Turkcell Embraces Digital Services Innovation with Unified Telco Cloud on Red Hat

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Red Hat, Inc, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Turkcell has built a centralized virtualization infrastructure (NFVi), named its Unified Telco Cloud, on Red Hat OpenStack Platform to unify its services on a single cloud, supported by Red Hat Ceph Storage.

With this open foundation, Turkcell can implement its choice of virtual network functions (VNFs) faster and is able to more flexibly scale resources as needed, enabling the provider to more quickly modernize existing services and roll out new ones as demand requires. This newfound agility can help Turkcell spur innovation to gain a greater competitive edge and deliver a better quality of experience to customers.

With more than 35 million subscribers and 99 percent population coverage in Turkey, Turkcell is a leading mobile operator in Turkey and the surrounding region. At the heart of the service provider’s ambitions for global growth is its digital services and software-defined operational models, as it looks to respond more quickly to dynamic customer demands. Moving away from a hardware-oriented vendor-dependent architecture, Turkcell set out plans in 2016 to have 40 percent of its services virtualized and running on a flexible cloud infrastructure by the end of 2019.

As its cloud foundation, Turkcell chose Red Hat OpenStack Platform, Red Hat’s carrier-grade distribution of the open source, massively-scalable infrastructure framework for building hybrid clouds, supported by Red Hat Ceph Storage, an open, software-defined storage technology designed for object storage and cloud infrastructure. Turkcell sought to take advantage of open source community innovation bolstered by the greater stability, reliability, security and support of an enterprise platform. Having used Red Hat Enterprise Linux for more than a decade to power its mission-critical systems, Turkcell looked to Red Hat again as a trusted partner. Red Hat’s commitment to an upstream-first development methodology and its certified partner ecosystem helps enable interoperability across vendor technologies and speed the VNF onboarding process to its telco cloud.

Red Hat Consulting helped Turkcell design its Unified Telco Cloud and train up its network team, in collaboration with Affirmed Networks, a leader in virtualized mobile networks – in the role of main systems integrator. The service provider’s strategy was to prioritize virtualization of its GiLAN services, being an area of market differentiation and monetization, followed by key areas where the company is investing in network upgrades and areas where it sees the opportunity to deploy new services more rapidly. After a period of planning and testing, the platform started supporting live VNFs in the last six months. When acquiring new VNF solutions, Turkcell is now able to begin the testing phase in as little as one to three weeks compared with the typical time of three months or more with its legacy stack.

Turkcell states it has now virtualized 18 percent of its overall data and voice services capacity on its telco cloud and is on target for its three-year goal of 40 percent. Live VNFs include PCRF and AAA for policy and charging, Data Optimization for differentiated quality of experience for customers, DPI for traffic management and enhanced VAS (value-added services), IMS and RCS for next-generation voice services and CG-NAT for IP address management, from multiple vendors. Turkcell is able to deliver workloads of more than 1.8 terabits per second (Tbps) of traffic and is currently carrying near to 1 Tbps of live traffic from customers across the region.

Darrell Jordan-Smith, vice president, Communications Service Providers, Red Hat, said, “With the competitive landscape of the telecommunications industry rapidly evolving around us, Turkcell is impressive in its push to become a leader in digital services innovation, already demonstrating this drive with the likes of its instant messaging, video streaming and personal storage offerings and we’re proud to collaborate with Turkcell to help execute its unified telco cloud strategy. With an open foundation powered by Red Hat’s hybrid cloud technologies, Turkcell can more freely and more quickly establish solutions from its choice of suppliers while gaining greater flexibility and portability to dynamically re-deploy services in different environments, a key need with 5G speeds expected to increase data management requirements at the network’s edge.”

Gediz Sezgin, CTO, Turkcell, explained, “Our goal is to remake Turkcell as a digital services provider, and our business ambitions are global. While planning for upcoming 5G and edge computing evolution in our network, we need to increase vendor independence and horizontal scalability to help maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of our CAPEX investment. With the Unified Telco Cloud, we want to lower the barrier to entry of our own network to make it a breeding ground for innovation and competition. In parallel, we want to unify infrastructure and decrease operational costs. Red Hat seemed a natural choice of partner given its leadership in the OpenStack community, its interoperability and collaboration with the vendor ecosystem and its business transformation work with other operators. With Red Hat OpenStack Platform underpinning our Unified Telco Cloud, I can welcome my team, and our suppliers, to test and deploy services more easily. As a business, we can more quickly turn ideas into new experiences for customers.”


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