Category Archives: Edge Computing

OpenStack Targets Edge Computing, Launches OpenDev Event

OpenStack has become the clear open source choice for turning organizations’ data centers into private clouds. But now OpenStack is looking beyond the data center and out towards Edge Computing.

OpenStack’ 16th (and latest) release, codenamed Pike, puts emphasis on composable infrastructure which is stated to “make possible use cases like edge computing and NFV“. While Network Function Virtualization (NFV) has been picking up at OpenStack over the last years with good traction in the Telecommunications industry, edge computing hasn’t been properly addressed so far. Now OpenStack is set to change that.

OpenStack organized OpenDev 2017 conference last month in San Francisco to “advance the future of EDGE computing“. The event drew much attention with participants from over 30 organizations. Seeing the great interest in Edge Computing in the Telecoms industry it wasn’t surprising to see at OpenDev major Telecoms carriers such as Verizon, AT&T and NTT (which last month founded with Toyota and others an Automotive Edge Computing Consortium), as well as vendors such as Intel, VMware, Ericsson, Red Hat and Huawei. Besides the Telecom industry you could see at OpenDev retail giants such as eBay and Wallmart and others.

OpenDev-2017-edgecomputing

OpenStack also collaborates with other edge computing groups such as Open Edge Computing and The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).

While OpenStack promotes a private cloud approach to edge computing, the public cloud vendors are also targeting edge computing. The battle between private and public cloud options which began at the centralized cloud will surely continue on to the edge as well.

Here are a few of the interesting bits from OpenDev 2017:

Verizon‘s Beth Cohen presented Verizon’s Virtual Network Services offering cloud-based services such as Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN), security, and routing at a uCPE “OpenStack in a Box” at customer premises:

AT&T‘s Kandan Kathirvel and Rodolfo Pacheco talked about telco challenges such as supporting massive scale of millions of edge nodes, and presented AT&T’s prototyped solution, based entirely on open source such as Google’s Kubernetes and ONAP orchestration (based on AT&T’s ECOMP merged with OPEN-O under Linux Foundation):

Jonathan Bryce from OpenStack Foundation shared on his keynote more on OpenStack’s view and plans for edge computing:

For more information on OpenStack’s Edge Computing click here.

For more information on OpenDev 2017 click here.

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Edge Computing Draws Startups And Venture Capital

Edge computing is the new hype, some see it as the next big thing after Cloud Computing. Edge computing is drawing attention by the major cloud vendors,  as well as by Tier 1 telecom carriers, standards bodies and consortia.

But the big guys are not alone here. As with anything hot and innovative, Edge Computing draw also the attention of the lean and mean – the startups.

Vapor IO is an interesting US-based startup which provides an edge computing platform enabling simple way to deploy and manage cloud servers. Vapor IO provides both the hardware and the software to remotely administer, manage and monitor the distributed environment. Its main focus is helping telecom carriers and wireless base-station landowners to offer cloud compute capabilities in close proximity to the Radio Access Network (RAN). In June Vapor IO launched Project Volutus, with the ambitious mission statement:

Project Volutus seeks to build the world’s largest network of distributed edge data centers by placing thousands of Vapor Chambers at the base of cell towers and directly cross-connecting them to the wireless networks. This will make it possible to push true cloud capabilities to within yards of the end device or application, one hop from the wireless network.

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Vapor IO backs its ambitious statement with a strategic investor Crown Castle, the largest wireless tower company in the US, which leases towers to all the top wireless carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. With Vapor IO tapping to Crown Castle’s existing network of 40,000 cell towers and 60,000 miles of fiber optic lines in metropolitan areas, the startup seems up to fulfilling its vision. Vapor IO is also among the founding members of Open19, a an open foundation formed by LinkedIn together with HPE and GE to establish open standards for truly open, innovative platform for data centers and edge platforms.

Another interesting US-based startup is Packet with its bare-metal distributed micro datacenters. In July Packet announced expanding to Ashburn, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Seattle, along with new international locations in Frankfurt, Toronto, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Sydney. This amounts to 15 global locations to date. Packet’s technology is based on the hottest industry trends: cloud and containers. They also partnered with major new-age technology players such as Docker, Mesosphere and Cloud66. Packet’s vision is also well-backed, seeing its last funding round of $9.4M led by telecom and internet giant SoftBank. In their customer base you’ll find Cisco, the industry leader in networking.

