Today, the Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced the formation of project Nephio in partnership with Google Cloud and leaders across the telecommunications industry. The Linux Foundation provides a venue for continued ecosystem, developer growth and diversity, as well as collaboration across the open source ecosystems.

Building, managing and deploying scalable 5G networks across multiple edge locations is complex. The Telco industry needs true cloud-native automation to be faster, simpler and easier, while achieving agility and optimization in cloud based deployments. To address these challenges, Google Cloud and the Linux Foundation have founded “Nephio.”  The project has support from several founding organizations including Service providers: Airtel, Bell Canada, Elisa, Equinix, Jio, Orange, Rakuten Mobile, TIM, TELUS, Vapor IO, Virgin Media O2, WINDTRE as well as Network Function, Service and Infrastructure Vendors: Aarna Networks, ARM, Casa-systems, DZS, Ericsson, F5, Intel, Juniper, Mavenir, Nokia, Parallel Wireless, VMware.

Cloud Native Principles have come a long way and as we see Cloud Service Providers collaborating with Telecom Service Providers and Enterprises, a new way of simplifying automation of network functions is emerging.

Nephio aims to deliver carrier-grade, simple, open, Kubernetes-based cloud native intent automation and common automation templates that materially simplify the deployment and management of multi-vendor cloud infrastructure and network functions across large scale edge deployments.

Additionally, Nephio will enable faster onboarding of network functions to production including provisioning of underlying cloud infrastructure with a true cloud native approach, and reduce costs of adoption of cloud and network infrastructure.

Google Cloud

“Telecommunication companies are looking for new solutions for managing their cloud ready and cloud native infrastructures as well as their 5G networks to achieve the scale, efficiency, and high reliability needed to operate more cost effectively,” said Amol Phadke, managing director, Telecom Industry Products & Solutions, Google Cloud. “We look forward to working alongside The Linux Foundation, and our partners, in the creation of Nephio to set an industry open standard for Kubernetes-based intent automation that will result in faster and better connected cloud-native networks of the future.”

Linux Foundation 

“Collaboration across Telecom and Cloud Service Providers is accelerating and we are excited to bring Nephio to the open source community,” said Arpit Joshipura, GM Networking, Edge & IOT, The Linux Foundation, “As end users demand end to end open source solutions, projects like Nephio complement the innovation across LFN, CNCF, LF Edge for faster deployment of telecom network functions in a cloud-native world.”

More information about Nephio is available at www.nephio.org.

Service Providers

Airtel

“Zero touch deployment, configuration and operations of network functions predominantly on the edge of the network and in multi-cloud and multi-vendor scenarios is a significant challenge for all operators across the globe. A cloud-native orchestration and automation approach is the absolute need of the hour. Airtel is looking forward to being part of the LF and Google initiative to develop innovative solutions to simplify network operations,” said Manish Gangey, SVP and Head – R&D, Bharti Airtel.

Bell

“Similar to our early participation in the Linux Foundation ONAP initiative, Bell Canada is thrilled to collaborate in this next chapter of Telco softwarization,” said Petri Lyytikainen, VP Network, Bell Canada. “With innovations like 5G, ORAN and a new era of distributed cloud computing, Nephio and its community will be key in accelerating network and infrastructure automation towards a true cloud-native and intent-driven approach. This important work will help drive the evolution of network technology that will benefit Bell customers and the telecoms industry in Canada for years to come.”

Elisa

“Elisa has a long history of network automation and cloud services. That has been utilized by the leading network analytics and automation solution provider Elisa Polystar,” said Anssi Okkonen, CEO of Elisa Polystar. “We are looking forward to working together with Linux Foundation, Google Cloud and Nephio community to enable new cloud-native automation solutions for building the tools for self-driving networks.”

Equinix

“We believe in innovation through collaboration and are pleased to join the Nephio project to help build advanced digital infrastructure orchestration capabilities for telco (5G) cloud native network functions,” said Justin Dustzadeh, CTO at Equinix. “We look forward to collaborating with the developer community and members of the Nephio project to make it easier for developers to manage distributed infrastructure and help businesses drive digital transformation.”

Jio

“Jio is excited to be part of the Nephio initiative. At a time when 5G Standalone deployments are rapidly coming on-stream globally, Nephio will play a pivotal role in the journey of telcos towards adopting a cloud native 5G Network,” said Aayush Bhatnagar, SVP, Jio.

Orange

“For telecom operators, Cloud Native technologies will unleash many new opportunities. By providing a cloud native intent automation framework, Nephio should play a key role in the telecommunications ecosystem by enabling on-demand connectivity and zero touch operator capabilities, thus benefiting the entire industry, developers, vendors, integrators, operators,” said Laurent Leboucher, group CTO and SVP, Orange Innovation Networks.

