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5G and edge computing accelerating virtualization

Virtualization investments also require network management investments

With 5G expected to see more widespread commercialization in 2019 and beyond, operators can expect more flexibility in managing resources and offering up new services quickly, while users will see higher speeds, lower latencies and an accelerated proliferation of internet of things devices. But to keep a handle on this new level of network and application complexity, there’s an attendant need for virtualization of network infrastructure.

“What we’re seeing is a push from our customers to us, telling us they’re going to be putting up 5G in a virtual state,” Heather Broughton, director of marketing for Netscout, told RCR Wireless News in an interview. “5G is pushing virtual faster, so we’re looking at the core and the data center and seeing some pieces of that go virtual.”

For Netscout, which specializes in application and network performance management, that means working with virtualization vendors and enterprise and telco customers to provide a set of tools that can be applied to any type of cloud environment and any combination of physical and virtual infrastructure. “We’re there for our customers,” Broughton said. “It doesn’t matter what they’re picking.”

To the edge piece, the space is relatively nascent but there’s consensus that 5G-enabled, low-latency applications will require a migration of computing power out closer to the end user. Given that this is largely a greenfield exercise, “Everything is going to go virtual,” Netscout’s John English, product line manager, said.

Regardless of where network traffic is generated, Broughton said Netscout can provide granular data that gives network operators actionable insighst. “What really is key to us is we’re looking at the whole service from an end-to-end perspective. If any of those pieces are virtual, it doesn’t matter. We’re able to correlate that together.”

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