Ubuntu developer Canonical is partnering with telecoms infrastructure firm Ericsson to drive innovation in the telecoms market, specifically in the area of enabling network functions to be delivered as software, so-called network function virtualisation (NFV).
The three-year partnership will see the two firms collaborate to support the telecoms industry with proven cloud technology based on Canonical's Ubuntu Server, which is integrated with the OpenStack cloud computing framework.
The pair will also explore how to deliver network functions in software via the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV), an open source project focused on NFV which is also based around Linux and OpenStack.
"In the telecoms space we've seen a big uptick around service providers interested in deploying NFV, and almost all of them are looking to OpenStack as the foundation piece that sits underneath it," Canonical vice president for cloud alliances and channels John Zannos told V3.
"Our partnership with Ericsson is to help them make that reality happen in the telco space. We recognise that we need to partner with network equipment providers like Ericsson that have deep relationships with the service providers, and Ericsson wants to collaborate with us for our experience and knowledge around OpenStack and the Ubuntu operating system."
Canonical is also joining the OPNFV project, Zannos said, which was started last year by a group of carriers and IT vendors to build a reference platform for NFV and software-defined networking.
The objectives of OPNFV are to enable network functions to be implemented as software running on standard server hardware, a move that will cut operational expenses for service providers, reduce power use, and create greater flexibility to grow and bring new services to market quickly.
Zannos said that Canonical and Ericsson will focus on bringing scale-out deployment of network function in the telecoms market, using tools such as Canonical's Juju software for bare-metal provisioning, and identifying network functions that can sit on top of the operating system, such as load balancing.
"We're also seeing more and more network switches using Ubuntu as the operating system that powers them so, even though this announcement is about Ericsson's cloud system platform, we're ultimately opening the door to doing a lot more collaboration with them," he said.
Canonical is not the only IT vendor seeing an opportunity in the NFV field. Rival Linux firm Red Hat last month announced a partnership with NEC to develop NFV capabilities using OpenStack, while Oracle and Intel this week demonstrated a communications platform running Oracle software on Intel's Open Network Platform hardware.
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