Distrito Telefónica. Innovation & Talent Hub

TACTILE5G: Innovating in 5G networks using Edge Computing, GitOps y Zero Touch Provisioning

Networks and Connectivity Quantum Computing

In the advanced area of Discovery - Future Network Labs, we are immersed in an exciting European project called TACTILE5G. This is an innovative project where various concepts and methodologies converge, all oriented towards 5G-based systems.

Our approach combines a Cloud Continuum architecture with GitOps and ZTP (Zero Touch Provisioning) methodologies. This combination provides a solid foundation for the development and operation of network elements, which can materialize into what we call "digital twins."

A digital twin is a software representation of real systems. These twins are used to simulate and review the behavior of systems before deploying them in real environments. This allows us to conduct tests, advanced simulations, predictive analysis, and data collection. From this data, we can extract valuable insights that drive the development of new technologies in 5G networks. 

Those digital twins are microservices running on Kubernetes, always following the widely used Cloud Native model in the industry. 

Within the framework of the TACTILE5G project, the digital twins will be deployed in various physical zones or regions, such as our Edge node or the AWS region. 

Hands holding a tablet

Hands holding a tablet

Digital Twin at the Edge:  
TAt Telefónica we have opted for AWS solutions to provide digital twins in customers' private data centers. An example of this is an AWS Outpost server already installed in the customer's data centers. This server allows the instantiation of AWS resources and their management through the AWS console. The digital twins running on the Outpost can communicate with systems running in the customer's data centers and with systems running in AWS regions, all of this with minimal latencies in communications.

Digital Twin in the Region:  
We are also working on deploying digital twins in the AWS Paris region for statistics and simulations. These digital twins are directly connected to other digital twins running at the Edge (AWS Outpost) and with services running in the customer's data centers.

A Highly Efficient Platform:  
The goal of our project was to provide a highly efficient and automated platform capable of responding quickly to the needs of digital twins. With this, we achieved offering Cluster as a Service and deploying digital twins in different environments, such as the Edge or an AWS region. All of this is managed under the umbrella of GitOps. 

GitOps is a model that focuses on declarative management of infrastructure and applications, using Git as the source of truth. This means that every component of the platform is declaratively described in files, and these files follow a versioning flow stored in Git repositories.

With this modeling, we take advantage of the platform's flexibility to analyze the behavior of digital twins depending on the zone where they are deployed, leveraging the low latency provided by having applications running directly at the Edge, for example.

The platform used a ZTP model. Platforms using this model are managed automatically, eliminating the need for manual procedures to provide service, and can be orchestrated from a single central point. This can be represented as follows. 

In the figure, you can see multiple Kubernetes clusters running digital twins in various zones, providing on-demand clusters and managed from a single central point (central DC). And all of this is declared in YAML format files with versioning and control of every change made to the platform. 



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