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Google takes Intel to the edge

Internet giant Google is getting Intel involved in its telco cloud offering to help with things like edge computing, vRAN and OpenRAN.

Google’s telecoms strategy is all about enabling ‘cloud-native 5G’. A lot of what is supposed to be special about 5G involved tailoring it for specific use-cases, thus enabling bespoke solutions for a wide variety of markets. This can only happen at scale through the use of lots of virtualization and general cloudy agility, which is where the likes of Google, AWS and Microsoft come in, since telcos themselves seem to have thrown in the towel on cloud.

Intel is already a dominant player in the datacentre hardware space but is desperate to translate that success to the edge. That’s a potentially huge market since it involves building thousands of smaller datacentres scatters all over the place, which reduce the physical distance between the cloud and base stations, thus reducing mobile latency. Google seems like a great partner to help Intel in that quest.

“The next wave of network transformation is fuelled by 5G and is driving a rapid transition to cloud-native technologies,” said Dan Rodriguez, Intel GM of the Network Platforms Group. “As communications service providers build out their 5G network infrastructure, our efforts with Google Cloud and the broader ecosystem will help them deliver agile, scalable solutions for emerging 5G and edge use cases.”

Here’s what Shailesh Shukla, GM of Networking at Google Cloud has to say in a blog on the matter. “Under this partnership, we’ll work closely with Intel in three main areas: accelerating the ability of communications service providers to deploy their Virtualized RAN (vRAN) and Open Radio Access Network (ORAN) solutions by providing next-generation infrastructure and hardware, launching new lab environments to help communications service providers innovate on cloud-native 5G, and making it easier for them to deliver business applications to the network edge.”

The OpenRAN angle is an intriguing one, since it doesn’t necessarily overlap with the rest of the cloudy stuff. Google and intel are, of course, both US companies and there is considerable political will there to develop OpenRAN as a way to increase choice in the RAN market. It wouldn’t be surprising if Google eventually brought sufficient partners into its telco clod gang to enable it to become and OpenRAN player in its own right.


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