BARCELONA, Spain — VMware sees a “great opportunity to participate in an enormous market” that is the telecommunications service provider space, said VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at an MWC press conference on Tuesday.
“We have about 60 service providers that use VMware technology to build their telco cloud,” he said, citing Vodafone as “the best example” but adding that operators around the world including NTT, Singtel, and AT&T also use VMware technology.
Vodafone started using VMware’s NFV platform in 2017. At the time, Gelsinger called it “our largest-ever telco deal.” Today he said: “We have great momentum with Vodafone as they are using our technology and scale more than others.”
VMware just this week announced a deal with AT&T under which the operator will integrate VMware’s VeloCloud SD-WAN with its 5G network. And last week VMware announced a deal with Ericsson that will allow service providers to deploy Ericsson’s virtualized network functions (VNFs) on VMware’s software-defined infrastructure.
As operators start to roll out 5G networks, “the opportunity for VMware inside of that is to help build a telco cloud, build an infrastructure that enables those services to be offered, and also on top of that build some new offerings like our VeloCloud wide area network announced with AT&T, integrating SD-WAN,” Gelsinger said. “Overall it’s a very good time for us and we see Mobile World Congress as a great way to be taking that next step into the 5G world.”
In addition to its NFV platform and SD-WAN, Gelsinger said VMware’s edge, IoT, and device management portfolios are core to the company’s service provider strategy. Security plays a crucial role as well, especially in a 5G world, he said. “We expect to see a much more dramatic range of applications across the 5G network, and we believe security will become more important in a 5G world,” Gelsinger said. “Intrinsic security” — essentially building security into the network — will become increasingly vital, he added. This involves technologies like microsegmentation and machine learning to monitor application and user behavior. “You don’t add those things on — they are built in,” Gelsinger said. “And we believe that this is the model that has to be followed to build security going forward. We have to build it into the infrastructure itself.”