Rakuten Mobile

“The telecommunications industry is undergoing transformative change, with cloud native technologies bringing the industry into the modern era. When building Rakuten Mobile’s cloud native network in Japan, we understood the challenges of an open ecosystem and also realized the many benefits of cloud architecture, including automation, zero-touch provisioning and unprecedented agility. We’re excited to join Nephio in working to reimagine what telecommunications can be in the cloud era,” commented Sharad Sriwastawa, CTO, Rakuten Mobile.

TIM

“We believe that the adoption of Cloud Native technology and philosophy will represent a cornerstone for the future of telecommunications, merging the world of cloud services and the world of telco services into one single digital platform. The automation framework is probably the most sensitive and strategic part of this platform that will be able to stimulate innovation during coming years,” said Crescenzo Micheli, VP Technology & Innovation at Telecom Italia (TIM). “We believe the Nephio project could play a fundamental role to speed up this process.”

TELUS

“TELUS is excited to be contributing to this Linux Foundation project. Innovation and collaboration have been a life-long journey for us; accelerating the adoption of Cloud Native technologies is a must to meet our customers’ ever-changing expectations,” said Ibrahim Gedeon, CTO at TELUS. “We are excited to build on our 10-year strategic partnership with Google Cloud and collaborate with the Linux Foundation. Together we will maximize the scalability and agility of our global-leading network, simplifying and rethinking the operating digital models of our customers while building a better future for all Canadians and globally. This cannot be more true than with 5G and fiberizing the world as we enter a new era of hyper-connectivity. Combining high speeds, bandwidth and reliability with cloud computing and automation will transform the way we operate, enabling solutions like smart cities and connected cars and transforming key verticals across agriculture, healthcare and manufacturing.”

Vapor IO

“Nephio depends on critical underlying infrastructure like Vapor IO’s Kinetic Grid to automate the deployment of carrier-grade network functions,” said Cole Crawford, founder & CEO of Vapor IO. “Automating at-scale operations across multiple clouds is a complicated task. We applaud Google for selecting the Linux Foundation for bringing these capabilities to market via an open source platform. This could be a watershed moment in the telecom industry, transforming historically complicated network deployments and operations into cloud-native workflows with high degrees of automation. This will lower the cost of 5G deployments and increase the overall competitiveness of the telecom industry.”

Virgin Media O2

“We are continually looking at improving and evolving our automation strategies, especially around Kubernetes.  We are incredibly motivated to work closely with the Linux Foundation and Nephio toward network automation and the process of using software to automate network and security provisioning and management to maximize network efficiency and functionality continuously,” said Paul Greaves, head of Automation and Orchestration Virgin Media O2.

WINDTRE

“Cloudnative platforms are an essential offering for accelerating the enterprises’ digitization journey plans over the next few years. Nephio, the new automation model based on Kubernetes, is the step to support the evolution of 5G networks and the edge infrastructures for dynamic services. We are pleased to be part of the Nephio community,” said Massimo Motta, Architecture and governance director of WINDTRE.

Network Function, Service and Infrastructure Vendors

Aarna Networks

“We actively utilize and contribute back to Linux Foundation Networking projects to help customers simplify the orchestration, lifecycle management, and automated service assurance of 5G networks and edge computing applications,” said Amar Kapadia, co-founder and CEO, Aarna Networks. “Similarly, we look forward to collaborating on the Nephio project to simplify numerous platform, infrastructure, and network pain points of 5G and edge deployments.”

Arm

​​“5G is expected to be the fastest-deployed mobile technology in history, but only if we can remove the barriers to efficient large-scale deployment. The founding of Nephio brings the benefits of cloud native technology to 5G networks, improving operational agility and reducing deployment costs so that we can economically meet the surge in connectivity demand,” said Eddie Ramirez, VP, Infrastructure Line of Business, Arm.

Casa Systems 

“Next-generation networks require the flexibility and agility of the cloud at the network edge. We are pleased to be working with the Linux Foundation, Google and the broader community of partners on the Nephio initiative to develop industry standards for cloud-native, Kubernetes-based automation and orchestration solutions that will enable tomorrow’s all-connected world,” said Gibson Ang, vice president of Technology and Product Management, Casa Systems

DZS

“As an advocate of open standards-based solutions for the network edge, DZS enthusiastically supports this joint initiative with the Linux Foundation and Google. We look forward to collaborating with global converged carrier customers of DZS and other ecosystem partners on the Nephio project as we usher in a new era of connectivity by addressing the industry demand for multi-domain, software-driven automation and orchestration across distributed cloud-native networks for 5G and beyond,” said Andrew Bender, CTO, DZS.

