Etisalat deploys cloud-based telecoms infrastructure
Etisalat has activated its first live network functions virtualisation (NFV) telco cloud in Abu Dhabi.
Amidst strong financial results, the latest project comes as part of the CSP’s continuous efforts for technological leadership in the region and worldwide. The NFV-based telco infrastructure has been built with Quanta servers, Arista switches and Canonical Ubuntu OpenStack, a multi-vendor combination integrated for production for the first time ever globally.
Projects, proof of concepts and various experiments and tests to transform Etisalat started as early as 2013, with the telecoms industry’s fostering and adoption of NFV and Software Defined Networking (SDN).
Based on the open-source OpenStack cloud platform used by NASA, CERN and leading web companies, activations are currently in progress in more sites across the UAE. On top of this telco cloud, the Middle Eastern CSP plans to virtualise its infrastructure and services across its portfolios of data, communications and video, beginning with mobile services. The leap is expected to make telecoms resources and services more fluid, automatic and open for innovation.
Realising the potential and benefits of cloud-based and software-defined technologies, Etisalat has launched a corporate-wide program in 2016 to “cloudify the network”, dubbed Sahaab – an Arabic word that translates to cloud. The programme aims to harmonise between the hardware-centric telecoms services and the software-centric cloud services across the company.
“It’s a different world that we’ve embarked into“, said Esmaeel Alhammadi, the senior vice president of Network Development at Etisalat and its Sahaab programme lead. “We thought it was a technological step, requiring a mere upgrade of the network and services. But it turns out to be more than that. It’s a shift in mindsets and how things get done. It’s not every year that we have technologies like these that have the potential of adapting to customer wishes faster and opening new avenues for future innovations and collaborations.”
The CSP’s digital transformation is working to support the UAE’s Vision 2021 national agenda for a competitive, digital economy driven by innovative Emiratis. Its mission is to empower the nation and its citizens, residents, businesses and ideas to be competitive locally and globally.
“Etisalat is demonstrating real vision and innovation by the speed at which they are embracing network function virtualisation, “ said Anand Krishnan, the executive vice president of cloud at Canonical. “We are delighted that Etisalat has selected Canonical OpenStack as their NFV infrastructure and Juju as their generic VNF manager. As the global leader in OpenStack deployments, we will work closely with Etisalat to ensure its customers can benefit from the virtualisation and cloudification of network functions that this will deliver.”