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Jun 25 2015

We declare the road to merged IT and telco cloud now open!

This blog is by Henri Tervonen, VP Mobile Broadband Architecture Nokia NetworksTwitter: @HenrijtHenri

The Nokia AirFrame Data Center Solution has everyone talking...

June 1, 2015 was a pivotal day for Nokia. That’s when we unveiled a new direction for the company to 20 reporters and 24 industry analysts with the launch of a ground-breaking telco cloud solution called Nokia AirFrame Data Center. I was certainly glad to be there at what was probably the most important product launch this year.

Even more satisfying is that we’ve captured considerable operator interest and received many favorable comments from this knowledgeable audience. For example, Elisabeth Rainge, Research Vice President, CSP Operations at IDC, is quoted on Reuters as saying:

“Nokia’s announcement shows an openness that is distinct from similar approaches by Ericsson, HP and others.”

So what was it all about? And what is Elisabeth referring to when she says the Nokia approach is “distinct”?

...about agility

To answer that, we need to go back a few steps. One of the main reasons for operators to adopt cloud technology is agility. For example, they need to be able to switch on new services in minutes rather than months, test them - and if they don’t hit their objectives, to take them down just as quickly and at minimal cost. Scalability is another cloud benefit.

To gain these benefits, operators have had to deploy centralized data center architecture based on existing cloud technology from the IT world. But there’s a problem here because telco networks have some very stringent requirements that the IT sector doesn’t have to worry about too much: principally low latency and high capacity.

The traditional centralized architecture approach cannot meet these requirements. Instead the telco domain demands a mixed architecture with both centralized and distributed capabilities. Processing and other resources can be placed at the network edge, close to subscribers. This eliminates the need to haul enormous amounts of data over the network for it to be processed in a centralized data center, allowing the telco cloud to achieve the responsiveness required.

...about a common solution for centralized and distributed architectures

And that’s exactly what our Nokia AirFrame Data Center Solution does by offering a common solution for both centralized and distributed architectures. The centralized architecture is best suited to core network workloads such as Operations Support Systems (OSSs), radio controllers and Customer Experience Management (CEM) deployments, something we already offer. A distributed architecture is better for evolving radio to the cloud and supporting the next generation of radio access technologies being developed for 5G.

...about real-time optimizations

But that’s just the start. Nokia AirFrame Data Center incorporates a range of acceleration techniques such as intelligent network interface cards, acceleration cards and System on a Chip (SOC) to offload the main processor, as well as telco-specific technology such as radio baseband acceleration. Having control of the cloud infrastructure allows us to apply real-time optimizations that are absolutely critical to the performance of telco-based applications. For example, we can reduce round-trip time between cloud-based virtualized network functions (VNFs) and significantly increase throughput utilizing a software-based optimized vSwitch.

There is also a clear roadmap for improving the solution’s performance even further with Open Compute Project (OCP) technology and ARM-based processors.

...and security and openness

Underpinning the solution are Nokia’s valued commitment to security and openness. Security is assured via AirFrame’s integration with Nokia Security Director and through comprehensive testing in the Nokia Security Center in Berlin.

Adherence to open standards provides operators with the widest choice of telco cloud deployments and helps them avoid vendor lock-in. Examples include the Open Platform for Network Functions Virtualization (OPNFV) and the ETSI NFV initiative.

Finally, to help operators make the transition to telco cloud as smooth and effective as possible, we offer a range of expert services under our Nokia cloud wise umbrella. These encompass the full cloud project lifecycle: from initial consultancy to data center design and build, all the way to management and operations.

It’s clear that the IT and telco worlds are converging. Not only does the Nokia AirFrame Data Center Solution deliver the ultra-high performance needed for telco, but it also runs IT workloads with supreme efficiency. And that opens the door for operators to benefit from one common, cost-effective, high-performance platform to run both their IT clouds and telco cloud operations.

Are you looking for the easiest and most efficient way to capitalize on the cloud? Contact your local Nokia representative and learn more about the Nokia AirFrame Data Center Solution.

Please share your thoughts on this topic by replying below and join the discussion with @nokianetworks on Twitter using #NetworksPerform #mobilebroadband #5G #LTE #innovation.

About Henri Tervonen

As CTO and Head of R&D Foundation, Henri is responsible for technology direction at Nokia Networks - leading and transforming the highly skilled software and hardware teams, who keep on delivering world-leading solutions in multiple technologies.

Follow Henri @HenrijtHenri