Ericsson

“The openness and flexibility of the 5G cloud native architecture brings significant opportunities for CSPs to expand existing business as well as building new business for enterprise customers. For CSPs to scale the business, simplification and automation of lifecycle and workload management across hybrid and multi cloud environments is key,” said Anders Vestergren, head of strategy portfolio and technology, Business Area Digital Services, Ericsson. “We look forward to collaborating with other industry leaders as part of the Nephio project to enhance Kubernetes with an industry-standard automation framework for cloud native deployments.”

F5

“F5 has been partnering with many service providers in their transformation journey building and operating cloud-native infrastructure for 5G, with special focus on scaling and securing telco protocols and workloads. We are excited to join the Linux Foundation and the Nephio project to help accelerate our customers’ digital initiatives,” said Ankur Singla, SVP, GM, Distributed Cloud Services, F5.

Intel 

“Innovation at the edge is the next frontier of business opportunity. Nephio is a ground-breaking step to provide Cloud Service Providers with a carrier-grade, open, and extensible Kubernetes-based cloud-native automation framework, and common automation templates that simplify large scale edge deployment. We are pleased to be working in collaboration with the Linux Foundation and broader Nephio community to help simplify edge automation,” said  Rajesh Gadiyar, VP and CTO, Network Platforms Group at Intel.

Juniper

“Kubernetes-centric automation, leveraging cloud native principles, is an integral part of Juniper Networks’ experience-first networking strategy. We are therefore excited to join the Nephio project at the Linux Foundation as a founding partner, continuing Juniper’s long-standing tradition as a major supporter of and active contributor to the open source community. We look forward to working with other leading technology companies and mobile operators, as well as the broader Kubernetes open source community, to ensure that Nephio helps to advance cloud native automation at scale, for the benefit of all.” Constantine Polychronopoulos, VP of 5G & Telco Cloud at Juniper Networks.

Mavenir

“Network automation is a key driver for Telco network cloudification. A Kubernetes native automation framework with proven success in other vertical applications automation is promising for the Telco space. We are pleased to be part of the Google/Linux  Foundation initiative to accelerate this move on the public cloud and look forward to collaborating with the Nephio community,” said Bejoy Pankajakshan, CTSO of Mavenir.

Nokia      

“Nokia has always led in the drive to deliver open cloud-based networks and services that usher new value and possibilities of customer experience that fuel revenue growth for everyone. Automation of deployment, configuration and operations of network functions, that work seamlessly in a complex multi-cloud and multi-vendor network environment, are key to achieving the above goals. Nokia is pleased to join its customers and partners in a collaboration to co-innovate on the ‘democratic’ building blocks for the right tools of tomorrow’s networks.” Jitin Bhandari, CTO, Cloud and Network Services, Nokia

Parallel Wireless

Steve Papa, CEO, Parallel Wireless, said, “Parallel Wireless is cloudifying 2G 3G 4G and 5G Open RAN and the Google/Linux Foundation initiative cloud-native architecture will allow fast deployment of RAN services on site, fast and fault-proofed upgrades and scalability — where resources can be scaled in an instant based on the end-user needs. Parallel Wireless is proud to join this initiative to help mobile operators modernize their networks via cloudification and bring innovation and cost savings.”

VMware

Lakshmi Mandyam, vice president of product management and partner ecosystems, Service Provider & Edge, VMware, said, “CSPs are embracing multi-cloud to create revenue-accelerating services, reduce operational costs and simplify network operations.  VMware’s vision for CSPs enables a cloud-first approach to management and orchestration across the core, RAN and edge, aligning with the goals of the Linux Foundation and Nephio project. We look forward to contributing to this initiative that will foster a multi-vendor ecosystem and support faster on-boarding, automation and life-cycle management for cloud-native networks.”

About Nephio

Nephio’s goal is to deliver carrier-grade, simple, open, Kubernetes-based cloud-native intent automation and common automation templates that materially simplify the deployment and management of multi-vendor cloud infrastructure and network functions across large scale edge deployments. Nephio enables faster onboarding of network functions to production including provisioning of underlying cloud infrastructure with a true cloud native approach, and reduces costs of adoption of cloud and network infrastructure. More information can be found at www.nephio.org.

About the Linux Foundation

The Linux Foundation is the organization of choice for the world’s top developers and companies to build ecosystems that accelerate open technology development and commercial adoption. Together with the worldwide open source community, it is solving the hardest technology problems by creating the largest shared technology investment in history. Founded in 2000, The Linux Foundation today provides tools, training and events to scale any open source project, which together deliver an economic impact not achievable by any one company. More information can be found at www.linuxfoundation.org.

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