Convergence in the MEC ecosystem
I’ve been looking over some of my previous entries lately and noticed how many were touching on the subject of interaction between ETSI MEC and other standard and open source bodies. The subject is indeed still one of significant interest and the question about “fragmentation” and “competition” is one that comes up much too frequently.
Those of you who’ve read some of my previous musings on this subject might recall my position on this subject. Standards and open source serve very different functions: standards ensure interoperability between components where it may be necessary and open source provides implementations of such components. As such, the two types of bodies are highly complementary. Moreover, I’ve also maintained that even in the standards space itself little duplication of effort exists around MEC. Alas, hard evidence to support my view was previously missing – but that is changing fast.
Building on the cooperation agreement that ETSI and LF Edge signed last year, ETSI MEC and LF Edge’s Akraino project have been increasingly working together and MEC APIs are finding their way into the various Akraino blueprints. Evidence of this can be found, for example, in the MEC Ecosystem wiki (https://mecwiki.etsi.org/index.php?title=MEC_Ecosystem), which currently lists 2 Akraino blueprints with MEC API usage – precisely the model I’ve been highlighting all along.
Another significant achievement is the well-defined complimentary work between 3GPP SA6 and ETSI MEC towards a definition of a more completely standardized 3GPP based MEC systems. The fruits of this labor are now available in a joint published white paper: https://www.etsi.org/newsroom/news/1806-2020-07-new-etsi-white-paper-harmonizing-standards-for-edge-computing-a-synergized-architecture-leveraging-etsi-isg-mec-and-3gpp-specifications and are also the subject of an upcoming webinar: https://www.etsi.org/events/upcoming-events/1811-webinar-boost-innovation-and-create-business-opportunities-with-mobile-edge-computing
Both of these are key examples of the convergence occurring in the MEC ecosystem. As the industry is beginning to move towards commercial deployments of MEC we should expect to see an ever increasing number of these and then. This should also change our focus away from a fruitless discussion of “fragmentation” and “competition” among industry groups towards figuring out how to put together well-designed systems using the tools each group provides.