Case Study

China Mobile’s Journey to a Cloud Native Telco

An overview of China Mobile's vision to become a Cloud Native Telco, introducing XGVela, the open source Telecomms PaaS.

In this Linux Foundation webinar China Mobile shares their experiences of embarking on the Cloud Native Telco journey, presented by Qihui Zhao.

China Mobile operates three distinct Cloud platforms:

  • eCloud – Their public Cloud for enterprise end users, and also carries some of their own operational services like Big Data.
  • IT Cloud – An internal private Cloud for their own IT functions.
  • Network Cloud – Their most important Cloud as it hosts their core 4/5G networking and business systems like MANO.

Interestingly it is the Network Cloud that is the least evolved at this time in terms of Cloud Native architecture and features.

Since 2018 CMCC has been building out their Network Cloud in eight districts in China, carrying 37 types of network functions including 5GC, IMS and EPC, and they are planning to build edge Clouds in each of their 31 provinces.

It uses NFV+SDN for the technical structure and OpenStack is used for infrastructure management. Containers are used but are wrapped within VMs and at this time not visible or manageable.

Why Cloud Native

From 4m:45s Qihui moves on to explain their motivations for evolving to a Cloud Native approach:

  • Enterprise requirements – Business customers have increasingly demanding service needs, like 5G slicing for IoT networks, smart metering and bandwidth-hungry video.
  • Industry evolution – The whole technology sector is embracing Cloud Native, spurring a rapid innovation that can be harnessed.
  • Performance optimization – As more and more network functions are moved into the Cloud there is a need to ensure the most efficient use of resources.

Action Points

At 7m:08s Qihui moves on to describe their action plan to realize these objectives:

  • Build agile infrastructure – Introduce containers as infrastructure and Kubernetes for orchestration; define a PaaS layer with common reusable components.
  • Use microservices architecture for network function design, the key element of the Cloud Native approach.
  • Introduce CI/CD and DevOps culture – Utilize automation to speed working procedures.
  • Promote Cloud thinking – Encourage a universal shared view of network and service design using these principles.

XGVela

At 13m:30s Qihui is joined by Seshu Kumar of Huawai to explain the XGVela project, an open source PaaS for Cloud Native telecomms intended to address the requirements described by Qihui.

With XGVela, a PaaS platform with telco features can be used to accelerate the design, development and innovation of telco related services. Create an open source cloud native PaaS for applications and telco network functions, which is to enable new services and help mobile operators to seize the business opportunity from vertical industries in the 5G era.

XGVela can provide a reference design of telco-PaaS and accelerate cloud native transformation for telecommunication industry.

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