China Mobile taps Nokia for data center platform

China Mobile is among the telecom carriers moving to cloud and virtualization technologies. (Monica Alleven/FierceWireless)

China Mobile subsidiary China Mobile Software Technology Co. has chosen the Virtualized Services Platform (VSP) from Nokia Nuage Networks as the SDN platform for its public and private enterprise cloud services offering.

Nokia Nuage said it won 55% of this contract. China Mobile’s standard approach is to split contracts between two vendors; which two vendors varies from one project to the next. The vendors that the carrier sources SDN equipment from include Nokia Nuage, Ericsson, and Huawei, among others.

China Mobile Software Technology Co. is China Mobile’s subsidiary in Suzhou. In 2015, it began using Nuage’s VSP for its DevOps private cloud architecture.

This latest deployment with this particular China Mobile subsidiary is for an SDN platform in 10 of its data centers. The contract calls for entirely new systems that will have no impact on the platforms that are in place from the previous order, according to Nuage Networks VP of Marketing and Partnership Hussein Khazaal.

In a written response, Khazaal told FierceTelecom this contract would double the number of China Mobile data centers that have deployed Nuage products. The 10 in which Nokia Nuage is already deployed include one with at least 1,000 servers.

FierceTelecom asked about integrating with the other supplier in the new deployment; the question mentioned Ericsson and Huawei by name.

Khazaal said: “The other vendor is not from the two you listed. Within this project, the other vendor is used side-by-side, and any interoperability will be on the data plane (traffic flows) interworking [and] that does not require any integration. The customer uses the API to provision all the network and security policy to deploy the service required by the end customer/user on the platform, which is API-driven and requires no integration between the two platforms.”

The configuration for China Mobile Software Technology Co. includes cloud implementations on virtual machines, Kubernetes (K8S) containers and OpenStack Ironic-based bare metal servers.

Khazaal told FierceTelecom: “Enterprise customers continue to develop microservice-based applications, but they continue to leverage bare metal servers in combination with virtual machines. We see increased demand for K8S environments and there is continued demand for bare metal servers (Amazon started offering bare metal servers as well); what is important to note is that to offer that at scale and in a more automated way is what SDN offers.

“You can automate your infrastructure deployment and offer your end customers a variety of options to run their workloads,” Khazaal continued. “The unique thing is that you have a single API-driven platform that you can use to deliver that, without the additional overhead and manual scripting of every task. You have an intent-based overlay network that has the scale, performance, automation and security to do all that very efficiently and reliably.”

Along with OpenStack, the vendor said, the platform supports multiple cloud management systems, hypervisor and workload types. A centralized policy manager and SDN controller automate the configuration, management and optimization of virtual networks, including security services that provide tenant isolation and access controls to individual applications and workloads. The Nuage Networks VSP combines policy-based automation, large scale and high performance with multitenancy, resiliency and comprehensive end-to-end security.