Ericsson and Intel: Next-gen hardware management platform collaboration

There’s a lot of talk of 5G today and for good reasons. The telecom industry is on the move to bring a multitude of innovative end-user applications and services to market leveraging 5G and a range of associated technologies. To stay nimble and cost-effective, there’s an increasing need for cloud-like agility in the physical infrastructure layer.

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Cloud-like agility in the physical infrastructure layer 

Communication Service Providers (CSPs) are picking up on 5G on a global scale, whether through capacity improvements with enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) or serving the industrial and IoT markets with low-latency capabilities down to milliseconds with the arrival of Ultra Reliable Low-Latency Communications (URLLC). When marrying this with technologies such as orchestration, network exposure, edge computing, ML/AI, and the provisioning of code in software containers, things are falling into place for CSPs to increase their market attractiveness and value-add beyond mobile connectivity. 

However, for CSPs to stay nimble and cost-effective (for example power efficiency ranks high) cloud-like agility is a must in the physical infrastructure layer. The ability to spin up, tear down, and manage physical resources exactly where and when needed and with the right longevity is imperative (and it spans the entire network from the core to the edge). 

Ericsson and Intel’s common ambition is to take advantage of each other’s strengths to deliver time-to-market, leading edge, competitive solutions to the telecommunications market. And since we publicly announced the collaboration and joint development for the next-generation software defined infrastructure for the 5G era, back in February 2019, plenty of progress has been made that’s worth reflecting on as we approach the one year anniversary of this multi-year collaboration. 

It’s been inspiring, educational, and fun to see our technical teams working together, and watching people from both companies take this work on with great enthusiasm towards a common goal. It’s clear that sharing technologies, know-how and experiences creates the perfect hotbed of innovation in a collaboration like this, and through collaborative customer dialogues and available ´proof of concepts´, we’re moving in the right direction. 

 

Co-development of next-gen hardware management platform 

The focus of our collaboration in this instance is to co-develop the next-gen hardware management platform – delivered with efficient and agile deployments of Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs), Containerized Network Functions (CNFs), and distributed cloud in CSP networks in mind. The development of the Ericsson Software Defined Infrastructure (SDI) Manager software, combined with the Intel architecture and open standards support like DMTF’s Redfish®, has proven to be a fruitful implementation where technical collaboration has yielded real-world results.   

Clearly open source is critical in the creation of sustainable ecosystems and harnessing rapid innovationSo is our alignment from a standardization perspective in areas like ETSI NFV and the Linux Foundation’s and GSMA’s CNTT (Common NFVi Telco Taskforce) industry collaboration. 

This effort is yet another way that Ericsson and Intel are expanding on their collaboration as we’re further enhancing our methodologies for faster interoperability testing and verification. In fact, signs of success have shown examples of time-to-market introductions being cut in half in like-for-like comparisons. 

In addition to the cooperation for the next-gen hardware management platform, we’re mutually leveraging each other’s technology leadership in other areas. The mobile packet core user plane throughput enhancements (check out User plane innovations enable profitable 5G service by Alex Quach from Intel) is another example of an uninterrupted activity that embraces the evolving technology from both sides. Other examples include the Ericsson SDI, which is in line with Intel Xeon Scalable processors (check out Software Defined Infrastructure upgraded with new Intel technology by Henrik Bäckström), as well as ongoing verification of other NFVI components. 

The cooperation between Intel and Ericsson has been successful, with great momentum from the start. The intention to add value to customer networks through the deployment of verified and rapid time-to-market solutions, with a clear focus on TCO, is becoming real and materializing.  

*Intel, the Intel logo and Xeon are registered trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.  

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