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Dell Joins AT&T Open Source Initiative to Build Edge, 5G Services

Edge computing

AT&T and Dell Technologies announced an open source partnership that they say will help service providers tackle 5G.

Dell is joining the Airship initiative, which is a set of interoperable open source tools that “automate cloud provisioning and life-cycle management.” AT&T, SK Telecom, Intel and the OpenStack Foundation founded the open-source infrastructure project last year.

Shatzkamer, Kevin_Dell

Dell’s Kevin Shatzkamer

Kevin Shatzkamer, vice president of Dell EMC Service Provider Solutions, said his company is collaborating with AT&T to “combine our joint telco industry best practices” and help service providers create new edge and 5G services.

“As the world leader in servers, storage and personal computers, Dell’s world-class supply chain is best positioned to deliver the cost structure, predictability and access to emerging infrastructure technologies required to enable the transition to a more open, disaggregated mobile network,” Shatzkamer said.

The companies stressed the importance of edge computing in a joint announcement Thursday. Businesses need to bring computing physically closer to people and devices that need it. Cloud-native applications call for a low latency environment.

“Dell Technologies’ addition to the Airship community reaffirms the industry’s growing trust and investment in the open infrastructure model,” said Amy Wheelus, vice president, AT&T Network Cloud. “This collaboration will not only enable us to accelerate the AT&T Network Cloud on the Dell Technologies infrastructure, but also further the broader community goal of making it as simple as possible for operators to deploy and manage open infrastructure in support of SDN and other workloads.”

Scott Fulton of Data Center Knowledge wrote that the Airship initiative aims to preserve telco’s virtual network functions (VNF) alongside containerized network functions (CNF) He described Thursday’s announcement as a possible truce between enterprises and service providers fighting over “the land rights for smaller, nimbler data centers.”

“For Dell the benefit is that this may be one of the last big on-premises data center bonanzas for any infrastructure vendor,” Constellation Research’s Holger Mueller told Silicon Angle.

AT&T two months ago announced an edge computing go-to-market program with HPE.

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