Radisys will use specifications from the ETSI Multi-access Edge Computing Industry Specification Group (MEC ISG) for its own platform. However, the company says it remains committed to other edge standardization efforts such as the recently launched Akraino Project.
Natasha Tamaskar, vice president of global marketing and sales strategy at Radisys, said the company decided to use the ETSI MEC standard for its edge computing software platform because it was the best fit for its customers.
“We will go wherever our customers need us to go and that right now is in the direction of fully open solutions,” Tamaskar said. “Operators don’t want to guess right now on what they need to support specific applications. If the platform is open, disaggregated, and has a lot of APIs, they can build the network they want, not what someone else thinks they need.”
The ETSI MEC ISG is intended for multiple multi-access edge hosts deployed by different operator-owned networks that run edge applications in a collaborative manner. It is a generic framework that can open the network and expose information for authorized third-party applications. By having a standardized system, developers are ensured of interoperability for their applications as well as consistency with the operator’s system. This, in turn, accelerates the development of third-party apps.
“There are a lot of proprietary interfaces out there and that makes connecting those difficult,” Tamaskar said. “That’s why we are sticking with an ETSI-based platform.”
The ETCI MEC ISG last year released its first package of standardized APIs that will support MEC interoperability. The APIs are based upon a generic set of design principles and patterns. ETSI added that the TM Forum and Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) contributed to the process.
The Radisys platform builds on those specifications. It uses a P4-based data plane to support user plane function (UPF) at the edge to provide lower latency. It allows customers to plug in their own application virtual network functions (VNFs) to be initiated, orchestrated, programmed, and managed through the system. It’s also access agnostic, meaning it is compatible with wireless and wireline technologies to provide operators with more choice in terms of edge connectivity.
Tamaskar noted that while the platform does not include hardware, it leverages the Intel Xeon processor-based platforms and Intel’s Network Edge Virtualization software development kit (SDK).
“There are multiple different types of implementations possible, and someone needs to be able to pull it all together for operators,” Tamaskar explained. “That’s where we come in. We are not about building the applications themselves but providing the access agnostic platform to enable different applications.”
India’s Reliance Industries recently announced it is acquiring Radisys for nearly $68 million. Radisys CEO Brian Bronson said in a statement that the company will continue to work independently after the Reliance acquisition. Reliance Industries is the parent company of Reliance Jio, India’s upstart mobile operator, which is building a greenfield SDN network.
Akraino Project Support
The Radisys platform appears to compete with a number of other edge computing platforms that have recently flooded the market. One of the more prominent is the Akraino Project, which Radisys is also a founding member.
The Akraino Project was launched into the Linux Foundation earlier this year using seed code from AT&T. 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.
“It’s clearly one of the leading programs in open source,” Tamaskar said of the project. “But we are not locked into one specific arena. We clearly support the Akraino vision and what they are putting together. But it’s not the only one and the only way to do things.”