Bejoy Pankajakshan, Executive Vice-President and Chief Technology and Strategy Officer, Mavenir

Service providers are becoming inc­reasingly aware of the need to migrate their networks to a cloud-native environment. However, they have raised concerns about the challenges in the network transformation process. Their apprehensi­ons are well founded since embracing a cl­oud-native architecture entails significant changes and reorganisation, not only in te­ch­nological aspects but also in the traditio­nal operations of tele­communication companies. The vast scale of the telecommunication network, combined with complex co­­­­n­figurations, further complicates the pr­o­­­cess. Neverthe­less, telcos can improve th­e­ir chances of achieving favourable ou­t­co­m­es in their transition to a cloud-native environment by being mindful of a few key factors:

Mitigating workforce challenges

The proficiencies required to manage a modern cloud-native network are significantly different from the current skill sets. In conventional service providers, the network and IT teams typically operate independently, but the cloud-native environment requires the integration of both skill sets. To ensure the teams work in tandem with the evolving demands, telcos must amalgamate and restructure the two tea­ms. They may have to enlist additional re­sources as IT skill sets become more imperative in a cloud-native environment, and adopt DevOps practices.

Infrastructure and tooling

The deployment of a cloud-native network typically requires a variety of tools to support the development, deployment and management of network infrastructure and services. Some of the key tools requ­ired for cloud native network deployment are continuous integration/continuous de­livery pipelines, network security tools such as firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, monitoring and ob­se­r­vability tools such as Prometheus and Gr­a­fana, service mesh technologies like Istio and, most importantly, network function virtualisation platforms.

Adopting novel models

Traditionally, telcos opt for one or two network equipment vendors. However, in a cloud-native environment, they would be collaborating with new stakeholders su­ch as Wind River, Red Hat and VMware, which provide the underlying container software platform, as well as public cloud providers. Telcos should exercise caution and prudence regarding the commercial mo­dels associated with support and licensing, whether they are based on perpetual or recurring revenue.

Legacy infrastructure

Existing legacy systems and applications may not be designed for cloud-native environments, which can make it challenging to integrate them into a cloud-native network. A way to mitigate this challenge is implementing interworking functions, which interwork open interfaces with legacy protocol, allowing operators to undertake a gradual transition from legacy applications or interfaces.

Design for failover scenarios

Superior design practices for cloud-native functions (CNFs) should be adopted so that application state information is not stored on a single instance. Since cloud-native applications are designed to run in distributed environments and can be easily replicated across multiple geographic lo­cations, it is crucial to ensure high availability and geo-redundancy. In public clouds, high availability can be achieved by de­ploying redundant CNFs in separate availability zones within a region. Geo-redundancy can be achieved by deploying re­d­undant CNFs in separate availability zones across multiple regions.


Cloud-native applications are deployed in a containerised environment that provides security at the container layer, cloud layer and cluster layer. However, additional se­curity measures must be considered during the early stages of the application development life cycle to mitigate potential security breaches. The open interfaces implemented in cloud-native applications will pose new security challenges. These interfaces must ensure privacy protection, protection against external threats and compliance with regulatory requirements.

Leveraging network visibility and analytics

One of the primary advantages of transitioning to a cloud-native environment for telcos is gaining visibility into the netwo­rk, enabling them to leverage analytics to enhance network performance and provide a genuinely unique experience to subscribers. In addition, telcos can leverage full slice assurance to monitor the performance of network slices and optimise the network in real time to meet the requirements of each slice.

Service-level agreement requirements

The adoption of a cloud-native network opens up new possibilities for service providers to provide a differentiated experience and expedite the launch of new services while simultaneously reducing the total cost of network ownership. Mavenir is currently assisting several service pro­viders in realising the complete potential and benefits of migrating their networks to a cloud-native environment.