Mark Fisher

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Edge Computing – Building a Partner Ecosystem for the Service Provider Edge Cloud

The mania attached to edge computing as a general industry trend continues unabated. The story arc is simple – increasingly, compute workloads need to be pushed out to the edge, away from the centralized cloud and closer to the point where data is created or consumed. The drivers for edge computing are threefold. First, more data is being generated by myriad devices far from the centralized cloud and it is more efficient to handle their computing needs using nearby resources rather than at a centralized location. Second, many devices and use cases need extremely low latency response from the cloud so they can function properly. These low latency requirements call for edge computing resources. As examples, consider a self-driving car asking the cloud if it should make the next right turn to avoid traffic or a heart surgeon performing a bypass operation remotely. Finally, a broad range of services should be delivered from the edge because the transport cost of moving traffic to and from the centralized cloud or regional point of presence is far higher than the cost of delivering the service from the network edge. Think 4K live streaming of the Olympics or 360-degree immersive 8K video or watching a live event in another city with a high-resolution virtual reality headset. Taken together, these drivers confirm the growing need for edge computing resources and, more importantly, the role of the service provider edge cloud as a vital part of the evolution of cloud computing. 

A Torrent of Data is Generated Every Day

Today, data is being generated at a rate of 1.7 Mbps for every person on earth. As evidence of the acceleration of data generation, over half of the world’s data was created in the last two years. Moreover, less than 2% has been analyzed. A full examination of this data is an opportunity to gain new insights, consider new business models and create new services.

There are plenty of other mind-boggling statistics that attempt to capture the vast, unfathomable depths of the Internet today. For example, if you tried to watch all the videos on YouTube, it would be a challenge because by the time you finished the first video, 1 thousand more would have been added. If YouTube stopped adding videos, it would still take you 60,000 years (yes, years) of non-stop watching to view every video in YouTube archives today.

When you consider the impact of this data, even if only looking at streaming media traffic, you quickly get to another important consequence of our data-centric world. Namely, ISP networks today devote nearly all their capacity at peak time to the delivery of streaming video to consumers. Naturally, this category is dominated by Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, Facebook and YouTube. However, regional publishers like Globo in Brazil and live events like Premier League Football in the UK can create traffic spikes that eclipse the largest video-on-demand streaming brands.

While the drivers for edge computing make the case for the service provider edge cloud, the scale of data creation and consumption today establish the urgency for the ecosystem to organize and act. To this end, we want to be thoughtful about the ecosystem we build and the partners we choose. As we make progress, we want to share some highlights of Qwilt’s partnerships and progress with the ecosystem.

Thought Leadership and Vision – Qwilt’s Partnership with Intel

The right partner ecosystem will emerge only when guided by bold vision and strong leadership. When it comes to vision for edge computing and leadership to organize and drive the industry toward a common goal, few companies have better credentials than Intel. As a long-time member of Intel’s Network Builders program and, more recently, as a contributor in the more select Intel Edge Ecosystem, Qwilt has a seat at the table with a wide range of edge computing industry leaders. For example, in early April, Qwilt participated as a CDN technology partner in Intel’s Data-centric Innovation Day in San Francisco. At this well-attended event, Intel announced a new line of products, including new processors and memory, designed to address the data trends mentioned earlier.

The Intel and Qwilt CDN use case demonstrated at this event can be viewed below, presented by Intel’s VP/GM, Xeon Products & Data Center Marketing, Lisa Spelman:

Lisa Spelman, Vice President/General Manager, Xeon Products & Data Center Marketing, Intel

As part of the keynote address, Intel CEO Bob Swan articulated his vision and strategy for data-centric Innovation – “Intel long ago recognized this opportunity and underwent a strategic shift in silicon innovation towards a data-centric infrastructure that will move, store and process data from core data centers to the intelligent edge and everywhere in between. Intel is transforming from a PC-centric company to a data-centric company.”

Later in the same keynote address, Navin Shenoy, EVP and GM, Data Center Group, added, “We’ve reached an inflection point where data transforms entire organizations and, in some cases, whole industries who leverage that data.”

