Nokia scores key cloud win with China Mobile

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Lindsay Newell, head of marketing for Nokia's Nuage Networks, told Fierce that China Mobile is “the largest single cloud deployment for Nuage.” (Nokia)

Nokia chalked up a major win in the cloud realm, as China Mobile tapped the vendor to supply software-defined networking (SDN) technology for an expansion of its public cloud service.

Sunil Khandekar, CEO of Nokia’s Nuage Networks division, said in a statement its involvement in the expansion project offered “immense opportunity for Nokia” given “the rapid growth of China Mobile Cloud.”

As part of the deal, Nokia will supply its Nuage Networks Virtualized Cloud Services, which comprises an SDN controller and gateway, software switch, firewall, load balancer and VPN. Its technology will provide connectivity between virtual private clouds at different data centers to help push applications closer to end users; automated data center interconnection; and bare-metal-as-a-service to support non-virtualized workloads or those that also require physical hardware.

Nokia has worked with China Mobile’s cloud unit since 2015, noting both its public and private cloud services run on its Nuage SDN product.

Lindsay Newell, head of marketing for Nokia's Nuage Networks, told Fierce that China Mobile is “the largest single cloud deployment for Nuage.” He added the expansion brings the total scope of the operator’s mobile cloud to “tens of thousands of servers spread across more than 30 large data centers,” making the overall network about 30 times larger than it was in 2018.

Cloud strategy

Cloud is a key part of Nokia’s forward-looking strategy. Late last year, the Finnish vendor announced it would create a new Cloud and Network Services unit at the start of 2021 as part of an organizational overhaul.

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Providing more detail about its plan during Capital Markets Day in March, Nokia Cloud and Network Services President Raghav Sahgal said the division was already a $3.8 billion business with an aggregate estimated market opportunity of $29.8 billion.

He said the unit expected overall growth at a compound annual growth rate of 2% from 2020 to 2023. But he also highlighted “pockets of strong growth in emerging areas” including 5G core, analytics and AI-based services, private wireless and industrial automation, digital operation and closed-loop automation, as well as “surging interest” in managed security. In those areas he said it expects market growth of 150% between 2020 and 2023.

Newell said the Nuage Networks unit within that division is pursuing two primary market opportunities. The first is providing enterprise SD-WAN solutions to market, with these delivered as a managed service by operators. The second is squarely focused on the cloud, offering telco cloud automation, clouds for hosting telco infrastructure software and clouds for delivering services to enterprise customers.