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Data Center Infrastructure

Nokia, AWS Team Up Strategically

The new strategic collaboration between Nokia and Amazon Web Services is expected to make both the AWS and Nokia clouds easier for service providers to use in place of private data centers for both delivering applications and running their back-office functions.

But that will just be the starting point for the joint effort, which is expected to include enabling service providers' edge computing aspirations and offering a seamless SD-WAN experience for companies using the Nuage Networks' SD-WAN options with Amazon Web Services Inc. clouds, says Prabir Datta, strategic cloud investments leader at Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK).

There are still many details to be worked out and this isn't an exclusive deal on either side, but it has the potential to be a powerful combination for Nokia and its service provider customers as the latter look to virtualize applications and also their back-office network management efforts. Nokia would provide support services for a service provider to migrate to AWS including "consulting, design, integration, migration and operation for infrastructure and applications," according to the press release.

"The goal is to simplify the headache of the service providers in the sense that they don't have to invest in private data centers going forward," Datta. "But with AWS [and Nokia] it will be easy for them to think of applications which could be easily migrated, along with network operations to AWS cloud."

Nokia's global professional services continues to be a significant player in the service provider space, and that won't change, but this combination will make the shift of IT applications into the AWS cloud an easier step to make, he adds.

"We are currently working with multiple operators to actually test out the spaces we have been talking about," Datta says.

Network operators including the three largest US players -- AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink -- have moved away from owning and operating their own private data center facilities in recent years, divesting those companies to experts in data center operation and real estate and outsourcing their own data center needs. This would go a step farther in that direction.


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AWS and Nokia also are looking closely at the red-hot edge computing space, where a number of operators are hoping to take advantage of some existing facilities -- Central Offices, colo spaces, wiring cabinets -- to move network intelligence and processing power closer to the edge of the network, particularly to support 5G and the Internet of Things.

The goal is to work together on a reference architecture with strategies for both service providers and enterprise to implement an edge cloud strategy.

"We are in the process of building and thinking about this -- we do not have a clear idea yet," Datta says. "We don't know whether it would be an AWS-based edge cloud solution or it could be a mix of both because Nokia has its own edge cloud. It could be a combination of both at some point but at this point we are still building out the reference architecture and it is at an early stage."

There will also likely be variation from operator to operator, depending on what existing facilities exist and how they might be used to deliver edge cloud capabilities, Datta says. "We will take each case separately and evaluate it, which makes sense."

The more specific immediate advantages of the collaboration on the SD-WAN front will be allowing Nuage Networks SD-WAN customers to manage those services and their AWS Cloud services from a single pane of glass in an integrated fashion.

Finally, the two companies are collaborating on a series of IoT applications that take advantage of multiple Amazon and Nokia capabilities to deliver prepackaged solutions addressing the full scope of that market including service providers, enterprises, smart cities and more.

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

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