Home5GNokia intros cloud data centre for industrial automation at the network edge

Nokia intros cloud data centre for industrial automation at the network edge

Nokia has unveiled a new cloud-based data centre for edge computing. The Finnish telecoms vendor said the new data centre solution supports automation functions in industrial settings, as well as localised data processing in standard network architecture.

New 5G technologies will encourage operators to implement a layered cloud architecture, it noted, which includes centralised and regional data centres, as well as high-processing capabilities deployed at the network edge, closer to where traffic is generated and where space is traditionally limited.

The company’s new ‘open edge server,’ serving low-latency data processing in cloud-based radio networks, supports the last of these scenarios, and effectively extends the remit of its AirFrame data centre portfolio to cover all of them.

“The edge cloud will play an essential role in delivering the compute power required for 5G,” said Marc Rouanne, president of mobile networks at Nokia.

Open edge-based data centres will enable network providers to deploy new infrastructure and launch new services more cheaply and quickly, it said, citing industrial automation in the enterprise space, as well as virtual reality applications in the consumer market as typical use cases for edge computing.

Dimitris Mavrakis, research director at ABI Research, noted the requirement for edge computing in telecom networks is changing, with new technologies and applications. Nokia’s solution offers “a graceful introduction of edge computing,” he said.

“Its orchestration and feature compatibility with existing Nokia products will provide for a lower friction transition to a distributed environment.”

The ultra-compact hardware, designed for deployment at existing base station sites, runs Nokia’s ReefShark chipset and supports pluggable acceleration modules for 4G and 5G compatibility, including for artificial intelligence and machine learning based applications. Its chassis allows up to five servers, each with a single next generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor.

Rouanne said: “The Nokia AirFrame open edge server will deliver the right decentralisation of 4G and 5G networks. We can work with operators to ensure that data centre capabilities are deployed exactly where they are needed to manage demands as they expand their service offering.”

Dan Rodriguez, vice president of Intel’s data centre group, said: “Nokia and Intel are bringing the performance and capabilities of Intel architecture-based cloud data centres to the edge to deliver the optimal end user experience for 5G deployments including virtual reality, augmented reality and industrial automation.”

The Nokia AirFrame Open Edge server starts shipping in the third quarter.

Separately, ABB has partnered with HPE and German IT hardware maker Rittal to launch a new micro-modular data centre to handle data processing at the network edge in smart factory environments. Its new ‘secure edge data centre’ (SEDC), designed for industrial settings, will allow customers to run enterprise IT in close proximity to their operational technology (OT) environments and factory equipment.

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