Cloud computing has been one of the central technologies dramatically transforming the telecommunications industry. Communication Service Providers (CSPs) have worked together with Network Equipment Vendors (NEVs) to untether network applications and functionality from specialized proprietary hardware to Commercial-off-the-Shelf (COTS) commodity hardware. With NEVs integrating Virtual Network Functions (VNFs), Virtual Network Functions Managers (VNFMs), and Virtual Infrastructure Managers (VIMs) into the underlying hardware, CSP cloud architecture has traditionally been highly secure and well optimized with vertically-integrated products or components. While this telco cloud architecture has been tried and tested, the entrance of public cloud services geared for CSPs has changed the outlook and potential for architectural modularity and
service flexibility.

With the introduction of public cloud services that are based on pay-as-you-go
service models and modular lightweight applications called microservices, the options for CSP cloud architecture have expanded substantially. In this respect, CSPs can now leverage shared virtualized external storage, computing, and processing provided by a public cloud service provider at great speed and low costs. This has prompted some operators to reevaluate their business model and deliver their network services with a more flexible and modular infrastructure that taps into the public cloud. While some greenfield operators are showing what can be done with the public cloud, the option to move network workloads to the public cloud is not so clear-cut for brownfield operators.

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