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InfoQ Homepage News Microsoft Introduces Azure Operator Nexus to Simplify Deployment of Network Functions

Microsoft Introduces Azure Operator Nexus to Simplify Deployment of Network Functions

Microsoft recently announced the public preview of Azure Operator Nexus, a hybrid, AI-enabled, carrier-grade cloud platform designed to meet the specific needs of network operators.

Azure Operator Nexus is a service designed to bring the performance and resiliency of carrier-grade network functions to traditional cloud infrastructures. It provides a secure way to deploy mobile core and virtualized radio access networks (vRAN) network functions on-premises (far-edge, near-edge, core datacenters) or in Azure regions – delivering visibility into logging, monitoring, and alerting for infrastructure components and workloads.

Azure Operator Nexus builds on the functionality of its predecessor, the Azure Operator Distributed Services private preview, by integrating key Microsoft technologies such as Mariner Linux, Hybrid AKS, and Arc. Additionally, it leverages Microsoft services for security, lifecycle management, observability, DevOps, and automation. 


Azure Operator Nexus supports two deployment models: On-premises and Public Region. In the On-premises scenario, operators can purchase the hardware from Microsoft partners. In contrast, in the Public Region scenario, Microsoft provides the infrastructure and allows the Operator to consume the resources on demand.

The company also introduced the Azure Operator Nexus Ready program, which provides a comprehensive ecosystem of certified network functions (CNFs) for operators. The program employs the Azure Operator Service Manager, which offers a consistent and scalable deployment experience for CNFs and VNFs from multiple vendors. In addition, there is an Operator Nexus System Integrator (SI) Program, which includes SIs trained and certified to deliver horizontal- and vertical-Integration services to the operators.

Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president, Microsoft Azure Networking, outlined in a Microsoft Tech Community blog post the benefits of deploying Azure Operator Nexus:

  • Lower overall TCO  
  • Greater operations efficiency and resiliency through AI and automation 
  • Improved security for highly-distributed, software-based networks 

Igal Elbaz, senior vice president, Network CTO, AT&T, said in an Azure blog post:

As a pioneer in network virtualization and SDN, AT&T is confident in our decision to run our multi-vendor 5G Standalone Mobile Core on Operator Nexus platform while we continue to deploy and operate the platform in AT&T data centers. AT&T made the decision to adopt Operator Nexus platform over time with expectation to lower total cost of ownership (TCO), leverage the power of AI to simplify operations, improve time to market, and focus on our core competency of building the world’s best 5G service.

Lastly, Azure Operator Nexus's pricing is unavailable as Microsoft will not publish it during the public preview. More information on the platform is available on the documentation landing page.

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