Dell makes announcements around 5G and scalability to help service providers capture edge opportunities

The two big news pieces here are the delivery of an open cloud-native telecom ecosystem and a new Dell Technologies open telecom ecosystem lab.

Dennis Hoffman, senior vice president and general manager of Dell Technologies Telecom Systems

Today, Dell Technologies is announcing new measures aimed at communication service providers designed to overcome their challenges in edge environments. Dell is announcing they will deliver an open cloud-native telecom ecosystem, including both infrastructure and solutions, on which they will build the next generation open network ecosystem. With Project Metalweaver software, this will support deployment and maintenance of open, industry-standard infrastructure at scale. Some of the new solutions were also announced. The second major piece of news is a new Dell Technologies open telecom ecosystem lab, to make it easier for telcos to consume innovation and seize edge opportunities, including those around 5G.

“The telecom industry is making it possible do anything from anywhere – but at the same time it has never been more challenged,” said Dennis Hoffman, senior vice president and general manager of Dell Technologies Telecom Systems Business. “The vast returns from networks largely go elsewhere, and 5G revenue won’t be captured without significant transformation. We believe Dell Technologies is uniquely suited to help telecoms capture the 5G revenue opportunity.”

Hoffman stressed that Dell Technologies is there to support that telecommunications ecosystem.

“We can help them invest in long term digital transformation,” he said. “Open radio access networks play to our strength in software and cloud, and help telcos move from vertically integrated networks to virtualized disaggregated systems.”

Hoffman said that while the industry is accustomed to talking on-prem and off- prem, edge is fundamentally different and is in fact a ‘third prem.’

“By the middle of this decade, we believe that three-quarters of all global data will be analyzed and acted upon on the edge, and that there will be an 800% increase in applications built to take advantage of this – brand new apps,” he stated.

Three things have to happen for service providers to capture this once in a lifetime opportunity, Hoffman emphasized.

“They need to build and monetize edge computing, and that’s something we can help with,” he said. “They need to modernize network architecture which isn’t software defined and cloud-native. They also need to embrace cloud-native operations, which is critical for cloud service providers.”

Hoffman said Dell’s approach to telecom transformation consists of IT transformation, network transformation and an enhanced services portfolio, which they well help the service providers design, build and get to market.

“There are two big problems to solve which we can help with,” he stated. “First is opening and modernizing a network based on a disaggregated 5G ecosystem. Second is solving the challenge of massive geo distribution at scale. There are over seven million base stations in the telecommunications industry today. We are working with service providers to drive network modernization at scale, organize a disaggregated ecosystem and help them deliver new services revenue.”

This brings us to the actual hard news, and it comes in two parts.

“First, we will deliver an open cloud-native network infrastructure foundation, on which we will build the next generation open network ecosystem,” Hoffman said. “We will act as a force for creation to make the ecosystem more consumable.”

Hoffman announced new platforms and software which will be a component of this. They include new Intel Ice Lake-based R750/650 processors on edge-optimized Dell PowerEdge ruggedized XR 11/12 servers.

“We are also announcing Project Metalweaver, a bare metal solution to enable zero touch provisioning and upgrading and tackle the TCP 5G opportunity,” Hoffman added. Project Metalweaver is a flexible software solution that lets CSPs  easily select, autonomously deploy and manage thousands of multi-vendor compute, network and storage devices across multiple locations.

Dell will also be launching new reference architectures for these telecommunications edge environments. They will build on existing

infrastructure foundation solutions with VMware Telco Cloud Platform and Red Hat OpenShift Reference Architecture for Telecom. The new architectures will include core software solutions with Affirmed Networks, private network solutions with CommScope RUCKUS, multi-access edge computing solutions with Intel Smart Edge,  core software solutions with Nokia, and a collaboration with Mavenir to develop 5G Open RAN software with Dell EMC PowerEdge XR11 ruggedized servers.

The reference architectures are scheduled to be available in the late summer time frame.

“The second big pieces of news is the introduction of our Open Telecom Ecosystem Lab, to make all this more consumable by the world’s network operators,” Hoffman said. “At the Lab, they can come together to test, certify and develop solutions. This doesn’t replace existing collaboration efforts with carriers on their own facilities. But have been issues of lab sprawl, so carriers don’t know what works well together, which this will address.

The main telecom lab will be in Dell’s headquarters in Round Rock Texas, but they are committed to having satellite labs, one of which was identified as coming to Tokyo.

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