Data Center Infrastructure

SKT Adopts Ericsson's Telco Cloud Platform

Only months after unveiling its Hyperscale Datacenter System (HDS) 8000 system, Ericsson has secured innovative and influential network operator SK Telecom as an anchor partner that will work on the further development, and deployment, of the next-generation cloud platform.

Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) announced the HDS 8000, developed in partnership with Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), at Mobile World Congress in March: While it was one of many announcements, it stood out as particularly important, not only because it was a departure for a company so closely tied to radio access network developments but also because it offered traditional communications service providers something they desperately needed – New IP technology that can give them the same kind of capabilities and operational efficiencies as the web services giants. (See Ericsson, Intel Target Telco Data Centers.)

Claiming such capabilities is one thing, of course -- delivering it is another. But Ericsson clearly is on the right track, as existing cloud/NFV collaborator SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM) is working with the vendor to enhance the HDS 8000's capabilities and put it through its paces with a view to commercial deployment. (See Ericsson-LG, SKT Team on 5G, NFV R&D.)

In a media announcement timed to coincide with the Intel Developer Forum 2015 (IDF15), which opens its doors Monday, Ericsson noted that it is working with the Korean operator to "establish software-defined data centers built on Ericsson's HDS 8000 datacenter system and Intel Rack Scale Architecture," the server hardware system upon which the Ericsson product is designed. By using the Ericsson/Intel system, SK Telecom aims to build an automated and highly efficient cloud infrastructure.

Intel's Rack Scale Architecture is "the key technology to make the cloud extremely scalable, flexible and TCO [total cost of ownership] efficient," according to SK Telecom's CTO, Alex Jinsung Choi, as quoted in the Ericsson announcement. He added that the partnership with Ericsson "will accelerate SK Telecom’s software-defined data center vision."

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There are no details (financial commitment, timescales, potential size of deployments) on the exact nature of the relationship between Ericsson and SK Telecom, though the vendor tells Light Reading that it involves a mix of product development and tests involving live traffic as the operator works towards its commercial deployment plans.

The Swedish giant says other customers are engaged with the HDS 8000, which won the Best New Product (Telecom) award at this year's Leading Lights awards, but that the South Korean market is "the most progressive and advanced when it comes to adopting new technologies and we wanted to reflect that with SK Telecom by announcing them first." (See Leading Lights Awards 2015: The Winners.)

Ericsson isn't the only traditional telecom vendor hoping to win carrier cloud/data center business with next-generation compute platforms: Nokia Networks also teamed up with Intel to develop its AirFrame Data Center solution, which was unveiled in June. (See Nokia Unveils Telco Cloud Hardware Platform.)

Developing a cloud-optimized network and data center infrastructure is vital for the longevity of today's communications service providers, which are responding to the challenges they face by adopting new procurement strategies and embracing SDN and NFV developments to help them become more efficient and agile. (See Vendor Selection Survey: New Criteria for the New IP Era and Carrier SDN Spending to Increase 15X.)

Just last week, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) identified some of the early gains it is making from its SDN-enabled Network On-Demand service. (See AT&T: SDN Is Slashing Provisioning Cycle Times by up to 95%.)

For more on the HDS 8000 and the carrier cloud market, see:

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

[email protected] 8/17/2015 | 12:48:46 PM
Re: FASTER FASTER!! It would be interesting to find out where/how SKT has influenced the development of the platform and whether this is something that SKT feels it can easily integrate with existing data center stacks. And I guess the CTO is the person to ask!! :-)

Steve Saunders 8/17/2015 | 12:27:15 PM
Re: FASTER FASTER!! nice story Ray 

I'm hoping to catch up with the CTO of SKT today in SF. I'll try to get a few more deets. 
[email protected] 8/17/2015 | 11:39:39 AM
FASTER FASTER!! I wonder how quickly SKT will put the Ericsson system through its paces in a near-live situation? Pretty quickly (if not already) I am guessing, because it seems SKT has its wits about it.

It seems to me that many (though not all) operators still haven't adopted what one might call a 'Web-scale operations timetable' and are stuck in legacy processes that involve paperwork, sign-offs, consensus across multiple team leaders etc etc before anyone can actually get on with anything meaningful.

Isn't it time to inject some new albeit potentially slightly risky operational models? Otherwise the cloud will develop at a much faster pace than the telcos can deal with and they'll never catch up... 
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