Nokia (NYSE:NOK) is trying to answer the call for open, non-proprietary software-driven solutions, combining Alcatel-Lucent's expertise with Nokia's, and by extension, making it easier for service providers to launch new services faster.
Nokia's new CloudBand software portfolio, which will be commercially available starting in July, enables service providers to mix and match vendors, including Nokia's competitors. According to Ron Haberman, VP of Nokia's CloudBand Business Unit, in so doing, Nokia is trying to take the best from both worlds. The "New Nokia" debuted just about one quarter ago when Alcatel-Lucent officially became part of Nokia.
"I think we made quite a bit of progress in putting together two quite mature offerings, but luckily, we focused on somewhat slightly different areas," Haberman told FierceWirelessTech. "We got quite a bit of benefit of putting the systems together, where for us, at New Nokia, because we care very much about the openness of the solution, not only do we now have well-delineated layering compatible with ETSI, but quite a bit more focus on open source in general."
Some of Nokia's partners include HP and Juniper, the same types of companies it also competes with. "We have a fairly rich ecosystem of partners," Haberman added. "Some of them compete with us at the VNF level… We have complete openness in the system."
Cloudband is evolving as a flexible, highly configurable OpenStack portfolio and it is designed to highlight Nokia's ability to meet service providers' needs in the NFV world where they can "pick and mix" multiple products.
Haberman makes a distinction between "open," where the expectation is you can mix and match components and run on hardware from third parties, and Nokia has conducted its fair share of public demos showing that.
To be truly "open source," on the other hand, "you need to have a community attached," he said. "It's not enough to simply take the code and publish it in a public repository to be considered open source, in my opinion." Nokia is involved in well-accepted open source projects, and moreover, "our approach is to contribute where we think we have a unique feature set" rather than keep it proprietary.
Despite a lot of talk about 5G, it's still a ways off, but Haberman said the CloudBand portfolio is very much designed to remain relevant as the industry determines exactly what 5G ends up bringing.
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