Gruppo TIM
Gruppo TIM

La nostra visione ESG

ESG vision

Crediamo che la trasformazione digitale sia la chiave per lo sviluppo sociale ed economico del nostro Paese e per la tutela del nostro territorio. Approfondisci

“Journey to Cloud” is a transition aiming to migrate corporate assets to the cloud, enabling IT costs and greenhouse gas emissions decrease, business results improvement and innovation pace speed up.

TIM Group, supported by trusted partners, is highly engaged in this journey by migrating own and customers’ workloads and applications, building new data centers and rationalizing existing ones, enhancing agility and resilience, and maintaining highest security levels.

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Introduction and Context

Within EU (1), 42% of enterprises used cloud computing in 2021. Compared with 2020, cloud computing use increased by 6%.
Cloud computing use within Italy jumped from 23% in 2018 to almost 60% in 2021 (47% with high level dependence) while in Latin America, also due to Covid-19 pandemic, IT spending in cloud computing boosted (IDC expects growth of 43% for IaaS (2)). Companies are migrating their corporate assets (workloads (WLs) or managed services, etc.) to the cloud to lower IT costs (reduce TCO up to 60% (3)), decrease greenhouse gas emissions, maximize business results and speed up innovation pace.
Telcos are also part of this trend, with different adoption speed and involvement levels: worth to be noted is AT&T which is deploying its new 5G Core network to the cloud (4).
This position paper summarizes TIM Group’s current situation, a positioning proposal, and some matured guidelines collection.

Current Situation

Focus on TIM’s Group current situation for J2C is presented, both from cloud services/applications migration and datacenter (DC) availability perspectives. TIM relies on trusted partners (5) for its J2C. Since early 2020 strategic partnerships started with Google, Oracle and Microsoft Azure.
Nevertheless, TIM reserves the right to adopt other Hyperscale Cloud Provider (HCP) solutions as needed. Moreover, Noovle (Jan. ‘21) was created as new company within TIM Group to become a cloud enabler and Center of Excellence supporting Italian public and private companies’ digital transformation, leveraging a network of cutting-edge and sustainable Italian DCs. A stepwise migration path was adopted for J2C; first achievements were to move existing applications with “lift and shift” approach (6), enabling on-prem application decommissioning.
Regarding TIM in Italy, within the partnership with Google, a plan started in H1 20 to massively migrate workloads to Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
Migration is executed in collaboration with Noovle and addresses specific aspects such as:

  • infrastructure architecture evolution to improve services’ resilience;
  • Risk Analysis to address security requirements;
  • Greenhouse gas emissions savings;
  • Multi-Cloud openness.

Regarding TIM Brasil, strategy for WLs migration is:

  • IT application WLs (IT J2C) to public cloud; journey started stepwise utilizing Microsoft and Oracle available active regions near to TIM Brasil’s DCs (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro). Easiest WLs to be migrated with minimal adjustments were those of IT Applications, already running over a virtualized environment. Migration also includes Big data applications, based on GCP PaaS model.
  • Network function WLs (Net2Cloud) to hybrid cloud; journey is primarily focused on “cloud-ready” WLs (e.g., VAS, OSS), while for others, requiring strong SLA requirements or implemented on proprietary hardware/bare metal, preliminary studies are ongoing.

Concerning DC evolution, TIM Italy’s NFVI (Network Functions Virtualization Infrastructure) DCs a consolidated reality where virtualized network functions (e.g., mobile core, etc.) are deployed. For remaining Italian DCs, formerly hosting TIM’s Business and Consumer WLs as well as “IT” WLs (e.g., OSS), a reorganization plan, coordinated by Noovle, initiated to create six Hyperscale DCs (realizing two new Google regions) and decommission minor sites. Two first Milan region poles are ready; a third Milan region pole and Turin region’s poles are in roadmap for ‘22. Those DCs will also address TIM’s Business/Corporate Markets and Noovle’s direct market by realizing interconnected Hybrid PoPs.
TIM Brasil DC assets consist of dedicated DCs for Network (Core and Edge DCs), for IT and OSS. Figure 1 depicts distinct migration paths: IT workloads towards Public Cloud (HCPs or remote sites) based on a Multi Cloud strategy; network workloads towards Hybrid Cloud. Companies for N2C are to be intended as possible partners, while for J2C real partners are already chosen. Finally, J2C imposed to strengthen Security measures in respect of national regulations (e.g., Golden Power for Italy) to guarantee company data confidentiality and integrity (7), (8).

