Juniper Networks and Nokia Solutions and Networks are bundling network virtualization and cloud offerings to create a solution aimed at mobile operators.
Nokia will bring its Liquid Core technology—which includes network-functions virtualization (NFV) and telecommunications cloud management and orchestration capabilities—while Juniper will leverage its MetaFabric data center architecture, which includes its Contrail software-defined networking (SDN) solutions.
The combination of the two vendors' products will give mobile operators, who are under pressure to more rapidly offer new services to their growing numbers of customers, a cloud-based infrastructure that leverages NFV, SDN, network virtualization and other capabilities to create a more flexible, automated environment.
The solution, which will be available later this year, will be based on OpenStack, the increasingly popular open-source cloud management and orchestration solution.
Mobile carriers for several years have talked about the need to become more responsive to the demand from customers for new services, and that demand will only grow as more people adopt more mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, and take advantage of faster networks.
According to numbers compiled by Cisco Systems, the number of worldwide mobile users will grow from 4.1 billion in 2013 to 4.9 billion by 2018, while the number of mobile connections—from personal devices to machine-to-machine communications—will hit more than 10 billion by 2018, up from 7 billion last year. Global mobile network speeds will increase from an average of 1.4M bps in 2013 to 2.5M bps in 2018, according to Cisco's numbers released in February.
Figures such as these are fueling the need for telecom vendors to look to the cloud and network virtualization as ways to create more dynamic, automated and responsive IT environments, according to Juniper CEO Shaygan Kheradpir.
"Rapid adoption of LTE and the 4G mobile core opens up a wealth of opportunities for new service creation for our customers," Kheradpir said in a statement. "We believe operators need a High-IQ mobile edge that connects their infrastructure to the telco cloud and leverages network and service virtualization throughout."
The telecom cloud solution will include Nokia's Liquid Core, a key part of Nokia's larger NSN Telco Cloud offering. It includes NFV capabilities, enabling mobile carriers to run key network functions as software applications on standard IT equipment rather than having them housed in expensive and complex networking gear. Liquid Core also includes cloud management features from Nokia, all designed to offer telecom vendors more elastic IT scaling, reduced costs and faster development cycles, according to company officials.
Juniper officials launched its MetaFabric network architecture in October 2013 with a key goal of making it easier for organizations to move applications and data not only within a data center, but between data centers. Companies can leverage MetaFabric and Juniper's Contrail SDN/NFV controller to create more open and cost-effective networking environments, according to vendor officials. Juniper also will bring its OpenStack-based data center technologies to the partnership.
In addition to the technologies, Nokia also will offer services—some of which will include expertise from Juniper—that will help mobile operators enhance their cloud environments and move their services to the cloud.
"By collaborating with Juniper, we are taking the next step together, enabling operators to take full advantage of the cloud with a clear path towards the robustness and scale of interconnected datacenters," Nokia President and CEO Rajeev Suri said in a statement.
The new solutions from Juniper and Nokia will come into a hotly contested marketplace, as networking vendors look to meet the needs of telecoms. Ericsson is breaking out its cloud operations from its larger networking division, and Alcatel-Lucent also is making cloud, SDN and NFV for carriers a key market through new offerings as well as the creation last year of a new subsidiary, Nuage Networks.