Nokia Networks tries to shake up cloud market with AirFrame launch

Nokia Networks (NYSE:NOK) says its new data center solution is the first to combine the benefits of cloud computing technologies to meet the stringent requirements of the telco world.

The Nokia AirFrame Data Center Solution is 5G-ready and supports the vision of a more flexible and distributed cloud architecture, according to Nokia. AirFrame components include cloud servers and switches, as well as a suite of data center services.

Basically, it includes ultra-dense servers, switches and software-defined storage, but with additional innovations from Nokia that "we expect will make it perform better than what the competition has been able to provide so far," said Sandro Tavares, head of marketing, mobile core at Nokia, in an interview with FierceWirelessTech. "We believe we're the only ones with an offer that is really focused and tailored to perform better in the telco environment."

Nokia has been working with telco cloud solutions for quite a while but it does employ more IT engineers than it did, say, five years ago. "We have more IT skills in the company and we're also leveraging a lot of the telco skills that we have historically had," he said.

Telco is exposed to strict performance requirements, as well as regulatory requirements, while moving toward an IT-based architecture. "It is a different industry," he said.

In this space, Nokia competes with the usual suspects in the wireless vendor space, but it also is going up against other players from the enterprise IT world like Cisco, HP and Dell.

To be sure, the first movers in the telco cloud market were the Tier 1 wireless operators. "They're the ones who really have to get ready for growing capacity really fast and efficiently," and being prepared for the next challenges that will come in a few years with 5G and the Internet of Things, he said. But Tier 2 and 3 "always come along," and most all operators have cloud as part of their strategies.

Nokia says that AirFrame adheres to its open standards approach, and it's ready to support several Nokia virtual network functions (NFV), including its recently announced Radio Cloud architecture. While Nokia is happy to provide management, it is not a requirement. Operators can purchase the solution and manage it themselves.

With 5G, very low latency is a key component because it is believed that it will be designed to support things like vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications as well as healthcare-related things like remote monitoring of critical patients. Guaranteeing very low latency will be key for those types of applications.

Nokia Networks also said it has opened a dedicated R&D facility in Finland for data center technology development. "With this solid foundation, the Nokia AirFrame Data Center Solution brings what is needed to efficiently merge the IT and telco domains and pave the way towards 5G," Nokia said in a press release.

For more:
- see the release

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