When we think about 5G, we think about the last mile: The actual 5G wireless technologies between our devices and the internet. But there's another equally important part: The edge and cloud computing that connect the 5G access points with the rest of the internet. Now Google and Intel have joined forces to improve your edge software services once you're hooked up with the internet.
As Shailesh Shukla, Google Cloud VP and Networking general manager, said, "We believe that by partnering across the telecommunications stack -- with application providers, carriers and Communications Service Providers (CSP), hardware providers, and global telecoms -- we can decrease the cost and time-to-market needed for the telecommunications industry to shift to cloud-native 5G, and open new lines of business for CSP as they deliver cloud-native 5G for enterprises."
Special report: 5G: What it means for edge computing
How? By working with Intel to develop reference architectures and technologies to accelerate their deployment of 5G and edge network solutions. "5G," said Dan Rodriguez, Intel corporate VP and general manager of the Network Platforms Group, "is driving a rapid transition to cloud-native technologies. Our efforts with Google Cloud and the broader ecosystem will help them deliver agile, scalable solutions for emerging 5G and edge use cases."
Specifically, they'll be helping CSPs deploy Virtualized RAN (vRAN) and Open Radio Access Network (ORAN) solutions
VRAN you ask? In vRAN, the baseband unit, traditionally a digital signal processor that processes voice and data to smartphones and back again, is replaced by software running commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware. This enables CSPs to use generic software and hardware.
In Google and Intel's plan, 5G vRAN will be deployed using Google Cloud's Anthos application platform with Intel cloud-native platforms and solutions. On this platform, you'll be running Intel's FlexRay reference software. The win for CSPs here will include improved network performance and spectral efficiency, cost efficiencies, and flexible deployment models.
On the same platform, the pair will also use Intel's cloud-native Open Network Edge Service Software (OpenNESS) deployment model. OpenNESS is a Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) software toolkit. It enables highly optimized and performance edge platforms to onboard and manage applications and network functions with cloud-like agility across any type of network.
The OpenNESS open-source distribution makes it easier for cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) developers to create edge computing applications. Specifically, it offers capabilities to speed up application development by:
Abstracting out the network complexity for Cloud and IoT developers making migration of applications from the cloud to the edge easier.
Enabling secure onboarding and application management with an intuitive web-based GUI.
Providing a modular, microservices-based architecture for building functionalities such as access termination, traffic steering, multi-tenancy for services, service registry, service authentication, telemetry, application frameworks, appliance discovery, and control.
Finally, it's built on top of consistent, standardized APIs.
It does this on top of Intel's Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) and Intel Xeon processors to make sure whatever you built on this all works in the field as expected from your testbed operations. The two also provide a Google Cloud-based Network Functions Validation Lab.
To back this up with both business and software support, Google also recently announced an initiative to deliver over 200 partner applications to the edge via Google Cloud's network and 5G.
Sound interesting? Both Google and Intel will be happy to talk to you about how you can work with them to deliver your 5G applications to your customers.