Quite some time has passed since my last blog entry, and while I thought about a new blog a number of times, a good topic – i.e. one which is appropriate for discussion in a short, informal and public format - just did not seem to present itself. That’s not for the lack of interest or activity in MEC. 2019 is shaping up to be a critical year in which many operators are now public about their plans for edge computing, initial deployments are appearing and, as expected, holes in what the industry has been working on are beginning to be found (witness the much publicized and excellent Telefonica presentation at last month’s Edge Compute Congress). It’s just that it’s hard to blog about on-going work, even when it is very active, much less about internal efforts of various players in MEC. After all, what would that look like “this is hard and we are working hard on it…”
Nevertheless, the time has come. Those of you who follow my random MEC thoughts on a semi-regular basis might recall the subject of that last post ages ago (I mean in February): the need for both a vibrant Open Source community and Standards development in a space like MEC; and how the two are complimentary in that the focus is, by definition, on complimentary problems. And, if you don’t follow me religiously, here is the link: https://www.etsi.org/newsroom/blogs/entry/do-we-still-need-standards-in-the-age-of-open-source, grab a coffee, tea, a…. whatever … and read up!
In a significant way, that post was in part a response to comments and questions like: “There is a lot of confusion in the market, what’s up with ETSI and Akraino and EdgeXFoundry. You guys all seem to compete.” To that, the post provides a rather direct answer of “no we do not – we address different needs.” However, these related questions often followed: “OK, but how well DO YOU actually work together?” To date, one failing of the various players in MEC space has been the lack of a more convincing answer than “well, we all talk and we are all aware of each other.”
That’s now changed in a very significant way. On the heels of a formal cooperation agreement between ETSI and LF Edge (see, e.g. https://www.linuxfoundation.org/press-release/2019/04/etsi-and-the-linux-foundation-sign-memorandum-of-understanding-enabling-industry-standards-and-open-source-collaboration/), the MEC ISG within ETSI and LF Edge’e Akraino project have been working towards moving the industry forward together. The first fruit of this labor is about to ripen – an Akraino Mini-Hackathon, endorsed by ETSI, to be held in San Diego the day before KubeCon. This event is designed to highlight the work Akraino is doing in putting forward solutions which take advantage of ETSI’s Standards, and to allow developers an experience in developing for MEC. The most notable thing about this Hackathon is the model of cooperation – Akraino (and Open Source community) provides implementations to the industry, while the use of ETSI MEC (Standards Org.) standards ensures interoperability across other standards-compliant implementations.
So… that’s it then. We have arrived at a working, standardized solution for MEC, right??? Well, no. If you are looking for that, the mini-hackathon will sorely disappoint you. However, it is a step – an important first step in a growing cooperation between two organizations which should be, over time delivering those operational, standardized components for MEC. The work ahead of ETSI MEC and Akraino is significant, and much of it will lack opportunities for fanfare – as work in our industry often does. Still, there will be more coming from our two organization, so stay tuned…