Emblasoft Evolver – active testing with “five 9s” availability for live networks
Ensuring the continual assurance of 5G services in an automated DevOps environment demands that testing solutions match the availability performance of the services being tested. That’s why Emblasoft Evolver provides – and has demonstrated - at least 99.999% availability for all automated, comprehensive test case scenarios.
The cloud-native, microservices-based 5G Core network offers previously unimagined potential for creating new services and use cases, but it also brings a huge step-change in complexity. In addition, a significantly diversified (vendor-agnostic) supply chain means that even minute changes or upgrades to services can have a significant impact throughout the service stack.
Unlike previous generations, there is no “5G killer app”, rather the network itself is the differentiator, as it enables the creation and launch of tailor-made services on the fly to meet the fluctuating demands of customers across different verticals each with unique performance requirements.
Automated CI/CD unlocks the value in 5G services
Innovation, agility, and speed to market will be key to optimising the business value 5G offers. It means that, on every level, automation will be key to unlocking the true potential of 5G, as services will need to be continually updated and refreshed.
The only way for CSPs to achieve this kind of agility and flexibility – with typical 5G software release cycles typically counted in days, rather than weeks or months – is to embrace automation-driven continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) as part of an over-reaching DevOps approach that automates the delivery, performance management and testing of service upgrades.
CI/CD offers a number of benefits, including:
- Improved reliability and efficiency, with the aim of “zero-touch” deployment and testing;
- Minimised risk through gradual, continuous upgrades – rather than large upgrade projects;
- Managing the complexity of micro-services upgrades with comprehensive automation; and,
- Service agility with shorter times to market and a readiness to launch new, diversified services quickly.
5G makes new demands on availability and reliability
The ultimate goal of CI/CD is to enable automated, repeatable, low-risk updates of all components and layers throughout the architecture stack. But, while CI/CD takes care of the creation and deployment of continual must meet a further essential requirement – high availability. Put simply, high availability allows CSPs and operators to provide services without disruption.
But 5G makes the concept of high availability more important than ever – poor QoE for the end-user is likely to result in a lost customer, while the mission-critical applications that 5G promises, such as Industry 4.0 and automated vehicles, demand even more stringent levels of availability and reliability.
Availability requirements are outlined in SLAs, which provide a quantifiable benchmark for both the availability of network services and “acceptable” downtime. “Five nines” (99.999% availability per year) is considered the “gold standard” of network availability, equating to around 6 minutes of downtime annually.
Interestingly, the 3GPP Release 16 5G Standard, completed in 2020, introduces new techniques to parts of the 5G system that offer six nines (99.9999%) availability – reducing annual downtime from just under 6 minutes to around 30 seconds.
Of course, ensuring that CSPs and operators can meet their SLAs requires active, on-going testing and validation. In turn, this means that any test solution must be able to match the operational performance of the service under test.
Emblasoft Evolver – matching the testing demands of 5G service availability and assurance
In the past, testing typically been a stop-start process with test cases being run for a specific period of time, after which results were collected and assessed, and any remedial action applied where required. However, automated solutions and services operating within a DevOps environment demand a different approach, because they must operate to the same levels of performance as the solutions they are to test. So, today’s testing solutions require active monitoring on an end-to-end basis and the same availability performance as the service being tested – otherwise, the test solution becomes the “weak link”.
Emblasoft Evolver provides active and continuous end-to-end testing and monitoring of Network Functions and other network entities, backed by at least 99.999% availability level, thus matching the same standards as the services being tested in a live 5G network. At the same time, Emblasoft’s active monitoring capabilities provide continuous assessment of service performance, alerting administrators to potential issues as they arise – and they’re proven in live networks, with results to back this up.
It means that Emblasoft Evolver can meet the toughest demands of today’s 5G cloud-native, automated environment, enabling CSPs and operators to assure their SLA-backed 5G propositions and build customer trust. To find out how Emblasoft Evolver provides the performance to match any 5G testing and validation requirement, contact us today.