Nokia Announces Generational Step In Data Center Networking

Nokia redefines openness, application development flexibility, robustness and operational tools for rapidly building and confidently operating data centre networks at scale.

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SR Linux, 7250 IXR and 7220 IXR-D series are available today, the FSP and 7220 IXR-H series are expected to be available in Q4 2020.

Nokia has in collaboration with Apple developed and launched a “new and modern Network Operating System (NOS).” These set of tools have a single objective – to help data centre networks handle the accelerating overload in traffic even as 5G and IoT (Internet of Things) technologies roll out.

Basil Alwan, President of IP and Optical Networks at Nokia, said “With decades of experience serving the world’s telecom operators, we understand the engineering challenges of building and operating business and mission-critical IP networks on a global scale. However, today’s massive data centres have their unique operational challenges. The SR Linux project was the proverbial’ clean-sheet’ rethink, drawing from our partnership with Apple and others. The resulting design is impressive in its depth and strikes the needed balance for the future.”

With this, Nokia improves data centre networking for all cloud builders – webscale companies, service providers and enterprises – empowering them to rapidly design, deploy, adapt and automate data centre network fabrics at massive scale to keep up with increasing business demand from 5G and Industry 4.0.

It also highlights Apple’s distinction as an early adopter. Adam Bechtel, Vice President and Networking lead at Apple, said, “We regularly upgrade our data centre equipment with technology to increase efficiency and reduce energy consumption. Using Nokia’s new system will enable better networking and routing capabilities in our Viborg, Denmark facility.” This has been in the making for quite some time. “We worked very closely with Apple over the last two-plus years to understand their requirements,” said Steve Vogelsang, Nokia’s chief technology officer for IP and optical business.

“We regularly upgrade our data centre equipment with technology to increase efficiency and reduce energy consumption. Using Nokia’s new system will enable better networking and routing capabilities in our Viborg, Denmark facility.”

The Finnish company had earlier on this week also announced that they would be collaborating with Microsoft in the open-source network operating system SONiC, which is used in the data centres of some of the largest cloud service providers.

Facing massive growth in demand for cloud-based applications and use of new technologies like AI, machine learning and AR/VR, today’s large and growing community of cloud builders require an unprecedented level of customisation and flexibility from networking components to operate and monitor sprawling data centres. NOS have not kept up. Though evolving, traditional systems are restrictive and difficult to customise, integrate and automate.

For example, today’s leading systems expose limited functions for customisation and even then require cumbersome integrations. Often this means rudimentary applications that require re-compiling each time the NOS vendor upgrades releases. Newer open systems attempts are young, challenging to operationalise and generally unproven at scale. The combined solution provides the openness, flexibility, robustness and automation to make data centre and cloud environments easier to scale, adapt and operate.

 

Nokia’s new tools target big data centre firms known as hyperscalers, such as Amazon and Google. Alan Weckel, Founding Analyst at 650 Group, said, “Hyperscaler demands for data centre switching and routing are far different today than they were just five years ago. Nokia has combined its proven routing software with a totally open and easily extensible foundation to offer a new network operating system, automation platform and data centre switches that address the new needs of hyperscalers, such as unlimited scale, agility and AI. Nokia continues to expand its cloud product portfolio just as 650 Group is estimating that total spending on Data Center Switching and Routing products should exceed $17B a year by 2024, with telco service providers and enterprises benefiting from the innovation occurring in the cloud for years to come.”

“Nokia continues to expand its cloud product portfolio just as 650 Group is estimating that total spending on Data Center Switching and Routing products should exceed $17B a year by 2024.”

Muhammad Durrani, Senior Director, Network Architecture, Equinix, vouched for Nokia. “Equinix has been working with Nokia for many years, and we’ve come to depend on its highly reliable and scalable networking solutions for our global interconnection services. We’re pleased to see Nokia getting into the data centre networking space and applying the same rigour to developing a next-generation open and easily extensible data centre network operating system while leveraging its IP routing stack that has been proven in networks globally. It provides a platform that network operations teams can easily adapt and build applications on, giving them the control they need to move fast.”

While Richard Petrie, CTO and Executive Director at LINX appreciated the solidity of the tools. “Having started early in our open networking journey, we’ve found that today’s data centre network environments do not provide sufficient visibility or openness to enable the extreme automation that we require to scale our operations, without adding a lot of staff. Nokia’s approach to bringing a new level of robustness and creativity to disaggregated data centre networks is very much needed. We are pleased to see established vendors like Nokia stepping into the game in a big way.”

SR Linux, 7250 IXR and 7220 IXR-D series are available today, the FSP and 7220 IXR-H series are expected to be available in Q4 2020.

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