The Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance has published its ‘Continuous Delivery in Telecommunication Network Environments’ White Paper, setting out concepts to tackle the ‘air gap’ challenge.
The telecommunications industry is undergoing a fundamental transformation to become more software-centric and cloud-based, paving the way towards a more agile service environment and higher operational automation. On the journey to DevOps, through applying practices such as Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD), network operators at some point in time hit a challenge described in the White Paper as the ‘air gap’.
Caused by the fact that production networks are strictly segregated from test networks and development environment networks for security and operational reasons, this gap between CI automation in one network zone and deployment automations in other network zones hinders seamless CD automation. Solving the ‘air gap’ challenge is therefore an important step in the evolution towards true continuous deployment.
Using findings gained in recent projects, including DevOps practices from Deutsche Telekom (DT) and SK Telecom (SKT) including feedback from more than 25 NGMN Mobile Network Operators, the White Paper lays out the practical experience gained from automating the delivery chain for multiple applications, complemented by mapping the concept to a technology stack.
“This project has reinforced the importance of industry collaboration to expand and evolve telecommunications networks with a view to providing continuous deployment,” said Peter Meissner, CEO of NGMN. “Collaboration is key not just for NGMN but for the whole industry. To address the ‘air gap’ as well as other complex issues that operators face, stakeholders must combine skills, knowledge and resources to maintain advancements in the mobile ecosystem.”
“It is imperative that we move automation out of the advanced technology space and into production. As an industry, we must address the challenges that are hindering this progress,” said, Walter Goldenits, Chief Technology Officer, Telekom Deutschland, Deutsche Telekom. “The concepts explored in this White Paper are gained from practical experience and are intended now for alignment in industry activities around service orchestration and automation. I therefore encourage all interested parties to read and provide feedback to the White Paper.”
“Our ongoing work to identify new solutions that address the air gap challenge will prove critical as the industry undergoes a revolution towards DevOps practices,” said Kangwon Lee, VP & Head of Cloud Labs, ICT R&D Center, SK Telecom. “The industry is moving towards increased operational automation and a more agile service environment, but the change is not just about the technology – it is also about culture and methodologies. This NGMN White Paper is a key stage in the process.”
The White Paper presents the following key aspects:
Outlines the target scenario for CD in telecommunication network environments
Identifies key concepts for a model-based and reusable solution
Examines various aspects of lifecycle management, putting CD into an even larger context
NGMN considers to initiate a project to further evolve the concept proposed in this White Paper jointly with industry stakeholders.
NGMN welcomes feedback from all interested parties on this White Paper and the evolution towards true continuous deployment.