The edge compute environment is going to unleash a wide variety of new hardware and software platforms. We expect innovation in the following areas:
- Universal customer premises equipment (uCPE): With VNFs and edge services running at a customer premise, devices such as uCPE, that offer a certain amount of compute, possibly storage and different network connections are likely to get popular.
- Edge compute nodes: A new breed of ruggedized servers and server chambers are emerging that will be co-located with the radio e.g. eNodeB.
- Servers optimized for the central office: Several vendors are targeting a CORD or virtual central office (VCO) with optimized servers (see OCP below).
- Micro data centers and Micro-Modular data center: A smart city could require a location next to a highway as the edge; examples such as these will require micro datacenters (< 100kW, < 20 racks) in a wide range of locations.
- Data plane acceleration: The edge will have to be extremely efficient given the fixed and limited amount of real-estate available. For this reason, data plane acceleration ranging from SmartNICs, GPGPU for machine learning and FPGA accelerators will gain popularity.