Navin outlined three mega trends that help explain how the industry is evolving today:

  • Proliferation of cloud computing. This is the most mature of the three and is now fueling the modernization of Enterprise IT.
  • Growth of AI and analytics. This growth is a natural outcome of the need for automation and machine intelligence to sift through and analyze the data all around us.
  • Cloudification of the network and edge. The same concepts and technologies that created the cloud are now transforming it. As 5G emerges, more compute will move to the mobile edge where data is being generated and consumed.

Navin also observed, “We have seen increasing computing demand while at the same time a broad diversification of workload needs. From security to virtualization to database to network to multi-cloud to orchestration to AI and analytics. Our strategy is to have more advanced products that move more, store more and process everything.”

At Qwilt, we place high value on the vision and leadership Intel brings to the edge computing opportunity. We are honored to be an Intel partner and will continue to leverage our partnership as we continue to build our ecosystem. Furthermore, Qwilt is very focused on the third mega trend – cloudification of the network and edge. The edge is where we thrive, and this trend magnifies the value proposition we bring to service providers around the world – enabling the service provider edge cloud.

We want to share some more specific partners and edge computing use cases through the rest of this post.

Edge Computing Use Cases – Select Partners Showcase the Value of the Edge

As we continue to evangelize the value of the service provider edge cloud, we’ve met like-minded partners around the world who share the same vision of transformation. Recently, at MWC (formerly Mobile World Congress) in Barcelona, we participated in joint demonstrations of edge computing with several partners. We will share these with you through video interviews to bring to life the wide range of partners with whom we collaborate and the solutions we have created together.

Athonet – Mobile Edge Offload

Athonet is a software and service company that provides a software-based mobile core for voice and data networks that runs in cloud, virtualized or enterprise data center environments. Athonet also provides a software-based S-Gateway local breakout function that creates the Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) environment in which Qwilt’s virtual CDN (vCDN) can operate. Together, Athonet and Qwilt bring a combined MEC + vCDN solution to mobile service providers.

We talked with Athonet CEO Karim El Malki in Barcelona about Athonet’s mission and its partnership with Qwilt.

Karim El Malki, CEO, Athonet

Cellnex – Micro Edge Data Center at the Tower

Cellnex is one of the largest mobile infrastructure companies in Europe. Based in Barcelona, Cellnex owns and operates over 45,000 sites across Italy, Netherlands, United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and Spain. When considering their vast and distributed infrastructure in Europe, one can easily see why many believe the mobile tower site will quickly evolve to include edge computing and content delivery functionality as 5G networks launch around the world.

Qwilt Vice President of Europe, Alberto Anaya, provides an overview of the trends driving mobile edge computing and describes our partnership with Cellnex. Qwilt and Cellnex jointly demonstrated content delivery from the mobile edge at MWC in Barcelona earlier this year.

Alberto Anaya, Vice President, Europe, Qwilt

Techmahindra – One Touch Cloud

Also at MWC 2019, Techmahindra showcased their, a network automation and managed service framework, designed to accelerate 5G adoption by automating all of the key network lifecycle stages. Techmahindra included Qwilt’s vCDN as part of its overall solution for service providers to highlight key 5G use cases, such as vCDN, that deliver high value today to service providers and their customers.

QCT – Next Generation Central Office (NGCO)

QCT, a subsidiary of the giant Taiwanese ODM Quanta Computer, has developed a next-generation central office solution based on Intel architecture. QCT’s commercial solution is the realization of the CORD (Central Office Re-architected as a Data Center) initiative. QCT featured Qwilt’s vCDN as one of the core applications within their NGCO.

We spoke to Jesper Knutsson, VP of Worldwide Sales at Qwilt, during MWC 2019 about interest in the edge cloud Qwilt is seeing from service providers in all parts of the world. Jesper also discusses edge computing demonstrations we showcased with Intel and our ecosystem partners, including Techmahindra and QCT.

Jesper Knutsson, Vice President, Worldwide Sales, Qwilt

Edge Computing Partner Ecosystem – Accelerating the Service Provider Edge Cloud

We are proud of the edge cloud ecosystem forming and pleased with the partnerships we are developing to extend its capabilities. We are equally proud of the many deployments of Qwilt’s solution in service provider networks around the world. These service provider edge clouds are real-world examples of our ecosystem at work. Each one is contributing to our vision of a global service provider edge cloud that extends the reach of cloud computing to the network edge.