Intel‘s Sandra Rivera, vice president of the data center group, broke the partnership news Tuesday morning in an address at Light Reading‘s Big Telecom Event in Chicago. The move follows Cisco’s decision to join Network Builders last month, signaling new momentum for the venture, which has lingered in relative obscurity since its 2013 launch.
The program’s goal is to speed development and promote interoperability for SDN and NFV products — in particular, those that run on Intel’s x86 architecture. “We want to see more commercial products in the market faster,” Rivera told SDxCentral in an interview Tuesday.
Ericsson’s decision to join Intel’s Network Builders follows on a series of strategic partnerships between the two companies. Earlier this year, the chip and network gear giants teamed up on a hyperscale data center offering. Intel Security, a wholly owned subsidiary, has also partnered with Ericsson on a white label managed security service announced in April.
There is no fee for membership in Network Builders, which now includes more than 150 vendors and a handful of service providers.
Despite the proliferation of SDN and NFV standards groups in recent years, Rivera believes that interoperability remains the key challenge to getting products to market. “The promise of NFV and SDN is being able to have more vendor choice,” she says. “Right now the challenge to vendor choice is that lack of interoperability.”
Even if the dream of better interoperability is achieved, says Rivera, systems integration will remain “a big market opportunity” as network infrastructure becomes increasingly heterogeneous.
“That could be traditional integration players like Accenture and HP,” she adds. “Or it could come from the hardware manufacturers increasingly turning away from hardware and toward managed services.”