
To ensure uninterrupted communication services, diversification is key. By diversifying their infrastructure, telcos can create a safety net that helps them maintain service continuity even in challenging circumstances.
Cloudification strategies have emerged as the key to enhancing resilience and maintainability in telecom infrastructure. The shift from traditional core networks through to Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) a number of years ago and now on to Containerized Network Functions (CNFs) in the cloud represents a monumental leap in network management and adaptability. By virtualizing network functions and migrating to cloud-based solutions, telecom companies can enjoy several advantages:
Cloud solutions allow telecom companies to scale their infrastructure up or down based on demand. This elasticity ensures that they can handle sudden surges in traffic without compromising service quality.
The adoption of private or public cloud deployments will hugely reduce hardware costs. The need for physical infrastructure decreases, resulting in lower capital expenditures and operational costs.
Cloud solutions offer high availability through redundant data centers and failover mechanisms. This redundancy ensures that even if one data center experiences downtime, services can seamlessly switch to another.
Cloud-based infrastructure is highly adaptable. Telecom companies can rapidly deploy new services and make changes to existing ones without the limitations of traditional hardware-based networks. Critically for telcos that are transitioning to a new way of operating, these systems can be deployed in a hybrid model of public/private/on-prem if necessary.
How to enhance network resilience
The journey to a more resilient telecom infrastructure involves several key steps.
Diversify Operational Network Centers
Instead of relying on a single centralized network center, telecom companies should diversify their operational centers. This geographic diversity reduces the risk of regional disruptions affecting the entire network. In some cases, it can be advantageous to have a data centre in a separate jurisdiction even, as might have been the case in a war outbreak scenario.
Invest in Cloud Deployments
Consider both private and public cloud deployments to reduce hardware dependency. Private cloud solutions offer control and security, while public clouds provide scalability and cost-efficiency. A hybrid approach may be the most suitable for some telecom companies.
Implement Network Slicing
With the advent of 5G, network slicing has become a powerful tool. It allows for the creation of isolated virtual networks within a single physical infrastructure. Telecom companies can offer customized services with varying levels of performance and security, catering to diverse customer needs.
Automation streamlines network management and reduces the risk of human error. Automated monitoring, provisioning, and maintenance processes enhance resilience and reduce downtime. Messaging vendors can provide managed services or business analyst teams to support your operations and automate a large number of tasks for you.
As networks become more digital, cybersecurity is paramount. Regular security audits, threat monitoring, and the use of AI to monitor cybersecurity measures are crucial components of a resilient network infrastructure.
So, it is clear telecom companies are at the forefront of ensuring seamless connectivity in an increasingly digital world. Diversifying infrastructure, adopting cloud solutions, and embracing technological advancements are essential steps in enhancing network resilience. By following these strategies, telecom companies can meet the growing demands of customers and maintain uninterrupted communication services even in the face of unforeseen challenges.
To learn more about the topics covered in this article, or talk to Openmind Networks about your cloudification strategy, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact our team of experts online here.