Ericsson Launches Edge Gravity

Earlier this month, Ericsson launched Edge Gravity, a service that offers delivery at the edge via linking up data centers with the last-mile networks of over 80 global partners, including telcos, cable operators and mobile service providers. As the demand for lower latency applications increases through uses such as IoT, gaming and virtual reality, dependable computing capabilities at the edge are increasingly needed. Edge computing addresses the growth of data demands and user experience expectations.

The Launch of Edge Gravity

Edge Gravity was revealed in part via a Twitter post from a new Edge Gravity account on November 9th.

According to Ericsson, Edge Gravity is “the world’s first global-scale edge cloud platform and ecosystem”. By deploying compute directly inside the network of the ISPs, Edge Gravity is at first focused on expanding the reach of certain CDNs and supporting a range of latency-sensitive services and apps.

For Ericsson customers, Edge Gravity offers a cost-effective way of increasing website speeds and delivering a better experience by accessing delivery at the edge and using the operator’s local infrastructure to bring content closer to each user.

The First of Ericsson’s Accelerated Units

Yves Boudreau, Edge Gravity’s chief marketing officer, told Light Reading that it was the first unit within Ericsson to employ a new model that involves scaling up through being given the freedom to have a startup-like agility. Edge Gravity is part of a larger initiative within Ericsson’s Technology & Emerging Business Unit that concentrates on new areas of the business known as “accelerated units”, which Ericsson is attempting to scale up by giving more autonomy. It has its own separate sales and marketing teams and IT system/infrastructure and is the first unit within Ericsson to start to use this model.

How Edge Gravity Works

Edge Gravity has been worked on internally for over a year. It began by building its own core network, which comprises of 22 locations currently. This then connects to an edge network made up of over 80 last-mile network providers, which Edge Gravity has signed on. The service providers lend their rack space, power and connectivity, which is the reverse of usual arrangements.

“Rather than selling to the service providers, we are making them suppliers to us,” said Boudreau, who additionally leads the partnership and ecosystem strategy at the unit.

Ericsson is paid by the content provider, then shares a portion of that revenue with the operators based on the amount of traffic it brings to their network.

Those service providers signed on include Rogers Communications Inc., Telstra Corp. Ltd., Bharti Airtel Ltd., Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., Telefónica , NTT DoCoMo Inc., China Unicom Ltd., Chunghwa Telecom Co. Ltd., Telkom Indonesia and Mobiphone.

The Edge Gravity unit then links its network with a largely open source software stack, which uses OpenStack and Kubernetes.

Currently, its combined network has around 4Tbit/s of capacity, a number which will continue to rise as more partners are brought on board, allowing the network to scale as data demands increase.

The Inspiration Behind Edge Gravity

At the EdgeNext Summit in New York in mid-October, Boudreau presented on Edge Gravity and described the inspiration behind the unit. Ericsson watched service providers fail to further their reach of services in particular beyond their country’s borders, and seeing instead the tech giants like AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure damage their revenues.

“They can’t act globally as a web-scale company can,” he said. “This is our attempt to help our customers and the service providers come to the table collectively.”

Part of Ericsson’s UDN and Partnership with Mode

Edge Gravity is part of the company’s Unified Delivery Network (UDN) initiative, which was announced two years ago with the intentions of helping making the Internet “the next communications satellite” for the video industry and marked the CDN’s foray into edge computing.

In June, Ericsson partnered with Mode to deliver a SD-Core network to enterprises. Mode’s routing technology takes a novel approach to SD-wan to intelligently shift traffic in milliseconds and dynamically adjust to changes in the network and flows of traffic.

The Mode SD-Wan product is being used by Ericsson as an overlay for its edge compute network. Through the combination of Mode’s routing algorithms and UDN Ericsson’s capabilities, Ericsson has been able to create a private core network and offer it to customers as a cloud service.

Mode’s autonomous private network is a breakthrough technology, promising to “to deliver the performance and reliability of networks like MPLS, but with the flexibility, elasticity and affordability of a cloud service”.

Takeaway

Ericsson is one of several CDNs getting into the edge compute fray.

Cloudflare’s breakthrough innovation, Cloudflare Workers, has seen it assume the dominant leadership position among CDNs in terms of edge computing. Its service offers developers the opportunity to build serverless applications on Cloudflare’s global cloud network of 155 data centers.

Ericsson’s further move into the edge compute space with the launch of Edge Gravity promises to give Cloudflare serious competition.

According to a report earlier this year by Orbis Research, the global cloud private network market is certainly worth the effort: it is anticipated to reach $35.73 billion by the end of 2022, increasing at a CAGR of 14.77% between 2016 and 2022.

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