The real value of 5G and cloud computing

cloud computing

There’s a lot of hype around 5G and how it applies to technologies such as cloud. Together, they have the potential to reshape distributed, complex systems.
I did some reading during the end-of-year holidays and ran into this article by Peter Cohen covering 5G network automation use cases. Specifically, I was looking for use cases related to cloud computing. 

I’m taken aback by how much hype 5G receives. My posts about 5G always have the most hits. However, most improvements to network infrastructure seem to quickly fade into computing history, even if they work. Who remembers new versions of IEEE Wi-Fi standards, Internet routing protocols, or other related technologies before we move on to the next version? Why is 5G staying in the spotlight so long?


[ Also on InfoWorld: How to choose a cloud data warehouse ]

What I found interesting about Peter’s article is that he focuses on use cases around 5G, specifically around automation. He says, “Virtualized and cloud-native telecom infrastructure needs network automation to work at scale. Such staggering operational complexity can’t be managed without it. Cloud-native apps, or microservices, spin up and down almost instantly. Abstracted from the hardware it runs on, the cloud works on one server or thousands.” 

At the essence of cloud and 5G is that we can leverage cloud-based resources mixed with enterprise resources. Let’s face facts: We’re heading to an enterprise IT future of multicloud meets hybrid cloud meets edge computing meets complex and dynamic applications that run anywhere and everywhere. Thus, the future becomes less about the cloud and more about new and emerging ways to leverage all technology, cloud or not, that will be widely distributed and complex. 

The automation of 5G allows for the orchestration of systems in different network domains, be it your phone, desktop, TV, an enterprise server in a datacenter, or a public cloud provider. We’re quickly moving to not caring about where something runs but needing that something to migrate automatically to optimize how it runs and scales, cloud or no cloud. Also, this won’t happen unless we automate security and network provisioning as well. 

The bottom line is that 5G coupled with cloud computing (and other technologies, for that matter) can bring much more computing power to many more people and their companies. Just as cloud computing leveled the playing field for small upstarts, even giving them a disruptive advantage, the rise of 5G with cloud computing will further commoditize what it takes to start and run a business. 

Soon we’ll see business redefined as more of a concept with execution that may or may not have an office or a factory. We’ll see more billion-dollar-valued businesses that do not own or rent any real estate, and that includes private data centers. Companies will be completely virtualized in terms of how people are employed, how things are made, how things are sold, and how they account for all of it. This new way of doing business will not only become mainstream but will be a requirement for businesses that want to be disruptors rather than be disrupted. 

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