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Ericsson and Intel – Innovation in Networking

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Guest blog by Brian Aherne: GM, Network Computing Division, Intel Corporation

Earlier this week, I had the unique opportunity to present with Håkan Djuphammar from Ericsson at the Broadband World Forum event in London. Håkan led a thought-provoking keynote around the challenges facing the networking society, and the implications for service providers and providers of telecom solutions. At Ericsson, these challenges are focusing on three points:

  • The transformation of networks to software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV)
  • The impact of the Internet of Things
  • The industrialization of the Cloud.

Extending Håkan’s points on network transformation, I spoke to Ericsson’s and Intel’s rich history to jointly innovate in networking. Starting with a close relationship to optimize user plane performance with projects such as Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK), we have then evolved our collaboration to work together in a number of open source projects. For example, within the OpenDaylight (ODL) and Open Platform for Network Functions Virtualization (OPNFV) projects, we are innovating in critical technologies impacting the usage of service-chained network functions in software defined networks (SDN). More recently, we have engaged on an exciting cooperation project to jointly develop and deploy Ericsson solutions leveraging Intel® Rack Scale Architecture.

A core element of Intel’s strategy to accelerate the transformation of data networking is through innovation in open source and standard development organizations. There are about 30 meaningful SDN and NFV community-based initiatives worldwide and OpenStack is the leading open source project for providing software at the Virtual Interface Management (VIM) layer of the NFV architecture. Ericsson, Intel and many other partners from our Intel Network Builder community are collaborating to develop Enhanced Platform Awareness (EPA) capabilities to meet service provider requirements for high-performance virtualized networking infrastructure. Working with Ericsson, Intel is aggregating our contributions in these SDN and NFV open source projects within OPNFV and by extension into the Intel Open Networking Platform (Intel® ONP).

In the Cloud and Data Center space, we truly value our relationship with Ericsson, which has grown deeper and stronger over the years. What’s really exciting is to see Ericsson bringing its unique telecoms expertise and know-how, built up over many decades, to these domains. Since Intel’s participation with the Ericsson Cloud System and HDS8000 launch in Mobile World Congress 2015 (MWC’15), our cooperation has gone from strength to strength – with deeper architectural and engineering alignment as well as joint sales and go-to-market activities. It’s been wonderful to see our companies pooling our talents and collaborating on such an innovative and world class solution as the HDS8000.

Ericsson’s HDS8000 data center hardware is based on Intel Rack Scale Architecture thus providing the flexibility to disaggregate and pool compute, storage and network resources, and enable hyperscale cloud computing. This is foundational to our common goal to transform network infrastructure, to deliver faster deployment of services, provide new revenue streams and lower TCO. It’s been a tremendously exciting journey with Ericsson over the past two years. And that’s a journey based on strong collaboration and teamwork. I am looking forward to continued partnership and success!

– Brian Aherne: GM, Network Computing Division, Intel Corporation