Cloud-native Network Functions

The journey toward virtualizing telco applications began in 2012 when the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) formed the Industry Specifications Group (ISG) and published a white paper on Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). Vendors started decoupling hardware from telco software as the first step toward virtualizing workloads in the telco cloud. Most Physical Network Functions (PNFs) were converted to Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs) using Virtual Machines (VMs). Recently, telcos have started deploying applications in containers as Containerized Network Functions or Cloud-Native Network Functions (CNFs).

Issues with Today’s Virtualization

The move toward Cloud-Native Network Functions finds its’ motivation in several issues with VM-based VNFs. A Virtualized Network Functions use of resources was inefficient due to the guest operating system and libraries in a VM occupying a large amount of memory and computing resources. VNFs are slow to start and stop (from seconds to minutes) because of the size and setup of the runtime environment, and they experience colossal overhead and duplication of the environment since each VM has its copy of the guest OS, libraries, and binaries. Since VM sizes are so large and monolithic, they require similar server environments wherever they are running, which adds additional effort to emulate the production environment in a lab.

Primary Needs for Tomorrow’s Telecom Network

Telecom networks are complex, and network functions' networking and connectivity, with the necessary resiliency and scalability (etc.), are too. Tomorrow’s telecom networks must be prepared to handle these complex tasks, so they must be fully virtualized so that complex network functions can be effectively deployed. Networks must be scalable to meet expected and changing demands and manage the expenditure related to those needed demands. Resiliency and reliability are essential for wireless services like connected vehicles and factory automation. A network must also be efficient, managing the lifecycles of network functions and appropriately sizing applications when thousands of deployments are necessary. The efficiency of network functionality reduces the cost of running the network. 

Solutions to the Needs of Tomorrow’s Telecom Network

To meet the needs of tomorrow’s telecom networks, functions must be both cloud-native and microservice-based. The design of a network’s operations must be native to deployment in the cloud, whether the cloud is private, public, or hybrid. Applications should be lightweight and agile to deploy and manage. Microservices are lightweight, loosely coupled, and decomposed from monolithic applications, offering the agility network functions need for next-generation networks.

Container Orchestration with Kubernetes


Kubernetes is one of the most popular open-source orchestrators for managing Containerized or Cloud-Native Network Functions (CNFs). As a mature container orchestrator, Kubernetes provides a vast array of capabilities:

  • Scheduling: Containers may be scheduled across multiple nodes (i.e., a cluster).
  • Scaling: Containers may be horizontally scaled to provide extra capacity when needed. Both manual and automatic scaling is provided.
  • Self-Healing: Kubernetes enables the replication of apps and guarantees the number of replicas to be running at any time by recreating failed instances.
  • Load Balancing: Kubernetes enables internal or external load balancers among application instances.
  • Rolling Updates: Kubernetes provides a means to add updates with zero downtime by incrementally updating pod instances with new ones.


About Vara Prasad Karamchedu ("KV")

Vara Prasad Karamchedu (known as “KV”) joined Award Solutions in 2011, bringing his extensive global telecom industry expertise in transmission, switching, packet-switched data networks, and cellular wireless systems. 

KV delivers technical training in Network Virtualization (Cloud, OpenStack, NFV, and SDN), LTE/5G RAN, 5G Core, IMS/VoLTE, interworking, and roaming. He provides consulting services in virtualized packet core design, deployment, Kubernetes, cloud computing, and cloud-native network functions.

KV received his bachelor’s degree with first-class Honors in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Osmania University, India, and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Bath, City of Bath, United Kingdom. He is a certified PRINCE2 practitioner and a certified Six Sigma quality engineer. KV is also a Chartered Manager, Fellow of Chartered Management Institute of U.K (FCMI), and Member of the Institute of Engineering & Technology (MIET).


About Award Solutions, Inc.

Award Solutions is the trusted training partner to the world's best networks. We help companies tackle new technologies by equipping their teams with knowledge and skills. Award Solutions invests heavily in technology, research, engineering, and labs to ensure our customers make the most of their resource and network investments.

Award’s expertise extends across many technologies including 5G/LTE Access 5G/4G Core, VoNR/VoLTE, Transport Networks, Telco Cloud, Virtualization and Orchestration, Data Automation, and more.