Vodafone Idea responds to Jio pressure with ambitious cloud roadmap

Reliance Jio is India’s poster child for an operator which is deploying digital platforms and services, but its disruptive impact on the market are pushing its rivals to adopt advanced digital strategies too, to support new services and reduce costs, and so try to beat Jio at its own game. Market leader Vodafone Idea has announced plans for a ‘universal cloud’, as well as an ambitious program to roll out edge cloud sites (see separate item).

The company is linking more than 100 data centers to form its cloud, using the Red Hat OpenStack Platform as its NFV infrastructure, along with that vendor’s Ceph Storage, Ansible Automation Platform and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The aim is “to transform its distributed network data centers to open standards, open interfaces- based Universal Cloud,” said Red Hat.

This cloud will run network, IT and third party applications across distributed cloud locations and edge nodes, and enable VIL to provide network-as-a-platform services. It is developing its platform in partnership with multiple vendors as well as Red Hat, including Mavenir for the cloudification of VoLTE and other use cases including some in the IoT.

It is working on three main areas of technology:

  • Building a secure cloud that can host multiple tenants and third party applications.
  • Building a fully automated platform that enables self-provisioning of many workloads.
  • Establishing a joint innovation lab to work on chipsets, operating systems and APIs, to support new use cases.

Deployment of the Red Hat OpenStack software is already under way, and the first network services to be migrated to the cloud are the packet core, GiLAN and IMS, as well as IT services for internal and external applications.

Red Hat will also help the telco set up a DevOps team and deploy the Ansible Automation Platform to automate workflows and extend self-provisioning to enterprise customers.

IBM, Red Hat’s parent, has a deal – reportedly worth $700m to $800m – to provide a broad technology platform to VIL, to reduce cost and improve customer experience. IBM will develop and manage the operator’s cloud and hosting businesses, among other responsibilities, while Ericsson will supply its virtualized packet core.