CSPs Get That Cloud Native is the Way to Go

The cloud native bandwagon is taking on travellers as more communication service providers (CSPs) acknowledge that software-based network functions need to be specifically designed to run in the cloud to achieve the promised cost and efficiency benefits of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). Metaswitch pioneered the cloud native software design methodology for CSP networks many years ago just as the industry was turning its attention to NFV. Today, it seems the cloud native penny has finally dropped.

In a recent TelecomTV interview, Metaswitch CTO Martin Taylor discussed this industry epiphany moment and what cloud native really means.

“Cloud native is NFV done right,” said Taylor. “The unfortunate thing is that the original vision of NFV was to take an appliance that used to be a physical box and turn that into a software appliance and run it virtualized. I think that vision was very short on long-term thinking. It represented a baby step, and maybe that was the intention, but it was also a reflection of the lack of understanding of what cloud architected applications looked like.”

When Metaswitch applied cloud native design principles to its ground-breaking Clearwater IMS core virtual network functions (VNFs), we gleaned the know-how of web-scale companies and studied how they built applications to run in the cloud.

“Maybe the industry wasn’t ready for that,” said Taylor. “It has certainly come to realize that just taking a piece of software from a physical appliance and virtualizing it is not going to yield the benefits that proper cloudification will deliver.”

He also noted that just about every VNF vendor now says that its software is cloud native, but “without any real substance behind claims, and that’s causing a lot of confusion.”

Truly cloud native applications have three main characteristics. First, they should be deployable in containers; second, they are decomposed into microservices; and finally, they are dynamically orchestrated. “That’s what cloud native actually means,” he said.

For more on Taylor’s insights on the cloud native state of play, be sure not to miss the TelecomTV interview