AT&T: 'True Mobile' Is Driving Cloud Edge

Mitch Wagner
11/15/2017
50%
50%

SAN FRANCISCO -- Structure 2017 -- "True mobile use cases" such as autonomous cars, augmented and virtual reality, industrial IoT and robotics require edge computing to meet their performance needs, an AT&T vice president says.

"Those types of capabilities have to have high bandwidth and low latency. That demand requires us to put our cloud at the edge," Amy Wheelus, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) vice president of cloud and D2 platform integration, said Tuesday at the Structure conference here.

For example, a customer might walk into a store, and be identified by edge systems at the store that recognize the customer's mobile device. The customer then receives AR/VR product display of real-time offers. The customer purchases a product and analytics go back to the cloud, which are used to predict future shopping. "It's a closed loop system," Wheelus said.

AT&T is in the midst of an ambitious, multi-year plan to convert its network from purpose-built hardware devices to a software architecture with an open source foundation, more suited to emerging cloud and mobile applications. (See AT&T's Donovan: Resistance to Change Is Futile .)

Wheelus named five key factors driving change to network architecture. First, enterprises need to keep content at the edge of the network, to improve application performance. That means data from the edge is processed at the edge.

Enterprises need to maintain quality of experience, reducing latency and providing more efficient usage of network capacity, Wheelus said.

Networks need to separate hardware and software -- "decompose and disaggregate the access function" is how Wheelus put it -- loosely coupling both hardware and software to improve flexibility, Wheelus said. Indeed, when AT&T talks to its vendors, it tells providers who previously sold AT&T hardware to sell software instead.

And enterprises need to increase application resiliency, improving reliability by reducing transport between the customer and the cloud.

But the most important driver of edge computing is the business case -- those new mobility applications.

To achieve the network flexibility required by edge computing -- and by the exploding bandwidth demands of video and other emerging technologies -- AT&T is committing to an open source strategy. "We are committed 110% to an open source world," Wheelus said.

Last week, AT&T announced an AI open source platform (AT&T Launches New AI, Microservice Initiatives), and it's working with key open source projects, such as OpenStack, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, the Open Network Automation Platform, the Open Networking Foundation ONF, and the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). "The result will be an edge-focused network that can support low latency workloads along with high-performance workloads," Wheelus said.

Our colleagues at Light Reading have reported in great depth about AT&T's open source and cloud initiatives. Here are some of their key articles and video:

— Mitch Wagner Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn profile Visit my blog Follow me on Facebook Editor, Enterprise Cloud News

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Susan Fourtané
50%
50%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Blogger
11/17/2017 | 6:49:31 PM
Open source
Two things we are seeing more often in terms of networks: open source and the cloud. AT&T and its commitment to a 110% open source strategy responds to this trend.
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
11/15/2017 | 10:15:58 AM
edge
<For example, a customer might walk into a store, and be identified by edge systems at the store that recognize the customer's mobile device. The customer then receives AR/VR product display of real-time offers. The customer purchases a product and analytics go back to the cloud, which are used to predict future shopping. "It's a closed loop system," Wheelus said>

and one that holds great appeal to marketers. I suppose, though, that you would need to get opt-in from the customers, at least in any place subject to the same degree of regulated data privacy as the EU guidelines.
More Blogs from Wagner’s Ring
Equinix is initially testing virtual router and firewall in the US and Europe, with plans to extend into Asia soon, to help make network connections more agile and responsive for enterprise customers.
While networks alone won't deliver enterprise transformation, robust, software-defined networks are needed for enterprises to transform, says Sorabh Saxena, president, business operations for AT&T business solutions.
Telefónica turned to Juniper and Nokia to meet exploding demand in Spain. Upgrade raises network capacity to 10 Tbit/s, with room to grow.
Apple haters have been sounding the alarm for a decade, but this time the bad news is real.
Superior technology isn't enough.
Featured Video
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
September 17-19, 2019, Dallas, Texas
October 1-2, 2019, New Orleans, Louisiana
October 10, 2019, New York, New York
October 22, 2019, Los Angeles, CA
November 5, 2019, London, England
November 7, 2019, London, UK
December 3, 2019, New York, New York
December 3-5, 2019, Vienna, Austria
March 16-18, 2020, Embassy Suites, Denver, Colorado
May 18-20, 2020, Irving Convention Center, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events