Nokia declares war on data centres to win back telco customers

‘We’ll act and think differently’

The IT world doesn’t understand the telco industry and Nokia is here to save the day, with the launch of its AirFrame Data Centre Solution, which aims to wrest business from traditional data centres.

The Nokia designed accelerator cards are aimed at the mobile protocols. This offloads the radio applications from the main CPU and allows the processing to be distributed.

Support core radio functions are baked into the hardware. Nokia claims this will both improve performance and reduce the costs for its telco clients.

In addition to the accelerator cards, Nokia will be supplying Intel based servers, switches, SSD-based storage, and racks. Telco customers who buy a rack will get it delivered cabled and configured ready to plug in.

"Nokia Networks is changing the game in telco cloud. We are taking on the IT-telco convergence with a new solution to challenge the traditional IT approach of the data centre," said Marc Rouanne, EVP, Mobile Broadband, Nokia Networks.

There are some specific requirements for mobile operators, and while they're currently being served by the IP world it’s not the best solution for telcos which have their own special protocols, particularly for things such as VoLTE and the move to 5G.

The 5G spec is expected to include a latency of less than 1ms and data speeds of 10Gbps.

Nokia makes a big play of Airframe being the “first solution to efficiently serve both the IT and telco worlds”, and in a conference call commented that solutions from Huawei and Ericsson were too IP and not telco enough.

Nokia cited its use of open standards as a major advantage over rivals, with a multi-stack approach for its open platforms.

“We as an industry will now act and think differently,” said Rouanne. Maybe Apple will soon be connecting people.

The company said the new kit will offer significant efficiency gains when running data-demanding telco applications, such as mobile network Virtual Network Functions (VNFs). But it’s not all about telco apps. Common IT server-based systems will happily run on the new kit.

Nokia is not directly looking to grow its business beyond the telco world but it sees an opportunity for telcos to offer hosting services for enterprise customers.

There are container-based solutions, ideal for disaster recovery and load balancing to cope with exceptional demand. If a small area has unprecedented demand then resources from other areas can be called in – without visiting sites – to provide temporary cover. ®

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