Press Release

Rakuten Symphony and CIQ Bring Back Open Source and Open Community to Open RAN Deployments with CentOS Successor, Rocky Linux

October 26, 2022
  • Rakuten Symphony and CIQ are jointly driving the return to true open community principles enabling edge cloud to be deployed supporting very large radio network deployments with an economic model that works at that scale.
  • Rakuten Symphony and CIQ announce the support of open-source Rocky Linux to deliver real-time high-performance operating system for Distributed Unit (DU) radio processing software.
  • Real-time Rocky Linux OS is validated on the Rakuten Mobile network in Japan and is available through Rakuten Symphony commercial deliveries.

TOKYO, OCTOBER 26, 2022 - Rakuten Symphony, Inc. and CIQ, Inc. today announced the availability and support of the Rocky Linux operating system for handling demanding radio signal processing software workloads.

“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.

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

The focus on high performance also improves cost-efficiency when deployed at such 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.

“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.”

Gregory Kurtzer, who founded Rocky Linux and is also the founder and CEO of CIQ said, “Rocky is the trusted successor to CentOS, which was immensely popular across the ecosystem including telecoms. Rocky is 100% compatible with RHEL and is continuing with the open source promise that CentOS has left behind. It is a perfect alternative in all parts of the telecom business. We have been collaborating with the telecom community to ensure it meets both the real-time performance and economic needs of large disaggregated and open telecom 5G+ network deployments going forward. The Rakuten team has been a great partner with CIQ, and we’re all excited for the success Rakuten Symphony has achieved with Rocky Linux.”

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.

"As a security and compliance lead for Rocky Linux/RESF, it's been my goal to ensure that we maintain a secure, transparent and reliable enterprise Linux solution for the community," said Scott Shinn, CTO of Atomicorp and a Rocky Linux community member and team lead. Shinn is also project manager of the open source intrusion detection system OSSEC HIDS. "This includes surpassing the requirements to conform to many industry standards (PCI-DSS, NIST-800-53/171, NERC/CIP, HIPAA, etc.) and supply chain assurance for the entire SBOM and making sure that these are always openly available to the entire open source Rocky community. This is very exciting for telecoms who have largely distributed resources from core to edge powering their 4G and 5G radio networks. For this reason, we are very excited to have Rakuten joining and sponsoring the Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation (RESF) to ensure that Rocky Linux is always a leading solution for all telecoms." 

Amin also commented, “Rakuten Symphony’s center of design centers on simplification and removal of unnecessary cost and complexity. This applies equally to architectures, technologies, and cost structures. With the modern cloud based architectural changes now being introduced into telecom for the first time, this is the opportunity to think differently and solve problems in new ways given our large scale and performance needs.”

Rocky Linux is an open-source operating system designed to be bug-for-bug compatible with Red Hat® Enterprise Linux®. Rocky Linux was founded by the original founder of CentOS, Gregory Kurtzer, to provide a freely available and community-maintained version of the Enterprise Linux standard. CIQ, Inc. is the founding sponsor and partner of the Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation and Rocky Linux and also offers a support and services solution around Rocky Linux.

Rakuten joined the Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation in October 2022 as part of the collaboration on Rocky Linux.

CentOS, Red Hat, Red Hat Enterprise Linux are trademarks of Red Hat, Inc.

Linux trademark is owned by Linus Torvalds in the U.S. and other countries.

Symworld, Symware are trademarks or registered trademarks of Rakuten Group companies in Singapore and other countries and regions.

About Rakuten Symphony

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. Rakuten Symphony has headquarters in Japan and local presence in the United States, Singapore, India, Europe and the Middle East Africa region. For more information, visit:

About CIQ

CIQ powers the next generation of software infrastructure, leveraging capabilities from enterprise, cloud, hyperscale and HPC. From the base operating system, through containers, orchestration, provisioning, computing and up to cloud applications, CIQ works with every part of the technology stack to drive solutions for customers and communities with stable, scalable, secure production environments. CIQ is the founding support and services partner of Rocky Linux, and the creator of the next generation federated computing stack. For more information, please visit

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