BT adopts Ubuntu OpenStack as core brains for its 5G, fibre-to-the-premises rollout

British Telecom chose Ubuntu OpenStack, developed by Canonical open source specialist, as the cloud platform that will help support the introduction of 5G and fiber connectivity to facilities in the United Kingdom.

As part of Canonical, it will provide the open source virtual infrastructure manager (VIM) that will allow BT, and by extension, its EE mobile network, to execute network functions as code, reducing the need for specialized telecommunications hardware.

Major telecommunications providers are currently engaged in the transition from proprietary hardware-based networks, which are expensive to build and run, to virtualized cloud-based networks, backed by commodity servers. They don't do it because it's fun, but because it's the only way to profitably deliver the amounts of data their customers will need in the coming years.

"Things like 5G and IoT are challenging telecommunications companies to build. A completely new kind of infrastructure, with very large amounts of computing, network and storage," Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical, told The Reg .

"They also have the challenge of doing so in a very competitive way, because the business models that are going to run with this new infrastructure have to be able to support millions and millions of very cheap things.

" When switching to equipment commonly used and software defined infrastructure, gain agility. , but they also gain the ability to buy in large quantities and operate in a very automated way, because they are not trying to integrate network devices from many different manufacturers. "

One of the options available to telecommunications companies is OpenStack: no it is a single piece of software, but a cloud framework consisting of an integration engine and almost 50 interdependent open source projects, each of which fulfills a defined purpose.For example, Nova handles the calculation, Neutron makes networks and Magnum manages the container organization, all linked through APIs.

Canonical, based in London, launched its own OpenStack distribution in 2015. In addition to the central platform, the business is grouping a lot of homemade extras. Like Juju, it is not the magic power, just a tool that automates the popular configuration of services, and MAAS (metal-as-a-service), software for e l Cloud provisioning that perverts the natural order by being able to install not only Ubuntu and RHEL, but also Windows.

"What we do is give the operator the ability to manage many different clouds very efficiently, because everything is programmatic and everything is reusable," Shuttleworth said.

BT is expected to switch to a fully 5G central network cloud by 2022. This should allow the company to do new and interesting things, including ultra-reliable low-latency communications (URLLC) and network division.

  Photo of the BT tower through Shutterstock

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BT is not the only telecommunications provider that puts OpenStack in the center of its modernization efforts: Canonical customers also include AT&T and Deutsche Telecom Tele2, Colt and Sky.

"If you withdraw from the 5G project and simply ask what happens to large-scale infrastructure, in all industries it is beginning to be formed by the thought of cloud computing: if you are a telecommunications company." media company or a retailer, "Shuttleworth said.

" You operate private infrastructure and want it to behave like a cloud. You want the economy of that private infrastructure to be predictable and efficient, and you want your internal users to manage that infrastructure programmatically.

"5G is the owner, it is the project that is catalyzing the construction of these clouds, but the biggest image is that almost all parts of the infrastructure want to become a cloud." ®

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