Industry Blog

Mobile operators or hyperscalers: who is on cloud nine?

Time to read: 3 minutes

The cloud has achieved new heights! A few weeks ago cloud database software company, Snowflake, more than doubled its valuation to just under $71 billion dollars. Heck, even Warren Buffet wants a piece of the cloud action!

Snowflake is interesting (though not unique) in its ability to handle multi-clouds. This means it can sift through – and extract value from – all the different data siloes that enterprises possess. This trend is being mirrored in the mobile sector too. It is a capability that operators also need. After all, enterprise IT applications on private 5G networks have become the first cloud-native revenue generator.

Uncovering the secrets of data management

Droves of enterprises turned to online cloud services operating across multiple data centers, both on premise and in the hybrid cloud. However, competition is fierce with the trio of tech giants that dominate enterprise cloud also moving in on LTE and 5G. In the words of Sue Rudd, director of research at Strategy Analytics: “data center hyperscalers got to the cloud first, and they will not be content to simply partner with operators”. Rudd highlights this in an exclusive eBook for mobile operators: Secrets of Data Management.

Mobile operators do have some important advantages over the web hyperscalers. Many enterprises have a deep-seated resistance to the way the tech giants have traditionally targeted, isolated and locked-in customers. Many prefer a neutral third-party, such as a mobile operator, to offer a comparable, hybrid cloud that optimizes access across AWS, Salesforce, Azure and the rest, while delivering best-of-breed solutions. It provide the latest and greatest functionality in a timely manner – and operators can gain a competitive advantage.

Gaining a competitive edge requires operators to leverage the low latency and dynamic service enablement of 5G at the same time as promoting the hybrid-cloud approach that the overwhelming majority of enterprises want. Enea Openwave’s cloud data management solution, Stratum does exactly this.

Stratum’s capabilities include being operational across data siloes whether the customer has one data center, multiple data centers or multiple clouds. It has already been deployed by two of the world’s largest mobile operators in North America and Europe, together covering over 260 million subscribers. Stratum provides complete flexibility to manage cloud data with no vendor lock-in and handles structured and unstructured data.

Hybrid cloud – the silver lining

As we head into the 5G era, many operators have good reasons to consider hybrid cloud solutions. For a start, hybrid cloud is foundational to enabling 5G private enterprise networks, which are among the early (yes, revenue-generating!) use cases for 5G.

Hybrid cloud deployments allow for increased flexibility for varying provisioning requirements. They also enable a faster, more agile approach to data availability, enabling operators to partner with others and share relevant data instantly. This is proving particularly valuable in shoring up the mobile edge computing (MEC) partnerships that hyperscalers are also racing to secure.

While multi-cloud solutions can deliver more flexibility and better value, operators need to be mindful of the challenges inherent in such environments. Mobile operators should ensure they retain the ability to update data models and retain control of the data. Efficiency is key when it comes to resource orchestration and data replication across multiple environments. Avoid being tied to any one specific vendor. Thanks to 3GPP’s Release 16, vendor lock-ins should soon be a things of the past thanks to 5G.

Once in a (g)eneration opportunity

5G represents a tectonic shift for operators and presents a strategic and business opportunity like never before. Mobile operators have advantages over the dominant cloud computing platforms, but a coherent approach to data management is critical. Hyperscaler hybrid-cloud environments can enable innovation and scale but should also be considered from the perspective of data management, orchestration, APIs and long-term operation. There are important lessons to consider when deploying hybrid cloud environments and choosing partners, and for mobile operators, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

For the ultimate guide to managing operator data, download Secrets of Data Management, the latest e-book from Enea Openwave that crystallizes 15 years of experience gained managing subscriber data in some of the largest mobile operator networks in North America, Europe and Asia.