One of the major outcomes of OpenDev is a group interested in developing use cases and reference architectures for this emerging tech.

SAN FRANCISCO — The edge will soon be everywhere — telecoms, retail, internet of things, supply chains – and an all-star group of industry experts has pledged to build use cases and reference architectures for it.

That’s one of the major outcomes of OpenDev, a recent two-day event sponsored by the Ericsson, Intel and the OpenStack Foundation. OpenDev was devised as more of a workshop than a traditional conference with the first day featuring sessions more like working groups based on key topics including “Thin Control Plane,” “Deployment Considerations” and “Zero-Touch Provisioning.”

Reference architecture was one of the “meatiest of all the sessions” said Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation who facilitated the 90-minute closing session of the September 7-8 event. The takeaways from all sessions are summarized together on a single Etherpad and you can also check the event schedule for Etherpads from the individual sessions.

Participants from the reference architecture session said the next action is “to discuss and determine what functions are managed by OpenStack and what is managed by the layer above when managing edge nodes. The outcome is potentially a set of whitepapers (one per use case) with straw man deployment designs.”

Volunteers to push forward efforts here include veteran OpenStack members, employees of multinational tech conglomerates and telcos. Industries identified as solid terrain for edge include: Retail, supply chain, utilities, industrial telematics, autonomous vehicles, industrial IoT, agriculture and medical tech.

There were five major edge use cases identified to work on:

  • Micro Edge Device (Remote Radio Head / Remote Radio Unit, CPE / set top box, runs a single instance, instance changes infrequently)
  • Small Edge Device (coffee shop / POS for a store / cell tower site / FTTN cab, multiple instances, instances change occassionally)
  • Medium Edge Backhaul Critical Deployment (C-RAN / big cell site / NBN POI, multiple instances, instances change daily)
  • Medium Edge Backhaul Non-Critical Deployment (big box retail / cloudlet, multiple instances, instances change daily)
  • Large Edge Deployment (region DC, thousands of instances, instances changing constantly)

Verizon’s Beth Cohen noted in the closing session that “there isn’t really an ecosystem of vendors for edge, what we have now is coming out of internal requirements, there’s nobody to go to.” When another participant asked her if it should stay that way, she said “No! It’s very early and this is an opportunity.”

Stay tuned for more on how you can get involved and on these emerging edge computing reference architectures.

Cover Photo // CC BY NC