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The switch is on – bringing a new generation of data center fabrics to cloud builders everywhere


Recent global events have called into focus the critical importance of our networks and the power of a new generation of social and business applications that allow us to easily communicate with friends, family and work colleagues.

Having worked from home over the past several years, I’m already a dedicated user and strong advocate for web-based communications and collaboration. The success of the shift to working from home has been no surprise to me. But I also appreciate that without the rock-solid foundation of our global network and cloud infrastructure, this could have had a very different outcome.

Looking forward, we are now seeing indications that the shift to a more home-based work and play culture is here to stay. This will dictate further investment and evolution in how and where distributed content and applications for consumers and enterprises are located and managed in the cloud. Adding to this, increasing adoption of 5G-enabled industrial applications combined with analytics, machine learning and AI processing will also drive further volumes and complexity in server-to-server workflows in the data center environment.

This quickly evolving world puts increasing pressure on cloud builders including hyperscalers, content providers, inter-exchange carriers, telco cloud operators and enterprises. To keep up with this very rapid pace of change, network engineers must be able to customize and manage data center networks in their own way, with their own tools. Easily optimize, manage, monitor and troubleshoot the network. Simplify and automate day-to-day and more complex operational tasks. And be able to rely on a solid foundation of proven networking capabilities that can scale in a highly robust fashion to meet the most demanding requirements.

While existing data center networking solutions provide some of these capabilities, the biggest challenges we consistently hear from cloud builders include the desire for the freedom to innovate and adapt the network on their own terms and to their own timelines, and to improve the ease of overall integration and automation. To address these challenges, and to bring a whole new era of ‘NetOps’ to the table for cloud builders, we are extremely pleased to announce Nokia’s new Data Center Fabric solution. It has been designed from the ground up to deliver a true generational leap in openness and automation at scale over anything in the market today. 


At the heart of our offer is SR Linux, our new, totally open, extensible, and resilient network operating system (NOS) designed for the data center operational environment. SR Linux brings together a strong foundation based on a standard Linux® kernel, our proven SR OS routing capabilities, and a clean-slate model-driven architecture. On top of this foundation we provide an open and scalable telemetry framework and a unique NetOps Development Kit (NDK) that enables both native and 3rd party applications to run seamlessly, efficiently and reliably with full and equal access to underlying system resources. Nokia SR Linux is in effect the industry’s first fully open and flexible networking application development environment.

Supporting data center network operations at scale is also critical to keeping pace. For cloud builders who don’t have the resources in-house to build and maintain a bespoke management and operations environment, we are also introducing the Fabric Services Platform, a suite of tools that enable intent-drive automation and full lifecycle management for data center network fabrics. One of the super cool capabilities of the Fabric Services Platform is its support for a digital twin capability we call the digital sandbox, that creates a full replica of the network. New configurations and applications can be tested before they are deployed live, bringing a whole new level of confidence to cloud builders seeking to innovate and deploy quickly to keep pace with evolving application requirements.

And finally, leveraging our heritage in developing high performance networking equipment, we are also introducing a full suite of data center switching platforms to address the requirements of top of rack, leaf, spine and super-spine applications. We believe that the right silicon, system design, switching capacity and interface speeds are key foundational building blocks for modern data center fabrics.

Putting it all together – the Nokia data center fabric solution is a new approach - reimagined and rebuilt with a clean slate to enable cloud builders to create and operate data center fabrics at scale with confidence. Our passion is working with our customers globally, combining our knowledge and expertise to build massive scale, highly critical networks from access to core to data center. That’s why we are very excited to introduce the amazing capabilities of SR Linux and the Fabric Services Platform as the first true NetOps platform for cloud builders.

Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokiaindustries using #TheSwitchIsOn, #NetOps, #Datacenterfabric, #SROS

Heidi  Adams

About Heidi Adams

As head of IP/Optical Networks marketing at Nokia, Heidi leads a global team focused on promoting Nokia’s solutions in IP routing, optical networking and network automation. With over 20 years in the telecommunications industry in roles spanning R&D, PLM, marketing and industry analysis, she enjoys the challenge of making complex technology accessible to a broader audience.

Tweet me at @heidiadams99

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