Vodafone to virtualise network in five-year project

Building internal Openstack ‘telco cloud’.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia is embarking on a five-year project to virtualise its core and IP networks to run out of an on-premises Openstack-based cloud.

The project – which VHA CTO Kevin Millroy declined to put a dollar figure on – will be run by Ericsson and Cisco Systems, which take care of the telco’s existing core and routing functions respectively.

VHA hopes the “transformed” core and IP networks will both save money and make it easier to bring on and personalise new services, such as the internet of things, 5G, and virtual reality.

That is likely to be achieved through the introduction of network slicing – an Ericsson concept that allows a physical network to be divided into logical slices that can be targeted at specific use cases. The vendor is already bringing the same concept to Telstra’s core network.

“The establishment of a ‘telco cloud’ environment and the virtualisation of the network functions means that we can dynamically place content and services where customers actually need it,” Millroy said.

“It will enable us to respond to new applications more easily.”

VHA hopes to save money by moving away from a traditional telecommunications network design, where various vendors’ appliances are bought and interconnected.

“By moving to this ‘telco cloud’, with its separation of software and hardware, we get the ability to move towards a standard-cost hardware platform, which then allows us to be more efficient from a cost perspective,” VHA’s general manager of network engineering and planning Barry Kezek said.

“The cloud infrastructure will be built first – we’re embarking on

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