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The recent business disruptions worldwide resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the importance of sustaining the operation of global communications infrastructure despite unprecedented surges in traffic. AT&T, for example, observed that customer connections into its remote access VPN called SD-WAN Static Network Based (ANIRA) surged 700% due to the outbreak. However, AT&T noted that it was able to maintain network performance because of the platform’s cloud-based architecture.

As CSPs transform their networks to meet unpresidented future demands, many have concluded that real transformation efficiencies will only be gained from shared infrastructure, fine-grained component scalability and advanced automation, all of which require cloud native architectures in order to be fully realized. At the same time, traditional architectures based on VNFs hosted in Virtual Machines (VMs) will continue to be deployed; meaning that VNFs and CNFs will co-exist in a hybrid model for the foreseeable future. This guide provides an overview of the cloud native opportunity, the role of open source and Linux Foundation projects, and how to participate.