VMware Telco Cloud Platform – RANTM | 3 MAR 2022

NOTE: This Release Notes does not provide the terms applicable to your license. Consult the VMware Product Guide and VMware End User License Agreement for the license metrics and other license terms applicable to your use of VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN.

Check for additions and updates to these release notes.

What's in the Release Notes

The release notes cover the following topics:

Release Overview

VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN Release 1.5 brings together various key features and enhancements across carrier-grade, RAN workload compute coupled with VMware Tanzu Basic for RAN, a telco-grade Kubernetes distribution, and multi-layer automation via VMware Telco Cloud Automation.

This release leverages the optimization done on the ESXi layer to allow ultra-low-latency applications perform better with reduced jitter and interference, specifically edge-based, real-time applications. Achieving latency values of less than 10 microseconds from the cyclic test indicates that RAN workload performance is equivalent on Bare Metal and vSphere. This release also allows the automation of Precision Timing Protocol (PTP) over Virtual Function (VF), allowing for the cost-effective and efficient use of the same Port used for timing to be used for other traffic.

Telco Cloud Platform RAN 1.5 allows the exposure of Mount Bryce accelerator functionality as a VF, so that multiple Distributed Units (DUs) can use these VFs for Forward Error Correction (FEC) offload. This release supports the automation of Cache Allocation Technology (CAT) at the ESXi layer to provide CAT support to RAN Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and enable them to deploy multiple DUs. This release also automates BIOS or Firmware configuration and the PCI functionality of ESXi hosts. 

What's New

Workload Compute Performance

VMware ESXi 7.0 Update 3c includes various features and enhancements. One of the key enhancements is as follows:  

  • Latency-sensitive Workload Optimizations: Allows ultra-low-latency applications to perform better with reduced jitter and interference, specifically edge-based, real-time applications. The ESXi 7.0 U3c release coupled with the new real-time Photon version 198-5 (or later) contains several optimizations to meet the latency requirements for RAN workloads. As part of this feature, a lot of periodic timers are removed from ESXi when running in low-latency mode and device interrupts are moved away from CPUs reserved for low-latency applications. To leverage this feature, enable low-latency mode and BIOS optimizations.

    Cyclictest, which uses a hardware-based timer to measure the platform latency and jitter, indicates that the latency on both vSphere 7.0 Update 3c and Bare Metal is less than 10 microseconds. A 10-microsecond latency is within the latency requirements of RAN workloads. With these improvements, RAN workload performance is equivalent on Bare Metal and vSphere.

    For more information, see the VMware ESXi Update 7.0 Update 3c Release Notes.

Carrier-Grade VNF and CNF Automation and Orchestration

VMware Telco Cloud Automation 2.0.1 introduces various new features and enhancements. This release also inherits features and enhancements from Telco Cloud Automation 2.0 and 1.9.5. Some of the key features and enhancements are as follows:

  • Platform Usability and Deployability
    • Platform Core Count Optimization: With earlier releases of VMware Telco Cloud Automation, the core overhead was two physical cores for ESXi and two physical cores for Photon and Kubernetes. Telco Cloud Automation 2.0.1 includes enhancements to the stack that reduces the minimum overhead to one physical core for ESXi and one physical core for Photon on a worker node VM.
    • Airgapped Model Support: Telco Cloud Automation provides Ansible scripts for bootstrap and configuration automation. VMware Telco Cloud Automation Deployment Guide includes a two-stage procedure to build an airgap server in an Internet-accessible lab and import the server to a fully isolated production environment. 
  • Infrastructure Automation
    • Tool for Patching ESXi-BIOS/Firmware Updates - Host Profiles: The Host Profiles feature automates BIOS or Firmware configuration and the PCI functionality of ESXi hosts. Host Profiles are associated with Infrastructure Automation domains such as CDC, RDC, or cell site groups, and applied to hosts as part of the overall provisioning.
    • Automation of PTP over Virtual Function (VF): Addresses the limitation of configuring PTP in Passthrough mode, which is cost-prohibitive as a full NIC port is dedicated to timing. With PTP over VF, the same Port is used for timing and other traffic. Telco Cloud Automation supports PTP over VF only for Intel E810 NICs.
    • Intel Mount Bryce Acceleration Card Support: VMware Telco Cloud Automation now supports Intel’s Mount Bryce driver. Mount Bryce Acceleration Card exposes accelerator functionality as a virtual function (VF) so that multiple DUs can use these VFs for Forward Error Correction (FEC) offload. FEC in the physical layer provides hardware acceleration by liberating compute resources for RAN (both CU & DU) workloads. The FEC acceleration device utilizes the SR-IOV feature of PCIe to support up to 16 VFs. VMware Telco Cloud Automation  automates the configuration of the VF so RAN ISVs can consume it.
    • Cache Allocation Technology (CAT) Support: Telco Cloud Automation addresses certain DU requirements through its CAT support. CAT support allocates resource capacity in the Last Level Cache (LLC) based on the class of service. This capability prevents a single DU from consuming all available resources. With CAT, the LLC can be divided between multiple DUs. Telco Cloud Automation automates the configuration at the ESXi layer to provide CAT support to RAN ISVs and enable them to deploy multiple DUs.
    • vSphere Container Storage Interface (CSI) Zoning Support: Allows operators to dynamically provision Persistent Volumes through vSphere CSI, even in a Tanzu Kubernetes cluster with no shared storage available.

      Note: To use the CSI multi-zoning feature in Telco Cloud Platform RAN, you must have vSAN configured at the central site (a different zone than the cell site). You might need to procure an additional license only at the central site to meet this dependency.

      For more information about all these Telco Cloud Automation features and enhancements, see the VMware Telco Cloud Automation 1.9.5 Release Notes, VMware Telco Cloud Automation 2.0 Release Notes, and VMware Telco Cloud Automation 2.0.1 Release Notes.

Carrier-Grade Kubernetes Infrastructure

VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid 1.4.2 introduces various features and enhancements. One of the key features is as follows: 

  • Support for Kubernetes versions:
    • 1.19.16
    • 1.20.14
    • 1.21.8

Components

Mandatory Add-On Components

Note: Additional license is required.

Support Resources

For additional support resources, see the VMware Telco Cloud Platform RAN documentation page.

Resolved Issues

  • Registration of Multiple Harbor Repositories with a Single VIM is Not Supported in Telco Cloud Automation

    This issue is fixed in Telco Cloud Automation 2.0.

  • When making a GET call after disabling vRealize Log Insight (vRLI), the default setting of vRLI is shown instead of disabled and vRLI is not overridden.

    This issue is fixed in Telco Cloud Automation 1.9.5.

  • IOMMU Faults Might Occur in Columbiaville NICs When Using vfio-pci for Binding to DPDK Devices

    This issue is fixed in Telco Cloud Platform RAN 1.5.

Known Issues

  • Some Pods Stay in Crash, Unknown, or Pending State After a Node Pool VM Restart

    After a node pool VM restart in Telco Cloud Automation 2.0, some Pods stay in the crash, unknown, or pending state.

    Workaround:

    1. Delete the Pod to let it restart.
    2. If Step 1 does not resolve the issue, recreate the worker node cluster.
  • Worker Node Cluster Creation Fails with an Error in Telco Cloud Automation

    The worker node cluster creation fails with the following error in Telco Cloud Automation:

    failed calling webhook "defaulter.vmconfig.acm.vmware.com"

    Workaround:

    1. On the management cluster, verify whether the vmconfig-operator pod is running.
    2. If the pod is terminated because it is running out of memory, increase the pod memory manually to 460 MB by using the following command:
      • kubectl edit deploy vmconfig-operator -n tca-system
  • New Host Profile Configuration Not Applied to the Host in Telco Cloud Automation

    When a user adds a new host profile, the host profile configuration may not get applied to the host. The re-sync operation also might not help apply the configuration to the host. In this issue, the hostconfig service is in stopped state and the hostprofile config is not synced even though the task is successful in the Telco Cloud Automation GUI.

    Workaround:

    1. Log in to Telco Cloud Automation-Control Plane.
    2. Start the hostconfig service manually by running the following command:
      • systemctl start hostconfig
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