cap04-01 TIM Brasil J2C

Figure 1: TIM Brasil J2C migration strategy

click here to enlarge the image

Standard and Fora
Worldwide several national and international cloud computing standardization initiatives are ongoing. Hereafter a summary of main initiatives in which TIM is in volved is highlighted. International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) through Joint Technical Committee 1 (ISO/IEC JTC1) - SC38 (9), together with ITU-T, released two cornerstone International standards, Overview and vocabulary and Reference architecture to provide a cloud computing overview along with a set of terms and definitions. Within ETSI, ISG NFV became NFV’s reference standard initiative (10). NFV Release 4 contains the first normative specification on “Cloud-native VNFs and Container Infrastructure management”. BBF (Broadband Forum) has several projects defining access network infrastructure’s cloudification and virtualization, among which CloudCO (11), to enable cloudification of network functionalities usually located within Operator’s Central Office.
In TM Forum, the Transformation Project Framework (12) is working to support operators in Digital Transition with guidelines and assessment metrics.

Company Position and Guidelines

A focus on TIM Group’s position is presented and some guidelines are provided, to identify a common vision on the cloud journey.

 

Applications Evolution
Current WL migration plan continues with the objective for Italy reach completion by H1 23, and for Brasil to complete IT WL migration by H2 23. Guidelines for cloud services adoption and applications services engineering were set up and are progressively updated/made available to optimize cloud migrated applications’ TCO.

 

Application Design

TIM adheres to Cloud Native Applications (CNA) principles and architectures for applications development (13), amongst which the most relevant design criteria are:

  • package applications components in containers;
  • decouple architectural components;
  • allow easier stateless components’ management by isolating stateful ones;
  • use APIs to interconnect components minimizing dependencies from underlying technologies and to control interactions’ security.

 

Everything as code

Applications management adheres to the “everything as code” principle: high-level automation, formal documentation, infrastructure versioning and configuration, and repeatable deployment processes.

 

Performance
Within the telco context, J2C requires high attention on performance issues, e.g., applications migrated to cloud must not worsen customer experience. In this regard, main requirement to consider is “end-to-end latency” (i.e., time necessary for transmitting information over the network from a source to a destination) whose related guidelines are:

  • WLs not carrying high-sensitive latency requirements are primary candidates for migration to public cloud solutions;
  • where migration to hybrid cloud is considered convenient (e.g., for TCO reduction), same end-to-end latency as the one guaranteed by private cloud solutions must be granted to avoid customer experience worsening;
  • in presence of high-sensitive latency requirements, shift to hybrid and/or edge cloud solutions should be considered.

 

Cost control
Immediate resource consumption information, cost forecasts and budget alerts must be provided.

Network functions evolution

TIM Italy’s NFVI represents a well-suited private cloud environment, expanding its footprint and addressing most network functions’ requirements in different domains (e.g., radio access). Nevertheless, for functions with specific requirements such as high-intensive memory/storage usage, feasibility studies started to analyze hybrid cloud solutions. From a network evolution perspective, Figure 2 represents the Telco Cloud Continuum target scenario, which is composed by a hierarchy of TIM Edge points of presence from national peering down to the on-premises deployments in an Edge continuum. 

cap03-02 E2E Orchestration

Figure 2: TIM Italy’s Telco Cloud Continuum

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An automation solution will handle service requests, coordinate telco and service components, deploy cloud native infrastructure and guarantee scaling. TIM Brasil’s Net2Cloud project plans to migrate network functions’ WLs to hybrid cloud and OSS WLs to public cloud. The plan is to centralize all virtual environments to the public cloud by 2023. For those WLs to be deployed closer to end customers (e.g., related to user plane functions), TIM Brasil is evaluating to re-engineer and to deploy them on target remote sites. Net2Cloud is organized in four distinct migration waves, based on “cloud readiness” requirements; first waves are dedicated to already virtualized WLs (e.g., VAS), the latest to address harder virtualization and latency issues.

 

Security
From security perspective related to Italian policies, based on Prime Ministerial Decree - October 16th, 2017 (7) - and with reference to Classified Perimeter regulations, main general constraints to be considered in migrating a service to a cloud or in adopting cloud model for a new service are:

  • clear Security Organizations’ shared responsibility boundaries and cybersecurity events intervention optimizations;
  • functions and Sensitive Data processed by a Cloud Service Provider (CSP) must reside in Italy (or alternatively within the EU);
  • encryption Keys must preferably be located and managed within TIM and not within CSP;
  • strong Authentication mechanisms and event tracing must be ensured. Log management tools must be available;
  • CSP must send anomalous/suspicious events to TIM Security Operations Center, comply with TIM Audit Right contractual clauses, and own necessary security certifications.

 

Datacenter Evolution
On the Italian side, strategy is based on three main guidelines: building new DCs, rationalizing existing ones, increasing automation and efficiency:

  • consolidate new DCs to allow both WLs migration and new greenfield projects creation;
  • reduce DCs, free up space for new initiatives and decommission older equipment;
  • increase automation and system’s lifetime.

