MWC17: Huawei releases CloudMetro to – yes – take metro to the cloud

huawei CloudMetro
Wei Feng, CMO of Huawei's Network Product Line

Huawei officially released its CloudMetro solution at MWC17 on Monday in a bid to help operators migrate their metro networks to an open and modular cloud-based architecture.

CloudMetro allows metro networks to harness cloud technology to enable resource pooling, service agility, operation automation and open platforms.

As digital content shifts to heavy apps like 4K video and virtual reality, and with the rise of enterprise cloud interconnect – and the eventual arrival of service diversity that 5G will bring – metro networks will be responsible for miving most of that traffic. Consequently, the metro has to be at the forefront of business innovation and constantly explore ways to enhance user experience.

Wei Feng, CMO of Huawei’s Network Product line, said at a press event at MWC17 that metro networks must be be capable of rapid integration, efficient operations, and network capability openness to meet the commercial needs of upcoming new services – both the ones we know are coming, and the ones we don’t. And that requires a a cloud-based architecture.

CloudMetro has two parts: an upper-layer network cloud engine (NCE) and an underlying E2E slicing-capable bearer network. It separates the functional modules, cloud operating system, and underlying physical devices into different layers, and moves management and service functions to the NCE to provide an on-demand LEGO-style service provisioning capability.

Wei Feng said the CloudMetro solution can lower trial costs, shortens service time-to-market from months to days and automate O&M for greater efficiency gains. The resource pooling function alone improves network utilization 100%, he added.

Huawei has also opened the standard northbound interfaces to third parties, allowing more applications to be supported.

While CloudMetro offers a compelling argument for taking the metro to the cloud, Wei Feng admitted that operators do face challenges in moving to a cloud-based architecture.

“If you want to transform your current network, it’s costly, and your current BSS/OSS and processes and so on are serving legacy networks or traditional business models,” he explained. “That’s why when telcos do move forward with adopting SDN or NFV, they only do it to enable new services like 5G, for example – otherwise, there’s no motivation to rebuild the current network. It’s a step-by-step process for them – they need to weigh the benefits and investments to see what they want to do with it.”

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