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HPE unveils open source software to reduce 5G complexity

Open distributed infrastructure management software launched to resolve complexity that telcos face in rolling out 5G networks across thousands of sites equipped with multiple suppliers’ IT infrastructures

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has unveiled the Open Distributed Infrastructure Management initiative, an open source programme designed to simplify the management and roll-out of large-scale geographically distributed physical 5G infrastructure deployments.

HPE sees 5G as representing a huge shift in the way mobile networks are built and, unlike previous generation networks that were largely built on proprietary systems, using standards designed to use open software platforms operating on commercial off-the-shelf servers.

It says the trend towards open distributed technologies such as virtualised radio access networks (vRAN), multi-access edge computing (MEC) and cloud-native network functions will require the deployment of industry-standard compute, storage and networking infrastructure from multiple suppliers across potentially thousands of geographically distributed locations.

HPE also argues that currently, most datacentre physical infrastructure management setups do not scale geographically or support multi-supplier deployments, resulting in operational inefficiencies and inhibiting technology innovation.

The new initiative – launched in collaboration with Intel and with support from companies including AMI, Apstra, Red Hat, Tech Mahindra and World Wide Technology – will principally help resolve the complexity that telcos face in rolling out 5G networks across thousands of sites equipped with IT infrastructure from multiple suppliers and different generations of technology.

The Open Distributed Infrastructure Management initiative aims to simplify network management and drives significant operational and financial benefits. It supports large-scale, geographically distributed networks and facilitates interaction between disparate multi-supplier infrastructure resources, says HPE.

It will also be based on industry-defined specifications, such as DMTF Redfish interfaces, to enable a supplier-neutral approach for managing configuration and operations of compute, storage and networking infrastructure resources across multiple suppliers at scale.

HPE will also introduce an enterprise offering, the HPE Open Distributed Infrastructure Management Resource Aggregator, which is aligned with the initiative. The resource aggregator models infrastructure elements in every site to simplify infrastructure automation across resources, suppliers and geographical locations, it says.

“5G and edge computing industry initiatives will require large-scale and geographically distributed multi-vendor infrastructure deployments that can only be cost-effectively realised with infrastructure-as-code automation,” said Claus Pedersen, vice-president, telco infrastructure solutions at HPE.

“The Open Distributed Infrastructure Management initiative tackles network scalability challenges and the costs associated with vendor lock-in by enabling multi-vendor infrastructure deployments, the centralised deployment of standards-based fault and configuration management, and the aggregation of resource-specific status information.”

Dan Rodriguez, corporate vice-president and general manager of Intel’s Network Platforms Group, added: “Infrastructure management and orchestration can benefit from common open source building blocks, including APIs [application programming interfaces] and data models. The ODIM initiative builds on the work we have done with HPE on top of Redfish and will ultimately help communications service providers and enterprises discover and unleash the full potential of the underlying technologies in their distributed deployments.”

The HPE Open Distributed Infrastructure Management Resource Aggregator complements other HPE telco offerings, including the recently announced core and edge infrastructure as-a-service designed to help telcos gain a more rapid path to revenue and redefined experiences at the enterprise edge.

HPE will launch a commercially supported version of the open source infrastructure manageability function, along with associated infrastructure-specific plug-in components, in the second quarter of 2020. The open source release of the Open Distributed Infrastructure Management initiative to the Linux Foundation is also targeted to take place in the second quarter and will be accessible via www.linuxfoundation.org.

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