Nok-picky: Nokia partners with Google Cloud, AWS, and Azure

Nok-picky: Nokia partners with Google Cloud, AWS, and Azure
Ryan is an editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter: @Gadget_Ry

Nokia has announced a flurry of new partnerships with all three of the major cloud providers—Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Microsoft Azure.

The Finnish telecom giant’s partnership with Google Cloud will see the companies develop 5G solutions together which combine Nokia’s Radio Access Network (RAN), Open RAN, and Cloud RAN, with Google’s edge computing platform to deliver additional 5G monetisation opportunities for CSPs.

Bikash Koley, VP, Google Global Network and Head of Technology for Telecom Products at Google Cloud, said:

“This partnership with Nokia will combine both of our decades of mobile communications expertise to deliver new solutions that help CSPs enable business transformation at the network edge.”

Operators are also excited about the opportunities the partnership between Nokia and Google Cloud presents.

Alex Choi, SVP of Strategy and Technology Innovation at Deutsche Telekom, commented: 

“Deutsche Telekom is on a journey to transform to a new open, disaggregated and cloud-native infrastructure with an automated production model.

We are therefore excited to see two innovative organisations like Nokia and Google Cloud joining forces to accelerate ecosystem innovation across critical areas like Open RAN and virtual RAN and the cloud-native 5G Core.”

The first of the two companies’ collaborative efforts will focus on Cloud RAN—specifically, the integration of Nokia’s 5G vDU (virtualised distributed unit) and 5G vCU (virtualised centralised unit) with Google’s edge computing platform, running on Anthos. Nokia’s 5G standalone network with vCU and 5G core will also be tested on Google Cloud Anthos platform as a cloud-native deployment.

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, said:

“We are excited to develop new 5G solutions at the network edge with Google Cloud. Our service provider customers will benefit greatly from this collaboration with more choice and flexibility to efficiently deploy and orchestrate 5G networks.

This will ultimately help our customers deliver 5G services on the network edge providing multiple options of cloud-based solutions paving the way forward.”

Nokia’s partnership with AWS will also focus on extending the reach of the vendor’s Cloud RAN and Open RAN solutions with the aim of accelerating customer-focused 5G deployments.

Engineering teams from both companies will collaborate at Nokia’s facilities on innovative proofs-of-concept. The partners will research how Nokia’s RAN (Radio Access Network), Open RAN, Cloud RAN and edge solutions can operate seamlessly with AWS Outposts.

Dave Brown, Vice President of Amazon EC2 at AWS, explained:

“This collaboration with Nokia will extend the reach of our industry-leading cloud technology to support our telco and enterprise customers. We look forward to working closely on this collaboration and offer multiple deployment choices for customers to build 5G Cloud RAN and Open RAN solutions.

Our customers will benefit from different options to run 5G RAN using AWS Outposts with either Intel or ARM-based CPU choices, or third-party bare metal servers while using Amazon EKS and EKS Anywhere.

This will solve the challenge of CI/CD, automation, and network orchestration by using a common framework of tools across Core and RAN.”

Nokia and AWS will focus their collaborative efforts on three distinct areas:

  • Onboarding and validating Nokia’s 5G vDU (virtualised distributed unit) on AWS Outposts using Amazon EKS for far edge cloud or on-premises deployments.
  • Examine the implementation of Nokia’s 5G vCU (virtualised centralised unit) with AWS Outposts, AWS Local Zones, using Amazon EKS as a cloud-native deployment.
  • Build an end-to-end proof-of-concept solution consisting of Nokia’s 5G Cloud RAN and 5G standalone Core network running on AWS.

Last, but certainly not least, Nokia’s partnership with Microsoft Azure will focus on driving end-user 5G deployments through the combination of the former’s Cloud RAN technology with the latter’s vast cloud infrastructure.

Nokia says the partnership with Microsoft is part of its effort to drive the monetisation of businesses’ 4G and 5G deployments by partnering with “best-in-class” public cloud providers.

“Open collaboration is key to the development of new and innovative high value 5G use cases that will equip our customers with the tools they need for digital transformation,” commented Uitto.

“This is part of Nokia’s continued commitment to leading an open mobile future, making it simple for our customers to take advantage of the 5G world helping to drive it forward.”

Nokia and Azure’s partnership will have three key stages:

  • Combining Nokia’s mobile network solutions – including Cloud RAN, Open RAN, Radio Access Controller (RIC) and multi-access edge cloud (MEC) – with the Azure Private Edge Zone, which uses edge computing to process data close to the end-user and provide ultra-low latency.
  • Integrate 5G RAN with Azure 4G/5G core to demonstrate interworking to support enterprise use cases required by Microsoft’s customers.
  • Explore further opportunities to incorporate Nokia’s Airframe Open Edge server as part of Microsoft’s telco edge strategy.

Yousef Khalidi, Corporate Vice President of Azure for Operators at Microsoft, commented:

“Microsoft believes in the importance of an open and interoperable ecosystem of solutions on the Azure carrier-grade platform.

Our collaboration with Nokia across multiple potential use cases, based on specific customer demand, will provide operators with choices on how the best adopt cloud technology in concert with their 5G updates to drive new revenue streams, reduce cost, and future-proof their network investment.”

The major partnerships announced by Nokia today shows the vendor is not picky about cloud providers and instead has opted to establish deep collaborative efforts with all three of the leading competitors to help drive better outcomes for both 4G and 5G deployments.

(Photo by Marc Wieland on Unsplash)

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