Nokia’s move to the cloud is gaining momentum and the company’s future success may very well depend on it. The change is already underway and Nokia is embarking on a series of initiatives to meet the future demands and opportunities that arise from this transition.
The transfer of software and network functions on-premises to the cloud is in its infancy. The change will be gradual. Embrace the cloud isn’t just about virtualization. This requires that suppliers, operators and companies implement the cloud native principles, including DevOps and CI / CD (continuous integration, continuous delivery) for stimulate innovation and agility in their network infrastructure.
5G and the rise of digitization as a whole are pushing telecom providers to operate and collaborate with a wider ecosystem of operators, including public cloud providers. Nokia, in early March, made three deals with the biggest hyperscalers: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. The idea is to advance 5G, the radio access network (RAN) and peripheral markets.
Nokia: the cloud as a catalyst
These agreements are presented as an extension of previous Nokia cloud efforts. They will accelerate the development of a cloud native platform and a container services platform. This gives operators the flexibility to move and more transparently and consistently manage workloads between different clouds.
Nokia approaches the cloud as a catalyst. The company wants to create value for telecom operators by allowing them to migrate virtual network functions (VNFs) to Kubernetes-based containers at any pace and framework they see fit. Each customer is at a different evolution from the workloads they want to bring to the cloud. There are therefore different phases and strategies in choosing a supplier.
Towards an all-cloud strategy
Nokia made this transition a few years ago. The company thinks that it has a strong position to move its software to the cloud and on a any cloud strategy. The IT industry and businesses have embraced the cloud much faster than communications service providers.
Nokia’s recent progress with hyperscalers has also enabled Nokia to disaggregate its RAN products and services in the cloud by making these workloads and services available at the edge.
From automation to native cloud
Automation with virtualization has led to cloudification. From the latter, we moved to a true native cloud (put the CI / CD, DevOps principles and open APIs to be able to connect to the digital ecosystem).
Nokia knows that more network workloads will move to the cloud, but only if the economic benefits of these changes materialize. This is an area that is still under development in the industry, in particular for applications that are very computationally intensive or sensitive to latency.