The Linux Foundation’s Akraino Edge Stack project is opening up its seed code this week to further bolster the open source software stack. The move is part of the project’s progress from “formation into execution” and comes at a time when investments are starting to pour into the edge and multi-access edge computing (MEC) ecosystem.
Arpit Joshipura, general manager for networking and orchestration at the Linux Foundation, said the availability of the seed code will allow the community to begin digging into the platform and narrow down potential use cases.
“It’s about framing the scope of what those use cases will be and also what use cases we will not focus on,” Joshipura said.
The initial scenarios include creating integrated stacks for telecom-related use cases at the edge and remote edge that require between 5 milliseconds and 20 milliseconds of latency, and enterprise and industrial IoT stacks that will require less than 5 milliseconds of latency.
The seed code is based on AT&T’s Network Cloud blueprint work that it contributed to the Linux Foundation earlier this year. That AT&T code is targeted at developing carrier-grade computing applications running in virtual machines (VMs) and containers.
The Linux Foundation used that code to form the Akraino project. Joshipura said the foundation has spent the past several months working with that code to make sure it’s ready for use in the open source community. This includes removing any licensing issues that could trip up ongoing development and now open sourcing that code within the Linux Foundation.
The Akraino project is using the code to support carrier availability and performance needs in cloud services optimized for edge computing systems and applications. That support includes interfaces for northbound traffic to handle device applications and into the cloud layer; southbound traffic into the network; and a central layer to deal with device traffic and management.
“If portions of the code in Akraino should be moved upstream into something like Kubernetes or OpenStack then we will work to make that happen,” Joshipura said.
The project will also work on areas currently unmet by other open source projects, and it will also integrate with those efforts.
For instance, both the Linux Foundation and AT&T mentioned Akraino complementing the Open Networking Automation Platform (ONAP) to automate services from the edge to the core of the network. That integration is convenient as much of the ONAP source code also came from AT&T’s ECOMP initiative that was combined with Open-O to form ONAP.
Mazin Gilbert, vice president of advanced technology at AT&T Labs, also lumped OpenStack into the mix to power IoT and 5G.
“Akraino, coupled with ONAP and OpenStack, will help to accelerate progress toward development of next-generation, network-based edge services, fueling a new ecosystem of applications for 5G and IoT,” Gilbert noted in a statement.
Akraino also works with the recently updated EdgeX Foundry, which is the Linux Foundation’s open source industrial IoT group. Joshipura said that integration will focus on creating a stack for controlling remote edge locations using disaggregated hardware and developing a lightweight stack for low latency remote edge and IoT gateways.
“That work will be mostly on the non-telecom parts of what Akraino can do,” Joshipura explained.
Akraino will also tap into the analytics capabilities of the Acumos AI project that was created late last year by AT&T and Tech Mahindra. The project is designed to provide a common framework and platform to assist in the building and managing of AI platforms.
The Akraino project started with support from AT&T, Intel, and Wind River. It has since attracted ARM, Dell EMC, Ericsson, Huawei, inwinStack, Juniper Networks, Qualcomm, Nokia, Radisys, and Red Hat.
The project continues to operate with a lightweight governance structure and supports technical contributions from all participants. It has a technical steering committee that includes active committers with no prerequisite of financial contribution. And its governing board includes one representative from each member organization.
Joshipura said that group has already started weekly group calls on the project. AT&T this week is also hosting the project’s first developer summit. “This is really an important time for the project, and we are seeing great response from our members that want to see this project prosper,” Joshipura said.
That timing is also important as segments of the edge ecosystem are garnering considerable investments.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) CEO Antonio Neri said the company would invest $4 billion in edge technologies and services over the next four years. That followed Microsoft’s commitment to invest $5 billion in IoT and edge technologies over the same timeframe.