Ericsson and VMware sign 5-year network virtualization agreement

Ericsson brings its big installed base of service providers and VMware brings its vCloud NFV platform. (Getty Images)

Ericsson and VMware have signed an agreement aimed at helping service providers deploy virtualized networks. The two vendors have been collaborating since 2012, but this new five-year agreement takes it to the next level.

The alliance includes technical collaboration and interoperability testing across Ericsson's portfolio of virtual network functions, billing and charging software, as well as automation and orchestration systems. These will be combined with VMware's telco NFV platform, which is called vCloud NFV.

The two companies have invested in a certification lab to test and verify interoperability between Ericsson's VNFs and VMware vCloud NFV platform.

The companies say more than 50 service providers are already running live production mobile networks with Ericsson VNFs on vCloud NFV platform. For example, Vodafone Group has worked jointly with Ericsson and VMware for several years, implementing Ericsson's evolved packet core, service-aware policy controller, and IMS along with other Ericsson virtual network functions on VMware vCloudNFV.

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Last year at Mobile World Congress VMware debuted its vCloud NFV 2.0, which included a bunch of products and features, including vCloud Director, the vRealize suite of analytics tools and VMware’s own OpenStack distribution known as VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO).

The company also added SD-WAN to its telco virtualization platform with the technology it gained after its purchase of SD-WAN vendor VeloCloud. The telco NFV platform also supports containers and cloud-native applications.

For Ericsson’s part, the company has a big installed base with global operators. Jan Karlsson, SVP and head of business area digital services at Ericsson said, “Every operator is engaged in virtualizing their network. In general we’re saying to operators don’t just look at the technology. In order to gain the full benefits of virtualization, look at how to simplify your organization; look at how to simplify your processes.”

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