AWS Absorbs More of Nokia’s 5G-Focused Software Platform

Nokia expanded availability of its Common Software Foundation (CSF) platform to Amazon Web Services (AWS). This marks what the vendor calls its first step toward delivering cloud-native network functions and applications to help operators deploy 5G and digital services.

The engineering collaboration will focus on 5G platforms like mobile core, network and service orchestrion, device management, and operational support systems (OSS). The move will push all of Nokia Software’s cloud-native network functions and applications to AWS once they are released. Nokia currently offers customer experience, service fulfillment, and orchestration services through AWS.

Nokia explained that operators are increasingly looking to tap public cloud options to bolster their 5G deployments. One example of this was AT&T’s recent deal with Microsoft to provide the carrier with cloud services in support of non-network applications and the carrier’s deepening push into the cloud. That followed a deal between AT&T and IBM to help AT&T improve and migrate its business applications to IBM Cloud.

“Whether for [operating expense] optimization, on-demand capacity to optimize [capital expenses], quick time to market, or support of 5G and other edge compute applications, public cloud deployments of advanced network software are a critical new option for CSPs,” explained Analysys Mason Research Director Dana Cooperson in a statement tied to the news. “Companies such as Nokia and AWS working together is a positive step in making this option a reality.”

Nokia’s AWS Past

Nokia and AWS first started working together down this path in late 2017. That “strategic collaboration” took advantage of Nokia’s work in wireless, wireline, and 5G technologies and AWS’ extensive cloud expertise to focus on the cloud, 5G, and IoT.

That initial work used CSF to containerize network functions and applications through a unified model. It then allowed CSF and Nokia containerized software deployments on AWS. This resulted in a CSF-based, cloud-native system for automating application integration and customization that rolled out across AWS in June. That system supports more than 1,000 Nokia application delivery engineers.

Ongoing Cloud Focus

Nokia last week struck a deal with VMware to bolster interoperability between VMware’s Telco Cloud platform and Nokia’s software applications. The deal is designed to make it easier for service providers to run Nokia virtualized and containerized network functions on VMware cloud infrastructure — moves that are becoming increasingly important for 5G deployment plans.

That followed up on an agreement earlier this month with Microsoft to pair that cloud giant’s extensive cloud portfolio, including Azure, Azure IoT, Azure AI, and machine learning suites with Nokia’s 4G LTE and 5G-ready wireless equipment, intellectual property, IoT, and SD-WAN offerings. Nokia said those technologies as pivotal to the start of “industry 4.0,” which envisions a future where the cloud and IoT ushers in a new industrial revolution where enterprises embrace data to automate and streamline all aspects of their operations.

A Nokia spokesman said the combination of these agreements tie into the firm’s “continued execution of its software strategy of providing truly open software that can run on multiple hardware and cloud infrastructures. True cloud native applications must be capable of running in multiple environments and Nokia wants to provide choices to our customer base.”

Nokia’s most recent quarterly earnings result showed that its software business grew 9% year over year. Company CEO Rajeev Suri said the firm would continue to invest in its enterprise and software businesses, “which are developing rapidly and performing well.”