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InfoQ Homepage News Microsoft Announces General Availability for Its Telco Offering Azure Operator Nexus

Microsoft Announces General Availability for Its Telco Offering Azure Operator Nexus

Operator Nexus is a platform that supports various partner virtualized and containerized network functions while automating lifecycle management for infrastructure and tenant workloads. It integrates compute, network, and storage and offers self-service capabilities through the Azure portal, CLI, SDKs, and other tools.

Earlier, the company released a public review of the platform at the MWC Barcelona and has since incorporated additional features based on customer feedback. With the GA release, the platform now includes Network Fabric Automation (NFA) to help build and operate networks, Network Packet Broker (NBP) for traffic monitoring, enhanced Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) to improve resilience and manage performance, and Azure Lockbox, for data access.

Furthermore, for observability, the platform natively integrates with Azure Monitor allowing operators to send data to Azure Operator Insights, Log Analytics workspace, or Azure Data Explorer (ADX) cluster, with options for low-cost ADX usage and data retention in a storage account for compliance purposes.

Operator Nexus leverages curated and certified hardware comprised of commercially available off-the-shelf servers, network switches, and storage arrays. The infrastructure is deployed in the operator's on-premises data center, and the service that manages the Operator Nexus infrastructure is hosted in Azure. Moreover, operators can choose an Azure region that supports Operator Nexus for any on-premises Operator Nexus instance.

A diagram illustrating the architecture of the Operator Nexus service (Source: Microsoft Learn)

Microsoft collaborates with partners like AT&T, Ericsson, Nokia, Amdocs, and Hewlett Packard for Azure Operator Nexus-based solutions. A VP of product & portfolio management, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, said in an Azure blog post on the GA release of Operator Nexus:

We look forward to building on our support of Operator Nexus with the onboarding of HPE’s network functions in order to give operators the opportunity to drive their next generation of core networks.

In the future, Microsoft plans to release a smaller form factor deployment of Operator Nexus and expand the Operator Nexus Ready ecosystem to include additional network function providers and new containerized and virtualized network functions.

Alongside Microsoft, AWS and Google Cloud also offer services for telecom operators. AWS for Telecom is a suite of services and solutions designed to help telecom operators digitize industries, transform their operations, and reimagine the consumer experience. At the same time, Google offers a range of services and solutions for telecom operators under the umbrella of Google Cloud for Telecommunications.

Lastly, more details on Azure Operator Nexus are available on the documentation landing page. In addition, the pricing details, not available during the preview, are still not publicly available; customers must contact an account representative according to the website.

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