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British Telecom Embraces Open Source And Canonical’s OpenStack To Power Its 5G Network

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The future of telecommunications network is software-defined. Everything has been virtualized – compute, storage and network. And Open Source technologies like OpenStack and Linux are powering the software-defined networks.

British Telecom (BT), one of the biggest telecom providers of the UK is Open Source technologies to power its next-generation 5G network.

BT has chosen Open Source technologies of Canonical, the makers of Ubuntu operating system, for its network. BT will use OpenStack distribution of Canonical – Charmed OpenStack that runs on Ubuntu Linux – to build its 5G network.

“Canonical is providing us with the ‘cloud-native’ foundation that enables us to create a smart and fully converged network. Utilizing open source and best-of-breed technologies will ensure we can deliver on our convergence vision, and enable a world-leading 5G and FTTP experience for our customers,” said Neil J. McRae, BT Group Chief Architect.

In addition to Charmed OpenStack, BT will also use Canonical’s source virtual infrastructure manager (VIM) as part of BT’s Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) program, and the transition to a cloud-based Core network.

BT will use Canonical’s application modeling tool Juju and Charms for a model-driven architecture to onboard virtual network functions (VNFs) applications Canonical’s MAAS will be used for cloud provisioning.

Commenting on this development Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical, said, “BT has recognized the efficiency, flexibility and innovation afforded by an open architecture, and realizes the value of such an approach in enabling its delivery of new 5G services.”

BT said in a press release that the open-source cloud-based approach will ensure that it can quickly deploy new services and increase capacity to stay ahead of customer demand driven by 5G and FTTP. Canonical’s OpenStack architecture will also facilitate the delivery of BT’s full 5G Core network. Even if BT is a tech powerhouse, the company will leverage Canonical’s commercial support program – Ubuntu Advantage – for management and support of operations.

This deal marks the biggest deal Canonical has ever signed in the OpenStack space, bringing it on par with Red Hat and Mirantis that have deals with companies like AT&T and Verizon.

Canonical is one of the early investors and adopters of OpenStack. Mark Shuttleworth recently reinforced his trust in OpenStack and said that the community is no longer the rebel outsiders. “We are, in a sense, becoming the Empire.”

Swapnil Bhartiya
I have more than 12 years of experience covering Enterprise Open Source, Cloud, Containers, IoT, Machine Learning and general tech. My stories cover a very broad spectrum - traditional Linux, data center and Free Software to contemporary emerging technologies like 'serverless'. Widely Read: My stories have appeared in a multitude of leading publications including CIO, InfoWorld, Network World, The New Stack, Linux Pro Magazine, ADMIN Magazine, HPE Insights, Raspberry Pi Geek Magazine, SweetCode, Linux For You, Electronics For You and more.
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