Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and the planned 5G service-based architecture will fundamentally transform network (NF) functionality. The network functions will implement more and more cloud native principles. For this purpose, off-line stateless functions are split off, while internal information about subscriber-specific session and registration states are outsourced to an external, cloud-based database. The network functions achieve much better scalability, elasticity and availability, and the network architecture is considerably simplified.
5G Core network architecture relies on service-based interfaces where network functions communicate with each other via REST/HTTP interfaces. The architecture separate the User Plane (UP) functions from the Control Plane (CP) functions, allowing independent scalability, evolution and flexible deployment scenarios. The dependencies between the Access Network (AN) and the Core Network (CN) are minimized. The architecture is defined with a converged core network with a common AN-CN interface which integrates different Access Types e.g. 3GPP access and non-3GPP access.
Based on the depicted 5G service-based architecture here one can recognize the role of database in the architecture.
The 5G architecture defines two types of data types:
- Subscriber-specific data
- Session or state specific data
The subscriber-specific data are stored in the User Data Repository (UDR) and can be accessed via the Nudr interface. UDR stores the data in a structured format and the data is shared with all (authorized) network functions. The required session or state data of the network functions are stored in an Unstructured Data Network Storage Function (UDSF) and can be accessed via the Nudsf interface. This data is network function and manufacturer specific.
Choosing an appropriate cloud database becomes essential to customer satisfaction as it becomes the foundation of all network capabilities and can significantly improve availability and operational costs. The new 5G architecture supports a new, cloud-native architecture of the network functions and defines the necessary components with well-defined interfaces. The data layer network functions, UDR and UDSF, enable so-called state-less applications whose development, lifecycle management and, above all, the availability, robustness and resilience of the core network is improved.
Since the existing core networks cannot be replaced and at least 2G and 4G must continue to be supported, it makes sense to combine the database requirements of the existing and the new 5G network in a so-called Network Data Layer.
The Network Data Layer offers three interfaces, the existing Ud interface (LDAP / SOAP) which supports subscriber data in 2G / 3G / 4G networks and the new 5G Nudr and Nudsf interfaces. The subscriber data can be shared via a common repository, which increases efficiency and data consistency within the providers network.
SilverEngine, with its longstanding experience, helps telecom companies to select the most appropriate databases, define implementation methods, and implement and deploy these technical solutions as well as cloud database and NVF providers to understand and comply with the requirements of an NSP-grade cloud database for the telecommunication industry.
Our approach for cloud databases
To realize a viable cloud database which supports stateless and cloud-native network capabilities, a comprehensive analysis of the current system architecture, data structures, and data distribution is recommended.
On the basis of the actual analysis, the target system architecture is defined and possible transformation and migration scenarios are evaluated. For the effective implementation of a cloud data architecture, a detailed step-by-step plan is defined together with the customer. During the implementation phase, SilverEngine also supports its customers and the change process.
Services tailored to different services provider
Improved customer service and thus, better customer experience
Higher speed-to-market of new services and applications
Increased customer loyalty
Improved performance an scalability as well as reduced OPEX
SilverEngine is one of the pioneers in implementing Unified Data Repositories (Subscriber Data Management - One-NDS). Right from the beginning, SilverEngine’s team has defined the requirements for cloud databases based on the planned 5G service-based architecture. SilverEngine has in-depth knowledge of the latest technologies and many years of experience in the implementation of scalable, highly available and above all robust data center architectures.
Essential is also SilverEngine’s outstanding know-how regarding concept, architecture and functional and non-functional requirements as defined in the white paper “A Network Data Layer (NDL) Concept for the Telco Industry” issued by ngmn – next generation mobile networks.
- Knowledge of telecommunication protocols, TCP / IP protocols and application protocols
- Knowledge related to cloud native IT architectures
- Virtualization technology
- Database knowledge (e.g. directories, SQL, no SQL)
- 3GPP Standards including 5G Core
- Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)
- Substantial experience in design and implementation of database solutions
- Extensive experience in implementing highly distributed and scalable data center architectures
- Experience in implementing concepts for robustness with a focus on end-user service
- Implementation of “big data” projects using Hadoop, Hbase, Hive or Storm
- Analysis of system architectures and enterprise modeling
- Management of software development projects
- Management and execution of acceptance tests, commissioning and operational support
- Software development
- Automation of repetitive tasks (operational procedures, automated testing…)