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Vodafone's Ocean Floats Nokia's Boat

Carol Wilson
3/14/2017
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Nokia claimed a major customer win this morning, announcing that Vodafone Group has tapped its Nuage Networks unit to be a global SDN supplier to link its diverse data centers, as part of its Vodafone Ocean implementation. (See Vodafone Taps Nokia's Nuage for Ocean's SDN.)

In addition, Nokia will be part of a live trial of what Vodafone is calling VPL+, its SD-WAN implementation, to be used in delivering Internet of Things and other virtualized network function applications.

Ocean is Vodafone's ambitious transformation of its networks and services to create a global service delivery platform, with underlying automation that enables efficiencies in delivering new services faster, and in supporting NFV. The man driving that effort, David Amzallag, has been pushing the vendor community to go well beyond merely virtualizing network functions to making them more cloud-native and enabling automation of their delivery. (See Vodafone: Desperately Seeking Cloud-Centric Tech, Vodafone Demands More From NFV Vendors and Vodafone: Desperately Seeking Cloud-Centric Tech.)

UPDATE: According to Amzallag, Nuage is the second SDN vendor to be announced for Ocean, Juniper Networks' Contrail being the first. That was announced at Mobile World Congress in February, along with the news that Juniper was Vodafone's 2016 Supplier of the Year.

The Vodafone exec also notes that his company will soon be announcing other aspects of Ocean to include customer premises equipment that is part of its new Universal Access Strategy along with an SDN controller for CPE, and other elements as well such as OpenStack deployment and its domain orchestrator.

What Nuage is providing, with its Nuage Networks Virtualized Service Platform (VSP), is the software-defined network that is linking Vodafone's diverse data centers, brought on board as it acquired operators, in a single cloud-based network architecture that delivers policy-based automation across its network, private and public clouds.

The essence of what Nuage is providing, with its Nuage Networks Virtualized Service Platform (VSP) is a software-defined network that is linking Vodafone's diverse data centers, brought on board as it acquired operators, in a single cloud-based network architecture that delivers policy-based automation across its network, private and public clouds.


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The two companies have been working together for more than three years on this process, including multiple proofs of concept (PoCs), notes Sunil Khandekar, founder and chief executive officer of Nuage Networks. Key to his company's success was the Nuage ability to help Vodafone automate processes, as part of its data center transformation, so that virtualized networks functions and hosting services could be delivered to customers in a consistent automated way, and network resources could be used most efficiently.

"The whole idea was around making [a cloud-based infrastructure] that was fully automated and programmable -- that is what the Ocean architecture had in mind -- and that is what the selection is about," Khandekar tells Light Reading in an interview. Right now, Vodafone has a mix of technology in its data centers, including VMware hypervisors and bare-metal servers, that makes it hard to create a single automated approach to offering services.

"What they are doing right now is the first step," he comments. "One of the key aspects in this is the fact we provide common consistent network automation across existing data centers but also connect them to public data centers because most enterprises have those needs, as well."

What Nuage has created, Khandekar says, is micro-segmented overlay networks that connect the virtual workloads, regardless of where they are located, and then expand and contract automatically, depending on the needs of a particular workload.

The VPN+ live trial delivers SD-WAN functionality but tied to the existing MPLS network to let businesses have a more application-driven approach to selecting the right type of connection, the Nokia executive says. At this stage, this functionality is in trial, and Vodafone hasn't selected Nokia as its vendor for SD-WAN, but that seems like a logical next step.

As deals go, this is a significant one for Nokia and Nuage, given that Vodafone is considered one of the more ambitious and advanced strategists in the virtualization space globally.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading


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eric568
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eric568,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/15/2017 | 11:21:54 AM
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HeadofFi06685
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HeadofFi06685,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/14/2017 | 4:03:00 PM
Vodafone SD-WAN
Just a thought, but I think the product name is likely to be VPN+, rather than VPL+. Though I really hope you are right and I am wrong.
Carol Wilson
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Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
3/14/2017 | 12:00:47 PM
Re: UPDATE - Juniper Also On Board
Thanks for the clarification, David. We're looking forward to hearing more about Vodafone's progress going forward. 
David_Amzallag
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David_Amzallag,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/14/2017 | 11:57:17 AM
Re: UPDATE - Juniper Also On Board
Thanks Carol.

Just to clarify that Vodafone selected both Nokia Nuage and Juniper Contrail for SDN Controllers for DC Hosting and Service Chaining. Both were first and none was second :)
Carol Wilson
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Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
3/14/2017 | 9:18:28 AM
UPDATE - Juniper Also On Board
Juniper Networks was actually announced as an SDN vendor ahead of Nuage, during the mad scramble that is Mobile World Congress. 
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