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The Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance (NGMN) has announced its "Cloud Native Manifesto: An Operator View." This important overview outlines key requirements and principles for cloud-native telecom from the perspective of an operator. It also provides a clear picture of the industry's necessary focus in order to hasten the adoption of cloud-native solutions on mobile networks.

"Cloud native" refers to a way of designing and operating applications, network functions and services in an open and flexible environment. This enables operators to meet the needs of their customers, with the goal of delivering greater operational efficiency and a quicker time to market for new services.

Arash Ashouriha, Chairman of the NGMN Board and SVP Group Technology at Deutsche Telekom, said: "Given the strategic impact of the move towards cloud-native, the already experienced and foreseen implications of its adoption for operators, and the multiple options and paths provided by industry players, it is the belief of the NGMN Board that a clear position on cloud-native is required."

He added: "With this publication, written by the NGMN Board and invited operator experts, we provide that steering to the industry by outlining a clear set of prioritized calls to action, which, once addressed, will drive the migration at scale towards cloud-native network workloads, for the benefit of the ecosystem and end-users."

Mauro Costa, NGMN Board Member and Director of Network Cloud and Continuous Delivery at Telia Company, added: "While the industry is embracing cloud native as a paradigm to boost efficiency and enhance flexibility for current and future networks, it is clear that several issues remain, which will hamper the objective to achieve scale deployment unless these are urgently, consistently and cohesively addressed through an industry-wide effort. In particular, together with the entire industry, we need to ensure that solutions can be truly cloud-native and multi-vendor and that we have the tools and processes in place to enable these."

The NGMN Board believes that all layers of network infrastructure, applications and services should adhere to the following cloud-native principles in order to achieve highly adaptable, sustainable and resilient networks in the future:

  1. Vertical monoliths should be replaced with decoupled infrastructure and application lifecycles.
  2. “API first” rather than manual provisioning of network resources.
  3. Declarative automation that is intent-based as opposed to imperative workflows.
  4. The advantages of GitOps principles over conventional network operating techniques.
  5. Domain-specific resource controllers versus unified Kubernetes (or comparable) resource usage patterns.
  6. Patterns of closed-loop unified Kubernetes (or similar) reconciliation over vendor-specific element management techniques.
  7. Interoperability through well-specified certification procedures rather than vendor-specific optimization.
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