Orange takes a step closer to the edge with Dell

via Flickr © John Liu (CC BY 2.0)

via Flickr © John Liu (CC BY 2.0)

  • New distributed architectures to support 5G, IoT use cases
  • Focused on common hardware spanning on-premise, radio, core
  • Deal offers glimpse at scale of complexity that telcos face at the edge

Orange and Dell EMC have inked a multi-access edge computing partnership that on the face of it reads more like a hand-holding exercise, as operators grapple with the complexity of bringing together telco and IT infrastructure.

The wide-ranging agreement covers everything from use cases and business models, to validating hardware such as GPUs, FPGAs, and SmartNICs for edge workloads. These workloads include cloud and virtual RAN, MEC, and real-time, latency-sensitive applications.

Orange and Dell said their collaboration will culminate in new distributed architectures that deliver a common hardware foundation that reaches from the core, right to the customer premises.

The companies will also work together on AI and machine-learning software for automatically managing edge environments on virtual machines, containers, and bare metal instances.

In addition, they also aim to establish open source consortia and partnerships for the edge ecosystem.

Basically, they're doing a lot. And that's because there's a lot of work to get through if edge computing is going to live up to its promise, which is nothing short of supporting any kind of cloud application, whether carried over cellular, Wi-Fi, or even fixed, that requires near real-time processing in order to work properly. These could be IoT applications or good old-fashioned human ones, used by enterprise, public sector, or consumer customers.

"We believe it's essential to prepare the ecosystem for telco use cases while progressing in our knowledge of the future technologies," said Stephane Demartis, Orange's vice president of corporate cloud infrastructure. "Orange expects from this partnership with Dell EMC not only technical but also business outcomes in order to fuel our strategy towards multi-access edge computing transformation."

Announcements like these show how the industry is working together to get to grips with the complexity of the edge.

Last week, we heard from ARM and container tech specialist Docker, which are working together to provide tools for software makers that want to develop applications for cloud, edge and IoT environments based on ARM architecture.

For Dell, deals like this validate the effort it has put in to become a trusted edge computing partner to the telecoms industry.

"We're working closely with Orange to combine our joint telco best practices with decades of data centre transformation experience to help service providers re-tool their operations to quickly and profitably roll out new 5G services," said Tom Burns, SVP, Dell EMC networking and solutions.

Video, specifically pushing workloads for so-called computer vision, out to the edge, has also been a recent focus area for Dell.

Email Newsletters

Sign up to receive TelecomTV's top news and videos, plus exclusive subscriber-only content direct to your inbox.