5G cloud- While making some advances in market share recently, Google has been struggling to catch up with the other major cloud services providers — AWS and Microsoft Azure — when it comes to cloud-based solutions for enterprise deployments. To advance its strategy, Google announced a partnership with Intel today (full disclosure: as an industry analyst, I work with many clients, including Intel). Google and Intel will offer 5G infrastructure cloud-based capabilities by developing reference architectures and integrated solutions for communications service providers (CSP) for core network functions and edge network solutions.
This is mission-critical for Google as it looks to expand its Google Cloud Platform into high growth areas like next-generation networks. 5G is rapidly moving to a cloud native architecture to enable many of its promised features and services, such as network slicing, IoT, quality of service, mobile edge, etc. These can only be offered by taking a software-enabled services approach. But Google is coming from a third place position in a three-cloud race generally, and even more so in networks.
Google’s success in this space could have major implications for general enterprise cloud deployments, as Google must build out scale in order to remain competitive. Working on 5G infrastructure could add large scale deployment to the platform and enable more investments for more generic enterprise services, as well as leverage critical services that the network infrastructure work will make available (e.g., analytics, security, microservices, etc.).
AWS and Microsoft Azure have already established positions in this new marketplace and built their own partnerships with CSPs. AWS is leading in this 5G area with multiple announced deployments. For example, AWS has a deal with AT&T to upgrade its core network using AWS cloud services. It’s also working with AT&T on edge systems using AWS Telegraph. Microsoft, seeing a potential competitive opening with Azure in the 5G arena, acquired Affirmed Networks last year. It offers 5G core network services and software components and has established a partnership with Verizon among others. But it’s still early in 5G’s network evolution, and the CSPs right now are exploring relationships with multiple parties to find the best solutions and leverage competitive forces for the best arrangement. Why this is so critical at this point to the cloud infrastructure providers is that relationships will likely carry on through 5G and into the next generation(s) as well.