We recently talked about the future of cloud technology and possible use cases even in the gaming sector. However, there is a lot of momentum currently in the Enterprise infrastructure and technology space going on right now that will ultimately shape the near future just as much as the far future.
I was trying to find an expert on the subject of future cloud technology and infrastructure enablement, and I am delighted that Sheng-Ann Yu, Head of Distributed Cloud at Ericsson had time to do an interview with us. Here’s what the subject matter expert and thought leader is saying.
A journey into the distributed cloud future
Hi Sheng-Ann, thanks a lot for taking time to talk with us. I’m sure you are quite busy with your projects. Your work is quite cutting-edge tech from what I can see. Would you do us a favor and tell us a little bit about what you’re working on currently as the Head of Distributed Cloud at Ericsson? Thanks a lot!
Christopher Isak: How would you explain distributed cloud technology in a nutshell?
Sheng-Ann: Distributed Cloud is the evolution of the cloud technology, from being global, centralized, and cost driven, to being local, distributed, and performance and use case focused. It combines the best of telecom (e.g., the packet core solution) and the best of cloud technology (e.g., the container solutions) to enable use cases which requires low and stable latency and mobility. The Distributed Cloud solution builds upon the Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and addresses edge computing use cases to drive 5G beyond mobile broadband by opening up telco infrastructure as a platform for new applications including both telecom workloads and 3PP workloads.
Christopher Isak: “The cloud is just someone else’s computer” – What do you think about this meme?
Sheng-Ann: I think this meme or the meme of “the cloud is just someone else’s server” has to do with partially that the cloud services have been made easily assessable by the public cloud service providers with their data center deployments for years and partially that the users of the cloud services have not had any special requirements or experienced any difference in cloud services. With more use cases demanding for low and stable latency and mobility, the user’s requirements on the experience of the cloud services will change.
Christopher Isak: How would you compare distributed cloud services to the cloud as a commodity?
Sheng-Ann: Up to recent years, Cloud services have been provided with relatively low-cost packages as a commodity, without differentiation on service quality nor user experience. Now with new applications requiring for extremely low and stable latency and mobility, there is an increased need for a distributed cloud solution which can support any workload anywhere in the infrastructure with e2e orchestration and management. The Distributed Cloud service will be a cloud service leveraging operators’ cloud infrastructure worldwide with application eco-systems including the existing eco-systems from the 3pp application developers and over the top players.
Christopher Isak: So with that in mind, there is always some kind of hardware behind the Inception of virtual instances. What type of equipment are you using to run your tech solutions?
Sheng-Ann: Regarding hardware, we introduced both data center hardware and NEBS (telco environment) compliant cloud hardware some years back as part of our cloud offerings. As for the hardware for the edge cloud, we would like to leverage the existing hardware our customers potentially have and therefore have chosen a hardware agnostics solution with unified SW for HW management for both centralized clouds and distributed clouds.
Christopher Isak: Do you think that distributed cloud tech is enabling solutions that wouldn’t have been possible without this service? I’d love to hear about your favorite examples.
Sheng-Ann: Yes. We do believe that the Ericsson Distributed Cloud solution being both 3GPP compliant and open source based enables the industry to leverage the existing telecom infrastructures operators have been investing for years and the latest cloud technology for application enablement to provide most efficient user and use case centric services. Here my favorite example is to the cloud collaborations between operators and public cloud service providers for industrial use cases such as smart manufacturing. Also, the Distributed Cloud solution makes it possible for device clouds and infrastructure cloud computing interacting smartly for relevant use cases to enhance user experience.
One of my favorite examples here would be to have the AR / VR processing done at the distributed edge clouds so devices can have the enhanced capabilities for AR & VR based applications. To drive for industry convergence and make these cross-industry collaborations possible, Ericsson has been actively participating and leading in open source projects working with both our partners and customers. To learn more about Ericsson’s focus on open source engagements and partnership activities, please follow us at the upcoming NFV/SDN conference for the demos or visit us at Ericsson.com/digitalservices and follow us on social media (Twitter: @EricssonDigital or LinkedIn).
Christopher Isak: AI, IoT, 5G, VR, all these things are strongly utilized buzzwords right now. Do you think they are significant milestones in science, engineering, and technology or just hyped marketing terms for rusty ideas?
Sheng-Ann: Agree that AI, IoT, 5G, AR, and VR are the terms which have been well utilized in recent years. But I don’t think these are just hyped marketing terms. These are results of significant milestones in science, engineering, and technology evolutions. These technologies/solutions are also very much interconnected, can create fantastic combinations of technical capabilities, and will trigger for the faster and more diverse deployments of distributed cloud solutions. As a cross-industry focus for recent years, IoT has been evolved from basic M2M deployments leveraging 2G/GSM technologies to much more advanced Machine Type Communications leveraging 3G, 4G, and soon 5G technologies.
Comparing with previous generations of communication technologies, with the unique solution such as network slicing and distributed cloud, 5G will be able to provide services which are beyond mobile broadband/connectivity and help our customers to address many more and broader business opportunities. For example, with Distributed cloud, 5G will be able to provide extremely low and stable latency, which makes it possible to leverage other new technologies such as AR / VR and AI to offer exciting new applications, such as AR assisted factory maintenance, AR & VR based wide area gaming, or AI based smart logistics or self-driving tracks.
Christopher Isak: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this Interview for TechAcute. Is there perhaps anything else that you’d like to share with our audience? A funny story, a nugget of wisdom, a motivational quote, something that has inspired you? Feel free to share anything that you’d like.
Sheng-Ann: Thank you for giving me the opportunity for this interview. Your questions are excellent and helped me to reflect on the fundamental motivations for us working with the Distributed Cloud solution. Since I do love motivational and inspiring quotes, I would like to share three quotes from Steve Jobs which I think are wise and interesting to reflect over:
- My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.
- Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.
- That’s been one of my mantras—focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.
YouTube: Ericsson’s distributed cloud
Photo credit: The feature image showing Sheng-Ann Yu has been provided to us by Ericsson Digital. The other images are provided by Ericsson for general press usage. The meme comes from Meme Creator.
Editorial notice: The interview was edited for clarity and to match our style guide for writing. No changes to the message of the interviewee have been done.