Red Hat and Ericsson Forge 5G, IoT Open Source Alliance

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Red Hat and Ericsson on Wednesday announced an alliance meant to speed adoption of open source solutions in the information and communications technology space.

The alliance will help promote a range of fully open source and production-ready cloud solutions, spanning OpenStack, software defined-networking and software-defined infrastructure, the companies said, to meet the growing demand for products using 5G and the Internet of Things.

Red Hat has a long history of collaborating with Ericsson on platforms including Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat JBoss Middleware. The new alliance represents an extension of the companies' prior relationship, according to Radhesh Balakrishnan, general manager of OpenStack at Red Hat.

"The telecommunications and communications service provider space is undergoing a tectonic shift, one driven by competitive and economic realities," he told LinuxInsider. "Our alliance with Ericsson will help providers in this space fully embrace open source software and commodity hardware-based solutions to be able to address current and emerging challenges effectively."

Increasingly heavy demand for new IoT and 5G services has placed significant pressure on telecom service producers to become more flexible and agile, noted Red Hat spokesperson John Terrill.

The new open source collaboration between the companies will focus on network functions virtualization infrastructure, OpenStack, SDN, SDI and containers, giving customers the latest in technological options for the communications industry.

One of the key goals of using NFV is to provide companies in the telecommunications space a more flexible and efficient software-based solution, compared to traditional hardware systems.

The partnership will focus on helping Ericsson come to market with a network function virtualization infrastructure, or NFVi, system as part of the Ericsson Cloud Execution Environment. The companies aim to certify the Ericsson virtual network functions to run on top of that.

As the industry begins to embrace cloud-based infrastructure and data center deployment, large scale collaborations like this will become more prevalent, said telecom analyst Jeff Kagan.

"We are seeing many similar alliances between companies as we move further into an IoT, 5G, VR, AI world," he told LinuxInsider.

The alliance will help create customer speed and choice, while allowing customers to embrace open source platforms, noted Jason Hoffman, head of product area cloud infrastructure at Ericsson.

The two companies also have partnered to offer a certified and seamless experience for Cloud SDN, Ericsson's software-defined networking solution, and the Red Hat OpenStack Platform, Red Hat's production-ready OpenStack offering.

The companies will work together to certify Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat OpenStack Platform for HDS 8000, Ericsson's hyperscale data center solution.

Verizon earlier this year completed what may have been the largest NFV OpenStack cloud deployment in the industry, across five of the company's U.S. data centers.

Verizon worked with Big Switch Networks, Dell and Red Hat on the OpenStack pod-based design, which allowed it to deploy more than 50 racks in five data centers in less than a nine-month period.

The NFV deployment was designed to meet a number of project needs: to be resilient at scale; resist bandwidth bottlenecks; provide network design flexibility; offer reduced operational complexity; be compliant; and secure against cyberintrusion and other threats.

Red Hat previously has worked with other major telecom firms, including Alcatel-Lucent, Telefonica and Nokia Networks.

David Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He has written for Reuters, Bloomberg, Crain's New York Business and The New York Times.

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