We are thrilled to announce that Rakuten Symphony, Inc., and CIQ are supporting open source Rocky Linux to deliver a real-time high-performance operating system for Distributed Unit (DU) radio processing software.

Rakuten Symphony is reimagining telecom, changing supply chain norms, and disrupting outmoded thinking that threatens the industry’s pursuit of rapid innovation and growth. Based on proven, modern infrastructure practices, its open interface platforms make it possible to launch and operate advanced mobile services in a fraction of the time and cost of conventional approaches, with no compromise to network quality or security.

In modern telecom networks, DU deployment results in a large number of sites that today require individual operating system licenses and support. This does not economically scale. In addition, the high-performance requirements demanded by the radio processing workloads for 5G and Open RAN mean generic operating system solutions are not applicable. This is true for any latency-sensitive workloads running at the edge in any industry.

Since Rocky, like its predecessor CentOS, is 100% RHEL compatible, it’s a perfect fit for 5G deployments. Open source software and communities driving open development are critical for the success of the architectures 5G operators rely on, like Open RAN. The industry needs an open, real-time Linux operating system, and Rocky Linux has filled that vacuum.

That’s why Rakuten Symphony chose Rocky Linux. Rocky Linux is proven ready for the Rakuten Mobile network in Japan and is available as part of Rakuten Symphony deliverables to its customers. In addition, Rocky Linux is foundational in the planned deployment of 30,000 units of Symware™ in Rakuten Mobile and contributes to the projected 50% cost savings. Rakuten Symphony will establish a dedicated team within its cloud business unit focused on Rocky Linux distribution and is also working closely with a broad spectrum of third-party vendors and technology partners within the telecom industry to make Rocky Linux the standard operating system for running large networks.

“Open source communities encourage innovation through collaboration. Without them, many of the technologies we take for granted today would never have developed, or would be locked away behind patent law. Deployment of Rocky Linux represents a return to true open-source principles powered by open communities,” said Tareq Amin, CEO of Rakuten Mobile and Rakuten Symphony.

“We’ve successfully validated Rocky Linux with our radio software in the Rakuten Mobile network in Japan. The open source performance is clearly at parity with commercial alternatives available in the market today,” says Ryota Mibu, Cloud Platform Division Manager, Rakuten Mobile. “We have implemented the required enhanced platform awareness for radio software operation by applying advanced techniques and tools such as CPU pinning, SR-IOV, DPDK/PMD, link aggregation and source-based routing.” 

The high performance also improves cost efficiency when deployed at scale. The deployment of highly latency-sensitive and performance-oriented workloads such as DU requires a fine-grained allocation of compute, network, and memory resources, which is accomplished through Rocky Linux’s real-time OS kernel, with orchestration done via the Rakuten Symphony Symworld™ Cloud Platform.

Together, we are bringing open source and open community to Open RAN deployments with Rocky Linux. We are working closely together to drive the return to true open community-source principles, enabling edge cloud to be deployed supporting very large radio network deployments with an economic model that works at that scale. We’re thrilled that real-time Rocky Linux OS is validated on the Rakuten Mobile network in Japan and is available through Rakuten Symphony commercial deliveries. We can’t wait to see what’s next with Rakuten Symphony and CIQ.

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