Figure 3 depicts cities in which Noovle DCs will be host ed by end ’22. Noovle’s objective is to become the only Public Cloud Provider enabled to deliver Google Cloud regions in Italy (100GE fiber connection) and offer Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery solutions, also thanks to a minimum distance of 100 km between the two regions. TIM Brasil’s strategy is to decommission its IT DCs (São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro) by H2 23 migrating all IT WLs to public cloud.

cap04-03 Noovle Data

Figure 3: Noovle’s Data Center Locations

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ESG
According to TIM Group's ESG objectives (e.g., greenhouse gas emissions reduction up to 90% (14)), following criteria are considered:

  • Green by Design: efficient space usage, energy consumption, energy usage from renewable sources, etc;
  • circular economy models: circular economy adoption for servers and equipment regeneration to increase their useful life;
  • Annual Impact Report: report obtained results and measure social and environmental impacts.

Managed and Professional Services Main guidelines on professional and managed services to assist TIM Group’s customers in their journey are:

  • provide Program/Project Management services;
  • offer professional services, from applications development to infrastructure migration to cloud;
  • provide managed operations “as a service”.

Conclusions

This position paper presents TIM Group’s J2C, focused on workload migration and DCs reorganization/modernization and provides a set of matured guidelines both for Italy and Brasil. The journey is well ahead and strategic, and it will become even more pervasive in the next future.
TIM Group actively pursues this strategic approach to improve value proposition for its customers.

Contributing Companies

Contributing companies to this article are: TIM, TIM Brasil, Noovle.

References

(1) Eurostat – Statistics Explained - Cloud computing - statistics on the use by enterprises - https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=Cloud_computing_-_statistics_on_the_use_by_enterprises#Use_of_cloud_computing:_highlights

(2) https://www.zdnet.com/article/pandemic-accelerates-cloud-adoption-in-latin-america/

(3) Google’s Economics estimates, https://cloud.google.com/pricing?hl=it

(4) AT&T to run its mobility network on Microsoft’s Azure for Operators cloud, delivering cost-efficient 5G services at scale, https://about.att.com/story/2021/att_microsoft_azure.html

(5) Boston Consulting Group “Financial Institutions Need to Pursue Their Own Path to the Cloud” https://www.bcg.com/publications/2021/strategies-for-financial-institutions-transitioning-to-the-cloud

(6) Boston Consulting Group, “Six Simple Steps Pave the Way to the Cloud”, Feb. 2019, https://www.bcg.com/publications/2019/six-simple-steps-pave-way-to-cloud

(7) http://www.astrid-online.it/static/upload/dpcm/dpcm-golden-power.pdf

(8) “Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados Pessoais (LGPD)” https://www.gov.br/cidadania/pt-br/acesso-ainformacao/lgpd and “Marco Civil da Internet”, https://www.lgpdbrasil.com.br/

(9) ISO/IEC, JTC 1/SC 38 “Cloud computing and distributed platforms”, https://www.iso.org/committee/601355.html

(10) ETSI, Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV), https://www.etsi.org/technologies/nfv

(11) Broadband Forum, CloudCO Projects, https://www.broadband-forum.org/projects/cloud

(12) TMF Forum Transformation project Framework (TPF): https://www.tmforum.org/resources/standard/gb1011-transformation-project-framework-tpf-v1-0-0/

(13) Microservice architectures (https://microservices.io/); the twelve factors (https://12factor.net/)

(14) “The Carbon Reduction Opportunity of Moving to Amazon Web Services”, 451 Research, Oct. 2019

Acronyms

AT&T: not an acronym (originally American Telephone & Telegraph)

API: Application Programming Interface

AWS: Amazon Web Services

BSS: Business Support System

CNA: Cloud Native Application

CSP: Cloud Service Provider

DC: Data Center

EU: European Union

ESG: Environmental, Social and Governance

GCP: Google Cloud Platform

GE: Gigabit Ethernet

HCP: Hyperscale Cloud Provider

IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service

IDC: International Data Corporation

IEC: International Electrotechnical Commission

ISO: International Organization for Standardization

IT: Information Technology

ITU-T: International Telecommunication Union – Telecommunication Standardization Sector

J2C: Journey to Cloud

N2C: Network to Cloud

NFV: Network Functions Virtualization

NFVI: Network Functions Virtualization Infrastructure

OCI: Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

OSS: Operation Support System

PaaS: Platform as a Service

PoP: Point of Presence

SLA: Service Level Agreement

TCO: Total Cost of Ownership

TPF: Transformation Project Framework

VAS: Value Added Service

WL: WorkLoad