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Edge Computing Gets A Push From Telcos To Power Self-Driving Cars, AR/VR and Other Future 5G Applications

The next revolution after Cloud Computing is Edge Computing, a revolution pushed by industry trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data Analytics and Machine Learning. The idea behind Edge Computing is simple: doing the processing not in central cloud data centers hundreds of miles away but rather “at the edge”, in close proximity to the source (end user, cellphone, smart car etc.). Running at the edge, according to AT&T, can “boost the potential of self-driving cars, augmented and virtual reality, robotic manufacturing, and more”.

But where is this “edge”? And who provides it to us?

Could public Cloud Computing vendors serve Edge Computing? In fact, cloud vendors make their money off centralized services, leveraging their economy of scale to serve the masses off their monstrous centralized state-of-the-art data centers. But when it comes to Edge Computing this winning formula breaks since cloud vendors simply don’t have localized edge presence that can reach a few miles from the end user (not even their distributed caching/CDN sites).  Indeed, cloud vendors are starting to recognize the potential threat and are trying to mitigate it by providing some edge computing solutions, but these depend on others to provide the edge location. One might even speculate that Amazon’s recent purchase of Whole Foods store chain may also serve as local real estate for edge computing aspirations.

So who has the edge presence?

The perfect candidates are the Telcos, the communications service providers who own the access networks that deliver data, telephony and even TV to every home, business and cellphone. A prime example is AT&T, which last month announced its plans to deliver Edge Computing:

Instead of sending commands hundreds of miles to a handful of data centers scattered around the country, we’ll send them to the tens of thousands of central offices, macro towers, and small cells usually never farther than a few miles from our customers.

AT&T will start deploying Edge Computing in dense urban areas. The first deployed service is FlexWareSM, targeted for enterprise customers. But that’s just the first step. AT&T sets out to “reinvent the cloud through Edge Computing”, leveraging its other cutting-edge technologies of Software Defined Networking and Network Virtualization. Later on, with its next generation 5G networks, AT&T says it expects to reach “single-digit millisecond latency” – an ambitious goal indeed.

AT&T is not the only one in Telecoms to explore Edge Computing

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has set out in 2014 to standardize edge computing for the telcos under its Multi-Access Edge Computing architecture (MEC, originally Mobile Edge Computing which was expanded last year to cover both mobile and fixed access networks). There are also open-source initiatives such as Open Fog Consortium (initiated by Cisco which coined the term “Fog Computing“), Open Edge Computing, and the recently-announced Automotive Edge Computing Consortium (which focuses on connected cars), each with its proud list of member telcos teamed up with vendors and academic institutions (some members participating in more than one). Edge Computing is also widely discussed by telcos in 5G forums, seeing that the upcoming 5th Generation networks will face not just a surge in bandwidth demand but also rising needs by massive IoT communications and latency-sensitive applications.

Open Edge Computing

Open Edge Computing

Telcos can leverage their unique footprint to provide Edge Computing services

The world of Edge Computing is getting a serious boost from the Telco industry, with its existing ubiquitous local points of presence, customer base and service provider capabilities – all the ingredients needed to provide edge computing as a service. This is also a life-saver for the telcos, which are facing the risk of becoming “just a dumb pipe”. While telcos largely failed to compete in the public cloud arena, Edge Computing enables telcos to fight off the cloud vendors and other over-the-top players biting off their business, and bring much-needed value-added services right to the very edge.

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Toyota Launches Automotive Edge Computing Consortium To Address Big Data From Connected and Self Driving Cars

The age of smart connected cars and autonomous vehicles brings with it a new challenge to the automotive industry: Big Data. Japanese auto manufacturer Toyota estimates that the data volume between vehicles and the cloud will reach 10 exabytes (10.7 billion Gigabytes) per month till the year 2025, which is approximately 10,000 times larger than the present volume. This sort of big data challenge calls for Edge Computing.

This challenge brought Toyota to team up with Japanese auto parts maker Denso Corp, Japanese telecoms NTT, Intel and Ericsson to form the Automotive Edge Computing Consortium which was announced a few days ago. This consortium will

develop an ecosystem for connected cars to support emerging services such as intelligent driving and transport, creating of maps with real-time data as well as driving assistance based on cloud computing.

The consortium will use Edge Computing and network design to accommodate automotive big data in a reasonable fashion between vehicles and the cloud.

Last March Toyota showed off its first autonomous test vehicle developed entirely by Toyota Research Institute, following GoogleTeslaUber and others in the race to disrupt transportation. Even consortium member Intel announced last week starting to build a fleet of fully autonomous (level 4 SAE) test cars, based on its acquisition of Mobileye earlier this year.

Toyota states its exploration of autonomous vehicles dates back as far as 2005. Now with edge computing architecture it can also face the associated big data challenge.

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Filed under Autonomous Car, Big Data, Cloud, Edge Computing, Internet of Things, IoT