Is Cloud Architecture important for Open RAN?

  • My friend: Hi Ibrahim, I have a question for you.

    • Me: Go ahead, please.
  • My friend: For Open RAN, should all network elements be cloudified? Or is it not necessary?

    • Me: Cloudification is a very important step in Open RAN, that’s why O-RAN Alliance established WG6 (Cloudification and Orchestration Workgroup). If you revised the O-RAN architecture, you could find the O-Cloud which is the Cloud platform that is used to host the Open RAN NFs (Network Functions) such as O-DU, O-CU, O-eNB, near-RT RIC, etc. All these NFs can be implemented over VMs, or containers based on the cloudification approach, but mostly will be containers over VMs or containers over bare metal.
  • My friend: But should O-RU be cloudified as well?

    • Me: NO, O-RU will be implemented as PNF (Physical Network Function) and won’t be cloudified. The below graph is showing the future state of Open RAN, and it was mentioned clearly inside the O-RAN Alliance documents, that O-RU cloudification is a future study item. And this is very logic as RAN Cloudification is still in its early stage, so we need to start first with the baseband virtualization, and when stable Cloud stacks are implemented, then we can think about O-RU Cloudification at the next stage.
  • My friend: But O-RAN Alliance is caring for open interfaces only, why cloudification is important here?

    • Me: O-RAN Alliance is caring for openness and open interfaces provides horizontal flexibility, while Cloudification helps in providing vertical flexibility. So, it is like a puzzle, where the MNOs can collect different parts of the solution from different vendors to build their network. The O-RAN Alliance seeks to improve RAN flexibility and deployment velocity, while at the same time reducing the CAPEX and OPEX through the adoption of cloud architectures.
  • My friend: Thank you very much, you made it very clear.

    • Me: You are most welcome.

LinkedIn: :point_down:


Thanks for sharing, tried a trick to rememeber names of all Work Groups (WGs) O-RAN has -

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