NGMN white paper addresses the ‘air-gap’ automation challenge

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The paper outlines an approach drawing on experience gained from Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom's test and production environments.

The Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance has published a white paper, Continuous Delivery in Telecommunication Network Environments.

It suggests pragmatic ways to bridge the ‘air-gap’ that arises from production (live) networks being shut off from test networks and development environments for security and operational reasons.

Mind the gap

As telcos increasing adopt DevOps practices, there is a discontinuity between continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) automation in one network zone and deployment automations in other zones that prevents seamless CD automation.

NGNM says closing that gap is an important step towards true continuous deployment.

The organisation’s paper puts forward ways of automating the delivery chain for multiple applications, complemented by mapping the concept to a technology stack.

It draws on feedback and experience from more than 25 of its mobile operator members, including Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom.

“It is imperative that we move automation out of the advanced technology space and into production. As an industry, we must address the challenges that are hindering this progress,” said, Walter Goldenits, CTO, Telekom Deutschland, Deutsche Telekom.

He added, “The concepts explored in this white paper are gained from practical experience and are intended now for alignment in industry activities around service orchestration and automation.”

Collaboration is key

Peter Meissner, CEO of NGMN, said, “Collaboration is key not just for NGMN but for the whole industry. To address the ‘air gap’ as well as other complex issues that operators face, stakeholders must combine skills, knowledge and resources to maintain advancements in the mobile ecosystem.”

The white paper presents the following key aspects:

• Outlines the target scenario for CD in teelcoms network environments

• Identifies key concepts for a model-based and reusable solution

• Examines various aspects of lifecycle management, putting CD into an even larger context.

NGMN is considering initiating a joint project to evolve the concepts proposed in the white paper with industry stakeholders.