Altran adds Intel’s toolkit to its edge compute platform

Ian Scales
By Ian Scales

Aug 25, 2020

© Flickr/cc-licence/Bob Mical

© Flickr/cc-licence/Bob Mical

  • Altran is working on a developer-focused platform for the edge 
  • Key differentiator for Ensconce is flexibility 
  • And an ability to support a large range of telco and industrial requirements

Altran, part of the Capgemini Group, says it’s enhanced its Ensconce (“to settle securely and/or comfortably”) edge computing platform with Intel’s edge toolkit, Open Network Edge Services Software (OpenNESS) and sundry other Intel technologies. The result is what Shamik Mishra, Vice President & Global Industry Chief Architect at Altran, says is a platform that combines  multiple capabilities, accelerators and frameworks for rapid development of multi-access edge computing (MEC) solutions.

So what’s the differentiator? What will make Ensconce stand out in what is unarguably a crowded field and getting more so by the month?

That’s a difficult one (vendor execs hate selecting one or two qualities in case it appears to put others in the shade) but the answer, apart from ‘everything’, appeared to be flexibility and a focus on developers and their needs. 

Shamik says one key differentiator is Altran’s ability to support a large range of telco and telco customer and enterprises serving a range of industrial requirements. But, he says, Altran thinks a platform has to be implemented in such a way that it is consumable by application developers first and foremost -  they’re key.  

In fact developers and their applications are the driving force for the Altran effort - without applications to accommodate there is no way to prove out and improve the platform. 

“But developers working on gaming or an industrial application will know nothing about 4G or 5G,” so there has to be simplification and we’re extremely focused on that. Also, no platform is perfect. Every platform has to be modified to a certain extent to suit a customer or an enterprise need,” he says.  

Flexibility  is crucial at this point the development of the edge he reiterates, there is no “one size fits all” solution in sight. 

The Ensconce platform can reside on micro data centers close to the access network, at  aggregation points, regional data centres and central offices. Developers can harness low-latency edge applications through software development kits (SDKs) and orchestrate applications across operator networks, monitors and manages applications throughout the lifecycle.

 “Our MEC platform is focused on developer experience and will incorporate relevant application programming interfaces for application developers in both their SDKs and for developer-facing services,” said Pascal Brier, Executive Vice-President of Strategy, Technology and Innovation at Altran. “By integrating Intel technology and toolkits including OpenNESS and OpenVINO into our platform, we will significantly amplify our edge computing solution and strengthen the offering for application developers and operators.”

The inclusion of OpenNESS micro services in Ensconce can support accelerated virtual switching and its  open-source MEC software toolkit enables edge platforms to onboard and manage applications and network functions “with cloud-like agility across any type of network,” is the boast.

“There shouldn’t be any differentiation at the platform level,” says Shamik. Instead he thinks platform providers will differentiate, not on their platforms, but on how and how well they can tackle individual national markets where languages and industries are different. But the basic experience for developers has to be familiar across networks.

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