The new platform combines hardware and software: Ericsson SDI Manager software and Intel Rack Scale Design (RSD) architecture and software. It will also maintain full backward compatibility for Ericsson customers.
RSD is Intel’s reference architecture for disaggregated, composable infrastructure. Ericsson’s software-defined infrastructure (SDI) system is based on Intel RSD and provides a common managed hardware pool for all workloads that dynamically scales. Converging the two will enable faster service rollout and more efficient hardware utilization, according to Intel and Ericsson.
The partnership will “help communications service providers remove deployment barriers, reduce costs, and deliver new 5G and edge services with cloud-like speed on a flexible, programmable, and intelligent network,” said Sandra Rivera, senior vice president of Intel’s Network Platform Group, in a statement.
Lars Mårtensson, head of cloud and NFV infrastructure for Ericsson’s Business Area Digital Services division, added that the collaboration will “be truly transformative for service providers’ ability to successfully deploy open cloud and NFV infrastructure, from centralized data centers to the edge.”
As part of the multi-year agreement, the two vendors will also align the development efforts of Ericsson SDI Manager software and Intel RSD. Jointly developed software and hardware from the partnership will be offered in future Ericsson hardware platforms and may also be offered with Intel’s server products sold by its partners.
The companies will show the Ericsson SDI Manager later this month at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Network operators will need to leverage a range of software-defined infrastructure technologies like NFV and distributed cloud to achieve consistent 5G performance, said Charles King, Pund-IT president and principal analyst. And that’s where this Ericsson-Intel collaboration comes into play. “When the effort is complete, it should result in a robust solution for telcos deploying 5G services,” he said.
While several Intel x86 server vendors are planning to develop rack systems for 5G — King says Quanta is one example — and Arm is developing chip designs targeting 5G data center efforts. “I haven’t seen any announcements about actual product plans,” King added. “Overall, Intel is pushing hard in 5G, and Ericsson is a formidable partner. The two companies’ offerings should do well in many global markets.”