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There is a strong interest among several industry verticals, including manufacturing,
transportation, mining, oil and gas, energy distribution, public sector markets, and smart
agriculture, among others to deploy Enterprise 5G. The tilt towards this is because of the
guarantees provided by 5G such as low latency, ultra-reliable services, and more, making
the new technology an attractive proposition. Furthermore, the time to deploy 5G is also
perfect, driven by the confluence of several factors, such as Big Data and Analytics, Cloud-
native technologies, and Smart Sensors powering the industries to improve both the top line
and bottom line.

Observability Provides Clarity in the 5G Networks

For better delivery and performance of the incredible Industry 4.0 applications, network services like 5G and Edge provide an important foundation, leading to their growing demand. More key industry verticals are leveraging AI and automation which require highly reliable and secure wireless connectivity. Low-latency M2M communications, low-power sensors, mission-critical video radio communications, and control systems are supported by a 5G Radio Access Network (RAN). Observability, a key management control function to deliver services in the 5G edge cloud network provides the understanding of
how multiple domains, such as radio-access, cloud, and core, perform at any given time.
This will in turn help in measuring how the overall service is performing.

For deploying specialist services such as robotic production facilities, autonomous industrial machinery, and transportation control systems, customers demand higher availability and reliable performance metrics. They require data capture, real-time analysis, and control from the radio unit into the centralized data center. Observability helps to monitor multiple network functions, provide timely detection of any fault, and supports quick troubleshooting, all on a single centralized dashboard, thereby ensuring there is minimum impact on customers.

Assuring Service Performance & Delivery in Cloud-Native Networks

High investments are made in the build-out of 5G infrastructure and the latter’s shift to cloud-native architecture has introduced complexities. More expenditure will be incurred on the core and radio access networks to deliver high-availability services at scale. The complexities of 5G architecture are due to Kubernetes architecture, mandatory encryption, edge computing, 5G standalone, and others. To ensure faster taking off of new services and guaranteed customer experience, observability has to be designed at the onset. Assuring service performance and delivery in a cloud-native network requires more real-time data capture and analysis. As services do not run on a single network domain but on several
technology domains, it is critical to have a wider scan of the network infrastructure.

Hundred of microservices distributed across multiple cloud distributors could be part of the service chain.

In large-scale cloud-native platforms, there is increased adoption of observability with the ability to collate and curate huge volumes of data to assess the health of the entire cloud, every element within it, and the applications on it. It also enables one to make insightful and specific observations that prompt corrective action.

Telco network clouds in the transition from physical to virtual should have a unified framework for observability and data management. This is more important specifically to support the new network reality of dynamic services and networks, cloud networks based on virtualized and containerized network functions, and complex ecosystems with multiple stakeholders. Other aspects of the new network include agile supply chains, distributed applications, and diverse endpoints in addition to proactive management and automation.

Today’s evolved customers demand great experiences, irrespective of the application complexity or the location they are accessing from. Network observability is what provides the framework for delivering a consistent service experience. Observability measures end-to-end performance from the application to the network level. Observability solutions should also provide continuity between existing 4G and new 5G networks in other words provide visibility without borders. Observability at scale is necessary to support SLAs, solve customer pain points and predict future capacity demand.

Guest contributor Vinay Sharma is the Regional Director of India and SAARC, NETSCOUT SYSTEMS, INC. (NASDAQ: NTCT), a company that helps assure digital business services against disruptions in availability, performance, and security. Any opinions expressed in this article are strictly that of the author.

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