How MobiledgeX is Building a Marketplace for Edge

August 14th, 2020

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Director of Product Management

In my last blog post, How MobiledgeX Helped Slavic Monsters During the First GSMA TEC Trial, I dove into how MobiledgeX is helping developers deploy services on Telco Edge with the goal to propel applications to reach the market sooner with high agility and scalability. In this post, I will discuss in detail how MobiledgeX is putting forward a single interface that creates a marketplace shared between Telcos and developers to deliver value propositions, where both types of consumers can take advantage of a number of benefits offered by the Platform.

MobiledgeX has been applying the Platform business model to the sharing economy that offers people to “trade” edge cloud infra—the so-called marketplace for edge, where suppliers of edge computing infrastructure are the Telcos, and consumers of edge computing are the developers. What’s important to understand about this shared economy is that MobiledgeX is creating a Platform that aggregates across different Telcos, where developers can use a single interface to deploy their applications across different Telcos. In this model,  Telcos are considered collaborators, as opposed to competitors, of the Telco edge market. Last, MobilegeX is a Platform that fulfills the transaction between both Operators and developers (matchmaker).

To help deliver the value proposition to our customers, supplying a variety of edge computing infrastructure, called cloudlets, across Telcos is critical to realize that value proposition. While MobiledgeX is creating the business relationships and service architectures with different Telcos to do just that, I will discuss how MobiledgeX Platform facilitates the process of removing any friction from all interactions when Telcos host their infrastructure.

MobiledgeX’s software accesses the IAAS Virtualization API endpoint to install the MobiledgeX Platform service, referred to as the Cloudlet Resource Manager (CRM), to aggregate edge infrastructure across Telecom Operators’ network locations. CRM acts as a Tenant of the Operator’s Virtualization Layer and utilizes the Virtualization APIs to manage applications, and provides infrastructure and application runtime statistics to the MobiledgeX Controller (over the Internet). 

MobiledgeX’s Platform provides superior management, deployment, and monitoring of the developer’s applications by aggregating the edge infrastructure across the various Telecom Operators’ network locations through one standard interface. While a standard interface is established by abstracting the underlying infrastructure of the Telcos, CRM focuses to support different IAAS types provided by the Telcos. This lowers the barrier and makes it easier for Telcos to consider hosting their supply onto our Platform as they  leverage their existing IAAS infrastructure. Note: MobiledgeX presently supports OpenStack endpoint APIs as the Virtual Machine Orchestration layer. Future support will include other IAAS types.

Once Telco has an IAAS infrastructure, listing it on MobiledgeX has never been easier or more customizable. Telcos are just a few steps away from bringing up their Telco Edge Infrastructure to expose them for developers to consume. Operators can register their cloudlet by providing MobiledgeX with a pool of compute resources and access to the Virtualization API endpoint by specifying a few required parameters, such as the limit on dynamic IP addresses, cloudlet names, location of cloudlets, certs, and more, using the Edge-Cloud Console. Note that the credentials to the API endpoint are stored securely by MobiledgeX. MobiledgeX relies on this information to remotely access the cloudlets to install CRM. Once installed, CRM then determines resource requirements as well as dynamically track usage of the Operator’s infrastructure. MobiledgeX completes its remote probe by recording the inventory within a cloudlet registry. The figure below displays a simple configuration page in which to onboard a cloudlet.

To realize as a complete self-service console, MobiledgeX provides users with the best user experience as possible. To provide an interactive experience, the platform provides a detailed progress bar where you can see a live status of the cloudlet deployment process. Once the cloudlet is available, the deployed cloudlet is viewable from the Cloudlets page.

Within several minutes of clicking the Create button, the Operator’s cloudlets are quickly onboarded, where they are consumed by developers to launch their services on the Telco cloud! Historical activities performed by the Operators are also logged and viewed from the Edge-Cloud Console. These logs are used for diagnostic purposes or error correction, and each activity is logged by date and time. 

The above figure displays an example of a cloudlet that’s been onboarded when the Virtualization API is accessible via the public internet. However, accessibility of  the Virtualization API, which is determined by the Telco environment and their security policy in which they are deployed, may be placed on a private network. To overcome this challenge, MobiledgeX provides Operators with a means to restrict access from the public network to their infrastructure by specifying the Restricted access type through the Edge-Cloud Console. Using the Restricted access type allows MobiledgeX to create what’s called a cloudlet object to create cloudlets.

If Restricted access type is used, Operators are required to take additional steps to ensure their infrastructure is set up so that access to the API endpoint is available and information can be exchanged. Operators will need to create their cloudlets by following a few steps provided directly within a Cloudlet Manifest file to bring up the cloudlet. Below is an example of a Cloudlet Manifest file created through the Edge-Cloud Console, assuming that an Operator is using OpenStack as an Orchestration Layer.

Executing the HEAT stack template on the Operator Infrastructure will install CRM. Once CRM boots up, CRM makes an attempt to connect to the Controller. MobiledgeX guarantees that ingress traffic is not permitted into the CRM by meeting the strict security requirements from the Telcos, and ensures the connection from the CRM to the Controller originates from the Cloudlet Resource Manager.

Once the cloudlets are deployed, Operators can use the Monitoring page to obtain a detailed view of the cloudlets. The below figure shows an example of the monitoring page.

By creating a Platform that allows Telcos to easily host their mobile Operator resources, MobiledgeX is making an attempt to create a sharing economy in which mobile Operators can benefit in many ways. At the simplest level, mobile Operators can leverage their valuable edge computation assets and create new revenue streams by renting out to developers. But, we see a bigger opportunity which involves having an agile development Platform where they can use the resources as a way of adding agility to their infrastructure to provision and monetize new services much quicker and more easily. MobiledgeX is ready to create a marketplace of edge resources for Telcos that will connect developers with the world’s largest Telecom networks. Visit our Developer Portal today to learn more about our MobiledgeX Platform.