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Why Having a Cloud-Native Data Platform Matters for Telcos

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Volt Active Data was recently added to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), a Linux Foundation subsidiary that is committed to building sustainable cloud ecosystems. As big believers in cloud-native technology, we couldn’t be more excited by the news.

The CNCF maintains an interactive landscape map that details all the various technology providers that make up the cloud-native ecosystem. You can now find Volt Active Data in the database section on the CNCF’s chart — right alongside platforms like PostgreSQL, Couchbase, and Cassandra.

Cloud-native is one of the hottest buzzwords in the technology industry, and developers across all verticals are increasingly using the methodology to build their applications. To illustrate, one recent Forrester report found that — by the end of 2021 — 60% of companies will leverage containers on public cloud platforms and 25% of developers will leverage serverless architectures.

One industry that’s experiencing a noticeable uptick in cloud-native adoption is the telecom sector. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at why cloud-native infrastructure is now a major part of the telco industry — and something all competitive telcos should have on their radars.

Cloud-native technology: A brief primer

Cloud-native is an approach to computing that involves developing software in the cloud using containers that bundle code and various dependencies together so that applications can run in any environment.

Cloud-native applications get deployed as microservices and are managed using DevOps workflows that utilize continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) pipelines. They are a departure from traditional monolithic applications — or single-tiered, self-contained models deployed on-prem.

In short, cloud-native is a game-changer for application development. And in many ways, telcos don’t have a choice anymore about using it. To survive in the telecom space, cloud-native is now a requirement.

Why telcos need cloud-native development

The shift to cloud-native is a step-change for the telco industry, where applications have long been built using legacy networks, servers, operating systems, and databases.

Today, the same innovation that’s driving the larger technology ecosystem is now requiring changes in the telco space. A growing number of telcos are changing their development approach to move faster and compete effectively in the emerging 5G era, where speed and agility are paramount for success. More and more of them are prioritizing cloud-native applications, and this trend is rapidly accelerating in 2021.

Here are some of the top reasons telcos should consider going the cloud-native route.

1. Security

Containers have inherent security benefits that include:

a. Modularity: Different containers can have different levels of security, so you can choose how and where critical information is dealt with across the network.

b. Consistency: Containers provide a consistent application environment no matter which OS the application is using or whether it’s running in production or testing. Because the environment variables don’t change, the application remains secure through production.

c. Smaller attack surfaces: Hosting applications on a virtual server requires securing the bare-metal host server, the virtual server, and the application itself. But with containers, you only need to secure the host, the Docker daemon (which is much smaller than a virtual operating system) and the application running inside the container, which means having a smaller attack surface to protect.

d. Easier updates. Containers make it easy to quickly update applications with minimal disruption to end users—a critical capability for any enterprise that wants to efficiently address security vulnerabilities.

e. Continuity: If a containerized application fails, it doesn’t won’t bring everything else down with it and the error can be fixed and redeployed without having to stop everything else.

2. Innovation at 5G speeds

To offset declining traditional revenue models, telcos are looking for ways to maximize profits and unlock new revenue streams. 5G is bringing data in at much faster speeds and higher volumes.

The use of containers allows enterprises to create and deploy new applications without having to redeploy an entire system ( i.e., to respond quickly to the market). Since they’re much faster and more efficient than traditional monolithic software, cloud-native applications enable telcos to forecast, detect, and respond to changing market conditions in real time and capitalize on emerging opportunities.

3. A future-proofed infrastructure

Words like agility and innovation are not necessarily buzzwords in the telco industry, where development has traditionally been slow and resource-intensive. But the ground is quickly shifting underneath the sector, and telcos that can’t move quickly and deploy new services rapidly risk getting displaced by competitors and industry disruptors.

By embracing the cloud-native approach to development, telcos can future-proof infrastructure and lay the groundwork for rolling out apps at scale both quickly and cost-effectively.

At the same time, cloud-native is a dealbreaker for most developers, as it represents the edge of innovation and design. So, if telcos want to attract top developers, they need to support cloud-native technologies. Otherwise, the best devs will end up at a competing firm.

4. Deploy apps anywhere

To achieve round-trip data transmissions at 5G speeds, telcos need to minimize long-haul delivery. As a result, they can no longer rely on centralized data centers. Instead, they need to deploy apps at the edge of the network — in strategic markets that are closer to end-users.

For example, a telco in the Los Angeles region can’t rely on a data center in New Jersey. The distance makes it impossible to achieve lightning-fast transfers — which also makes it impossible to deliver the top-shelf user experiences needed to thrive.

Cloud-native technologies enable standardization and automation, which in turn is making it easier for telcos to utilize edge computing. This is a trend that’s rapidly growing in the enterprise arena and making its way into the telco space. To illustrate, Gartner predicts 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside of a traditional centralized data center or cloud by 2025.

Volt Active Data: A cloud-native data platform for modern telcos

To maximize the speed and efficiency of the cloud, telcos need to look at more than just the framework of their applications. One of the most important things to consider when moving to the cloud is the underlying data platform.

While most data platforms are capable of running in cloud environments, telcos are strongly encouraged to use cloud-native data platforms that can achieve greater speed, elasticity, and flexibility.

One such data platform is Volt Active Data, which offers a variety of features that make it suitable for cutting-edge cloud-native deployments. For example, Volt Active Data offers containerization and support for programs like Kubernetes and Docker. Volt Active Data also comes with rapid failover, seamless and automated recovery, and elastic scalability that enables the cluster to grow or shrink programmatically as needed. Due to its powerful capabilities, Volt Active Data enables telcos to make data-driven decisions in real time — in under 10 milliseconds.

Ready to see Volt Active Data in action? Take it for a spin today.

Mark Simborg