Like its rival Cisco Systems, Ericsson is taking a hybrid approach to software-defined networks. SDN aims to make networks easier to deploy and manage, in part by abstracting away enhancements commonly implemented in low level software and ASICs.
The base station giant will discuss at Mobile World Congress its plans to deliver next year a package of cloud computing systems and software that embrace Linux-based virtualization and OpenFlow. However it remains committed to ongoing advances tied to its own networking ASICs and software.
The Ericsson Cloud System, available before April 2014, will support an execution environment for both open software and Ericsson’s own apps and middleware. It will be based on OpenStack and a KVM hypervisor, but also supports the company’s existing telco network management software and an Ericsson Cloud Manager.
In SDN, Ericsson will roll out by the end of this year a software-based network controller supporting OpenFlow, said Magnus Furustam, head of Ericsson’s core networking and IMS businesses. It also will demo two of its own SDN apps for network virtualization and service chaining.
Ericsson rolls the offerings into what it calls a Service Provider SDN concept. “We are developing our own software controller based on OpenFlow with features services providers need,” said Furustam. In addition, “we have the ambition to [continue to] develop our own ASICs because we have a very competitive edge there."
He described the cloud offerings as “an evolution of [our] existing systems to support virtualization, all the way from the base station to the core network.”