Cisco says its new Ultra platform, being announced today at Mobile World Congress, is already being used by Deutsche Telekom to create a multicountry mobile cloud and by SK Telecom to provision new services automatically.
The Cisco Ultra Services Platform is Cisco’s bid at helping mobile operators provide network-as-a-service — the creation of on-the-fly connections. Vendors are targeting the concept at the enterprise, where mobile users and remote branch offices need access to services and data. If that data is in the cloud, then it’s possible for both sides of the connection to be in unpredictable locations.
“Ultra is one example of us bringing together cloud, virtualization, and SDN,” says David Yates, a director of marketing in Cisco’s service provider mobility unit. “It works on our NFV infrastructure. It can create new applications all the way through to the core. We’re making the operator network a lot more DevOps-friendly.”
Ultra applies software-defined networking (SDN) to separate the control and user planes so that user-plane functionality can be distributed close to the RAN. That allows data to shortcut to the Internet, saving 30 to 50 percent of backhaul costs, according to Cisco.
Ultra also employs Cisco’s NFV infrastructure and orchestration and its virtual evolved packet core (vEPC) technology, and it can onboard any of the virtual applications in Cisco’s virtual network functions (VNF) portfolio as well as third-party applications.
Ultra also involves Cisco’s Evolved Services Platform (an orchestration and automation platform) with VNFs for wired networks. “The Ultra Services Platform is not limited to mobile,” says Kelly Ahuja, SVP of Cisco’s service provider business.