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VMware, Red Hat Top 5G Cloud-Native Platform Competition

March 7, 2022

A new Competitive Assessment by ABI Research provides an in-depth and objective evaluation of the telco cloud platforms offered by eleven 5G Telco Cloud-Native Platform players. 5G is slated to enable new business applications and a faster time to market to deploy services for Communication Service Providers (CSPs).

Underpinning this would be cloud-native platforms that will make use of Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines, service meshes, Kubernetes-based container technology, and other cloud-native tools to host new applications including Containerized Network Functions (CNFs) and the new 5G Service-Based Architecture (SBA) Core.

Platform providers in this market are diverse and include incumbent Network Equipment Vendors (NEVs) who have traditionally sold end-to-end network infrastructure solutions with their platforms included in the software stack, as well as cloud computing platform providers who have recently entered the telecom space through the introduction of LTE and 5G networks. While incumbent NEVs make up a majority of the market share in providing telco cloud platforms which host their network functions, cloud computing platform providers are gaining in popularity among CSPs as telecom networks become more digitized, cloud native, and open.

The companies are evaluated in the following order of ranking:

Market Leaders: VMware, Red Hat

Mainstream: Nokia, ZTE, Canonical, Huawei, Google, Ericsson, Wind River

Followers: AWS, Microsoft Azure


“CSPs are looking to enable cloud-native 5G capabilities through the deployment of a horizontal platform that can span their entire network from the core to RAN to edge. Some of the key criteria that CSPs are looking for include the ability to build a multi-vendor network and avoid vendor lock-in. As the 5G SBA value proposition revolves around providing services on-demand through microservices and cloud-native principles, flexibility, agility, and scalability become major factors CSPs look out for when choosing a platform,” says Kangrui Ling, Industry Analyst at ABI Research.

Bipin Shah, CEO of Kovair Software added, "Kovair can play its role in helping these providers with our capabilities in edge computing with Kovair DevSecOps and orchestrating the required integrations at the edge. With Kovair Omnibus integrations with Industry4.0 applications helps integrate several applications including financial and other client services. So, Kovair welcomes these developments and looks forward to participating and partnering with these providers."

VMware and Red Hat are assessed as leaders in the market, with VMware coming out on top due to their strong multi-vendor Network Function (NF) partnership program supporting more than 220 NFs. Red Hat follows closely behind with their Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform and hybrid cloud and multi-cloud capabilities. Both providers are also top innovators, with VMware offering a variety of telco-specific features, including RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC), SD-WAN, and orchestrators, while Red Hat offers auto-scaling of clusters and zero-touch provisioning through solutions such as Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes, Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, and Operator Lifecycle Manager (OLM).

Akshay Sharma, CTO of Kovair Software added, "At Kovair, we agree with the ABI findings that a need exists tying 5G Edge Computing, with Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), and Platforms like VMware, RedHat Openshift, with internally developed applications, and Industrial Applications, which only Kovair allows for. Kovair uniquely enables Enterprises to add Secure APIs, with Role-based Controls as a way to monetize their back-office systems for B2B applications, in turn helping IT transform from a Cost Center to a Value Center. Kovair’s VSMP: Value Stream Management Platform is unique in the Industry with support for RedHat, VMware, and End-2-End PLM capabilities additionally."

“Cloud native is critical for telco applications in 5G, and is crucial in bringing automation, scale, performance, efficient operations, faster time to market, an improved CI/CD pipeline, and the easy introduction of new software and features. Newer trends are also emerging which include multi-vendor capabilities and hybrid cloud/multi cloud support as networks become more open and disaggregated,” concludes Ling.

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