NTT, Intel and VMware buddy up to flog ‘Edge as a Service’

NTT, Intel and VMware have all put their hats in the ring to offer a managed edge compute platform they are calling Edge as a Service.

NTT is the one actually delivering the product, which it says is the first globally available, fully managed edge and private 5G offering. There seems to be a lot of focus on speed of deployment and it apparently ‘accelerates business process automation’, for what that’s worth.

We’re told Edge-as-a-Service runs on VMware’s Edge Compute Stack, includes Private 5G connectivity and will be delivered by NTT ‘across its global footprint running on Intel network and edge technology.’ Apparently it ‘resides closer to where the data is generated or collected, enabling enterprises to access and react to information instantaneously’ – which could also be a description of edge computing in general, but still.

“Combining Edge and Private 5G is a game changer for our customers and the entire industry, and we are making it available today,” said Shahid Ahmed, Group EVP, New Ventures and Innovation CEO, NTT. “The combination of NTT and VMware’s Edge Compute Stack and Private 5G delivers a unique solution that will drive powerful outcomes for enterprises eager to optimise the performance and cost efficiencies of critical applications at the network edge. Minimum latency, maximum processing power, and global coverage are exactly what enterprises need to accelerate their unique digital transformation journeys.”

Sanjay Uppal, senior vice president and general manager, service provider, and edge business unit at VMware added. “Enterprises are increasingly distributed — from the digital architecture they rely on to the human workforce that powers their business daily. This has spurred a sea change across every industry, altering where data is produced, delivered, and consumed. Bringing VMware’s Edge Compute Stack to NTT’s Edge-as-a-Service will enable our mutual customers to build, run, manage, connect and better protect edge-native applications at the Near and Far Edge while leveraging consistent infrastructure and operations with the power of edge computing.”

All sounds good if you are in the market for some digital transformation action. However, exactly what this service is providing that a business isn’t able to get from some sort of bespoke private 5G/edge installation from a vendor or systems integrator already is not entirely clear.

One of the complications surrounding edge computing is that what it is, precisely, doesn’t appear to be universally agreed upon. Some will argue absolutely everything doing some sort of compute outside of a data centre, whether it’s a phone or some IoT gizmo, could come under the edge computing category. The problem is you could then argue if everything is the edge, then nothing is the edge. Sprinkle in some tech-marketing waffle that most tech firms indulge in at some point, and it’s a little hard to work out what genuinely represents landmark product releases or something genuinely new to the market in the edge/5G/digital transformation space.


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