Motorola Solutions introduces cloud-based P25 core as resiliency option
Motorola Solutions this week announced CirrusCentral Core, a P25 secondary-core offering that is hosted in the cloud and will be offered as a service to provide ASTRO 25 network operators with greater resiliency in the event that the primary core for an ASTRO 25 system is unavailable.
Scott Mottonen, senior vice president of product for Motorola Solutions, said that ASTRO 25 network operators desiring a P25 secondary core—or secondary “master site”—for their systems have had to build a physically redundant core that typically has to be located within the same jurisdiction.
But this approach can have some downsides, including the need to secure an appropriate location to hose the secondary site, significant upfront capital costs and maintenance responsibilities. In addition, there can be a lack of geodiversity in a smaller jurisdiction, meaning whatever event—natural or man-made—that caused the outage to the primary core might make such an “on-premise” secondary core also unavailable.
Mottonen said that Motorola Solutions has designed CirrusCentral Core to address these concerns while maintaining the same functionality as a physical secondary core located within the agency’s jurisdiction.
“This is just another option in the catalog of resiliency solutions that we offer to our customers for their ASTRO 25 LMR systems,” Mottonen said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “The idea here is that there’s a set of customers who either can’t or don’t want to deploy a physically separate core with their jurisdiction.”
CirrusCentral Core’s failover technology uses the same algorithms as a physical P25 core, but it is hosted in a secure government cloud, as is Motorola Solutions’ CirrusCentral Management platform, according to Mottonen.
“It is actually up to the site—the RF site, the radio site,” he said. “If it loses connectivity to the primary core, it switches over … the secondary core is ready all of the time.”
Mottonen said that a CirrusCentral Core would not be able to support communications with sites still connected to the primary core, which could impact how an agency would want to design its system and backup policies.
“In the case where you don’t have this solution and that one site loses its connection [to the primary core], it goes into site trunking. This is—I’ll say—the same,” Mottonen said. “The difference is if you lose the links to two sites or three sites or four sites. Those sites can still function as a unit on the secondary core.
“So, if you lose only a single site, the incremental benefit of this over site trunking is probably not that great. But if you lose more than one, then you gain [functionality by subscribing to CirrusCentral Core].”
CirrusCentral Core will be available for order beginning in December, Mottonen said.
Motorola Solutions is not yet releasing pricing for CirrusCentral Core, but the offering will be sold as a service with an annual fee, which includes maintenance of the system.
“Obviously, it’s a lower upfront cost,” Mottonen said. “The gateways that you install to connect to the cloud are something you buy up front, but then we manage them from that point forward—we manage the service, we manage the gateways, and we manage the security of the solution.
“Like CirrusCentral Management, this was built from the ground up to be cloud-native, using all of the latest practices around making sure that the solution is secure.”
CirrusCentral Core is the latest example of Motorola Solutions migrating the functionality of mission-critical systems to cloud-based platforms. While many public-safety users expressed skepticism of cloud-based solutions just a few years ago, that sentiment has changed noticeably during the past couple of years, particularly in the areas of network management and 911.
“We see a high level of interest in doing things like this—having a secondary core in the cloud—especially for those customers who have concluded, ‘Look, I’d love the resilience of a secondary core, but I just can’t make it fit today, using the dedicated on-premise option,’” Mottonen said. “There’s a pretty high degree of interest and a reasonable degree of acceptance around something like this being in the cloud.
“As cloud services pervade more of our lives, people get more comfortable with the technology and the resilience of the technology.”
Motorola Solutions’ introduction of CirrusCentral Core does not mean that the public-safety vendor has abandoned its more traditional offering of a physical secondary core, according to Mottonen.
“We haven’t dropped our offer for an on-premise core. If a customer wants an on-premise secondary core, it’s still available,” he said. “But for some customers, that’s just not the right answer, and we’ve got this CirrusCentral Core as an alternative.”