Akraino Brings Carrier Grade Reliability to the Edge Cloud Infrastructure


Since the announcement of Akraino, the new open source project from AT&T in collaboration with Linux Foundation, there has been excited talk of what such projects could mean for Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing, and how 5G networks will benefit from them.

In a recent blog post, Melissa Arnoldi, president of technology development at AT&T, explains the shift towards edge computing “We’re moving network access to cloud computation, but we’re keeping it physically close to our users. Rather than travel over wireless connections to data centers hundreds or thousands of miles away, we’ll propel this data across super-responsive 5G networks to computers just a few miles away.”

With IoT and mobile technologies largely driving the development of edge computing systems, any upgrades to carrier, provider, and IoT networks will of course be welcomed, however, results will only be known after the open source project code is released sometime in the second quarter of 2018.

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation has a vast number of corporate members from industry leaders such as Microsoft, IBM, Intel, AT&T, Cisco, and NEC, to name but a few. The foundation focuses on helping to build open source technological development projects that are feasible for commercial deployment

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at what the Akraino project is and how it is supposed to work as well as the project’s key objectives, so, let’s jump straight in.

What is the Akraino Project?

So, what is it?

Essentially, Akraino is an attempt to improve edge cloud infrastructure by creating an open source software stack capable of supporting high-availability cloud services that are optimized for edge computing systems and applications.

The project will also look to complement the existing networking projects of the Linux Foundation, known collectively as LF Networking, as evidenced by a statement from Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation, in which he claimed “Akraino Edge Cloud complements LF Networking projects like ONAP in automating services from edge to core.”

The Linux Foundation’s Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) project formed in 2017 with the aim to create an open, standards-driven architecture and implementation platform that could be used to instantiate and automate differentiated new services while also supporting complete lifecycle management. It is hoped that ONAP will assist in the development of new and enhanced network function virtualization methods and tools.

With regards to the technical details of Akraino, those involved have kept their cards close to their chest and nothing is known for certain as of yet, however, as previously mentioned, open source project code is expected in the second quarter of 2018.

What are its Objectives?

The objectives of the Akraino Edge Stack would be to provide users with an increased level of flexibility so as to enable them to scale edge devices quickly, maximize the applications or subscribers able to be supported on each server, while also helping to ensure the reliability of critical systems that need to be permanently up.

According to the Linux Foundation’s website, Akraino “will create an open source software stack to improve the state of edge cloud infrastructure for carrier, provider, and IoT networks.” Initially, the project will also receive code from AT&T, who are already making large strides in their edge computing technologies.

According the release on the Linux Foundation’s website, the code initially being supplied by AT&T is “designed for carrier-scale edge computing applications running in virtual machines and containers to support reliability and performance requirements.” This would not be the first time that AT&T and the Linux Foundation have collaborated in such a way on similar projects.

An edge software stack that is able to run cloud services that are optimized for edge IoT devices and applications will require cloud abstraction technologies that companies such as AT&T have a great deal of experience in, making them an ideal collaborator.

The project is also looking to work well with other open source ventures such as OpenStack, an open-source software platform for cloud computing that is usually deployed in a infrastructure as a service (IaaS) format, where resources such as virtual servers are provided to customers and subscribers.

According to a statement from Mazin Gilbert, Vice President of Advanced Technology at AT&T Labs, “Akraino, coupled with ONAP and OpenStack, will help to accelerate progress towards development of next-generation, network-based edge services, fueling a new ecosystem of applications for 5G and IoT.”

While we cannot yet judge the design or performance of Akraino, it will certainly be interesting to see how good a start the project gets off to when it eventually does release the first glimpses of code.

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