VMware expands Smart Assurance to provide 'holistic' network view

The company said it will allow CSPs to have a holistic view of the network from core to the edge, to the radio access network.

VMware has used Mobile World Congress (MWC) Los Angeles to announce expanded capabilities for VMware Smart Assurance, which it said would allow communication service providers (CSPs) to have a holistic view of the network from core to the edge, to the radio access network (RAN).

"As CSPs prepare for the rollout of modern networks, the ability to have complete visibility across the network -- from RAN to the core and edge networks -- as well as provide continuous monitoring and automated management is increasingly imperative," VMware executive vice president and general manager of telco and edge cloud Shekar Ayyar said.

VMware Smart Assurance has been touted by the company as providing CSPs with the operational intelligence required to manage their physical and virtual networks as one.

The solution enables automated root cause analysis, impact correlation, analytics, and closed-loop actions, which VMware claims will help CSPs maximise quality of service and uptime across their multi-vendor environment.

According to Ayyar, network intelligence and management have been areas of focus for VMware, noting the company has "doubled down" on that commitment with the recent acquisition of Uhana.

In announcing the acquisition in July, VMware said the answer to increasing workloads caused by next-generation wireless technologies, low-latency applications, virtual reality, augmented reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT) would be the automation of CSP networks.

Autonomous networks, which result in the reductions of human labour and both the time and staff needed to oversee and manage resources, are made possible through "AI-driven, scalable network and application experience management system[s]," VMware said at the time of the Uhana acquisition. As a result, Uhana was labelled as being a great fit for the firm's future aspirations in this area.

"Our discussions around incorporating Cellwize's technology into VMware Smart Assurance have the potential to further extend these capabilities for our customers," Ayyar continued.

At MWC in Los Angeles, VMware displayed a solution preview, which highlighted Cellwize RAN automation and orchestration technology with VMware Smart Assurance.

The announcement follows VMware in August making its presence known in the telecommunications world, unveiling an expanded Telco and Edge Cloud portfolio that it said will drive real-time intelligence for telco networks, as well as improve automation and security for telco, edge, and IoT applications.

VMware is already serving as an infrastructure provider for most communications service providers, and according to Rajiv Ramaswami, VMware COO of Products and Cloud Services, the telco space is a huge opportunity for the company.

"There's a big trigger happening in telcos which is they're at the early stages of deploying 5G, which is a massive capex investment that comes about every generation, every seven-eight years ... like the previous generation of 4G with LTE," Ramaswami told media during VMworld in San Francisco at the time.

"Now, as they do this, they're also looking to modernise their infrastructure, and go with a much more virtualised platform that they can run their virtual network functions on, as opposed to going and building dedicated boxes, like they have done in the past, for every application that they need to run.

"So this is obviously a huge opportunity."

VMware also used MWC to touch on its partnership with Swedish equipment manufacturer Ericsson that was announced in February at MWC in Barcelona.

The companies had the goal of enabling CSPs to deploy and operate virtualised networks, with VMware at the time investing in a certification lab where Ericsson's VNFs running on VMware vCloud NFV were put through testing.

VMware said over 50 CSPs worldwide are running 567 VNF deployments on its platform, and over 70 CSPs using Ericsson's Business Support Systems (BSS) are also running on VMware.

Also at MWC LA, Nvidia unveiled its Nvidia EGX Edge Supercomputing Platform, which the company touted would act as a high-performance, cloud-native platform to make use of the increasing amount of data that is being gathered by organisations.

It also made a handful of announcements centred on its move into 5G, partnering with Ericsson, Red Hat, and Microsoft, with a spotlight on the telecommunications industry.

Similarly to VMware, Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang announced during his keynote that Nvidia and Ericsson had been "secretly" working together on technologies to allow telco operators to build high-performing, efficient, and completely virtualised 5G RAN.

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