Putting the “platform” in Multi-Access Edge Computing

We recently announced our participation in the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) standards initiative. MEC is developing a reference architecture for mobile-edge computing, which will be the enabler of mobile-edge clouds.

Mobile Edge Computing enables the implementation of mobile edge applications as software-only entities that run on top of a virtualisation infrastructure, which is located in or close to the network edge. Source: ETSI MEC Framework and Reference Architecture

The decision for CPLANE to participate in ETSI MEC was very simple. Our service orchestration platform fits squarely into the MEC reference architecture, and we further enhance the framework with our software-defined networking solution. In fact, our solutions are essentially plug-and play in the reference architecture.

Let’s start by taking a look at the MEC reference architecture as defined by ETSI:

ETSI mobile edge cloud reference architecture
ETSI mobile edge system reference architecture

There are several key elements of the reference architecture:

  • The user interface (portals/user experience)
  • Operations Support Systems
  • Mobile edge orchestrator
  • Mobile edge platform manager
  • Virtual infrastructure manager
  • Mobile edge platform (and host)

All of these components are linked through one of several defined reference points (Mx = external systems, Mm = management systems, Mp = other platforms).

Enhancing the MEC Reference Architecture

CPLANE’s solutions fit into the reference architecture in a couple of key areas – the mobile edge orchestrator and the data plane within the virtualization infrastructure. Here’s what the picture looks like with CPLANE’s Multi-Site Manager (MSM) and Dynamic Virtual Networks – Data Center (DVNd).

ETSI mobile edge cloud reference architecture with CPLANE NETWORKS
ETSI mobile edge system reference architecture with CPLANE NETWORKS and OpenStack

Multi-Site Manager is a complete service orchestration solution that provides a set of open APIs for virtualized infrastructure deployment and management. These ReST APIs allow seamless integration with northbound OSS and Life Cycle Management (LCM) solutions, and provide a mechanism for describing infrastructure requirements in terms of services as opposed to low-level device and configuration specifications. For example, virtual compute services can be described simply in service and operational terms (e.g., Create, Start, Stop, Reboot, Delete).  MSM then translates those services requests into virtual infrastructure manager (VIM)-specific primitives. MSM also provides a multi-site cloud context. So if a customer needs a mobile edge cloud that spans multiple mobile edge hosts, MSM presents a single customer-centric view of the cloud.

In the above example, we’ve used OpenStack as the virtual infrastructure manager. CPLANE’s Dynamic Virtual Networks – Data Center provides a direct OpenStack networking replacement that eliminates the performance and scaling issues associated with standard Neutron networking. DVNd also provides extra features not found in Neutron such as integrated network gateways (as a virtualized network function), no-NAT Floating-IP, and Floating-IP with bandwidth quotas.

Extending the MEC Reference Architecture

CPLANE further extends the MEC reference architecture by bringing a rich ecosystem of Network Function Virtualization (NFV) partners such as Rift.io, Canonical, Telco Systems and others. This ecosystem allows mobile edge clouds to be quickly tailored to deliver application and network service-specific functionality.

Build Mobile Edge Clouds today!

The ETSI MEC Reference Architecture provides a solid framework for building mobile edge clouds. But the beauty of the framework is that it can also be applied to other cloud models. The integration of northbound customer-facing systems with southbound virtual infrastructure managers via a service orchestration platform is the new model for cloud service deployment and management. And this is exactly what we’ve done for a global telecommunications service provider.

Want to learn more about how CPLANE NETWORKS can accelerate your cloud strategy? – Contact us!

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