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VMware inks more telco partnerships as 5G takes off

Virtualization giant keen to cash in on cloud-native tech

MWC VMware has detailed products and partnerships at Mobile World Congress (MWC) involving service providers and others using its tech to build next-generation networks and services covering applications, the radio access network (RAN), and the network edge.

The virtualization giant is among many firms looking to exploit the fusion of cloud-native technologies and telecoms as telcos deploy 5G networks around the globe. It already has its VMware Telco Cloud Platform, which is based on familiar technologies such as vSphere and its VMware NSX-T network technology, plus Tanzu for software container support.

As already covered by The Register, Verizon Business has added VMware to its portfolio of managed Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD WAN) providers within Verizon's Managed WAN Service, adding another option for enterprise customers.

MetTel, another US service provider, has said it will offer its customers a managed secure access service edge (SASE) solution powered by VMware SASE. The solution will allow organisations to provide cloud-based security, networking, and edge compute services for applications running at the edge.

The move follows BT's recent announcement that it will sell its customers VMware SASE as a global managed service, combining the company's networking capabilities and security expertise with VMware technology.

IT services and consulting firm HCL Technologies is partnering with VMware to deliver integrated solutions for service providers around the world. This will see it expand its Cloud Smart portfolio of services powered by VMware technology to include support for VMware Telco Cloud – 5G Core and VMware Telco Cloud RAN.

As part of this expanded partnership, HCL will establish a lab to streamline adoption of VMware tools by customers. This will provide facilities for onboarding, integration, verification and benchmarking of various 5G Core and virtual RAN configurations on VMware Telco Cloud Platform, HCL said.

Meanwhile, Dish Network in the US is building up a 5G network from scratch and has chosen VMware technology to power its RAN. According to Dish, its RAN workloads will run on the VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN while the firm said it will also evaluate VMware's RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC).

A RIC is a new function apparently developed by the O-RAN Alliance that enables service providers to deploy cloud-native control and management apps in the RAN. VMware's RIC, unveiled last year, abstracts the underlying RAN infrastructure and can host near-real-time and non-real-time applications, which VMWare claims will enable new capabilities for automation, optimisation and service customisation.

Dish EVP and chief network officer Marc Rouanne said the company aims to use network slicing, Open RAN, and other 5G technologies to provide customised network services.

VMware also said it is partnering with technology providers on testing and validation of third-party solutions for its Telco Cloud Platform to shorten network deployments by reducing the time needed to design, test, and integrate components from multiple partners.

Dell, for example, has introduced the Dell Telecom Multi-Cloud Foundation as a turnkey network infrastructure package to help service providers build and deploy cloud-native networks. Dell's package combines Dell hardware with the Dell Bare Metal Orchestrator management tool and the service provider's choice of software platform, including VMware. ®

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