Written by Aaron Williams, LF Edge Developer Advocate
What do LF Edge, Akraino, OPNFV, ONAP, fishing and fairy tales have in common? They all came up during our interview with the new Chair and Co-Chair of LF Edge’s project Akraino.
LF Edge’s Akraino project recently wrapped up our semi-annual face to face and welcomed newly elected Technical Steering Committee Chairs.
After two terms of serving as a co-chair, Tina Tsou, Enterprise Architect at Arm, was elected to be the Chair this year and Oleg Berzin, Technology Innovation Fellow under the Office of the CTO at Equinix, was elected Co-Chair by the Akraino TSC members. We sat down with Tina and Oleg to learn more about them, what they are looking forward to next year, and how they see Akraino growing in 2021.
How did you first get involved with Akraino?
[Tina Tsou] My introduction to Akraino happened when I was working on an Edge use case for one of our customers at Arm. But I’m no stranger to the open source communities and working groups. Before Akraino, I directed the OPNFV (Open Platform for Network Function Virtualization) Auto project as PTL, integrating ONAP onto OPNFV (upon both x86 and Arm architecture and hardware) with a focus on edge cloud use cases. I was also the Chair of the Open Source SDN Breckenridge Working Group.
I am currently an active member of the Linux Foundation Networking (LFN) Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and also lead the VPP/AArch64 activities in FD.io representing Arm.
[Oleg Berzin] Akraino aligned with my interest in the Edge and more specifically in the multi-domain nature of the Edge (spanning from devices to networks, to aggregation, to data centers, to clouds). I was involved in the ONAP (Open Network Automation Platform) project in the past (as an operator/user). With the diverse and complex nature of the edge deployments, we need a community supported set of capabilities integrated as blueprints so customers/user can deploy these solutions with minimum friction.
What was the first blueprint that you worked on?
[Tina Tsou] For Akraino, I worked closely on the Integrated Edge Cloud(IEC) blueprint family which is part of the Edge Stack of Akraino. The blueprint intends to develop a fully integrated edge infrastructure solution for Edge Computing. This open source software stack provides critical infrastructure to enable high performance, reduced latency, improved availability, lower operational overhead, provide scalability, address security needs, and improve fault management. The IEC project will address multiple edge use cases beyond the Telco Industry. IEC intends to develop solutions and support the needs of carriers, service providers, and the IoT networks.
[Oleg Berzin] The first blueprint I worked on was the Public Cloud Edge Interface (PCEI). The idea behind PCEI is to enable interworking between mobile operators, public clouds and edge infrastructure/application providers so that operators have a systematic way to enable their customers access to public and 3rd party edge compute resources and applications via open APIs that facilitate deployment of telco and edge compute functions, interconnection of these functions as well as intelligent orchestration of workloads so that the expected performance characteristics can be achieved.
What is a Blueprint that you find interesting (I know that you don’t have a “favorite”)?
[Tina Tsou] You’re right. It is hard to choose a favorite blueprint since all of them are interesting and serve purposeful needs for many use cases. But here are two that I find very interesting:
School/Education Video Security Monitoring Blueprint: This belongs to the AI Edge Blueprint family and focuses on establishing an open source MEC platform that combined with AI capacities at the Edge. In this blueprint, the latest technologies and frameworks like microservice framework, Kata container, 5G accelerating, and open API have been integrated to build an industry-leading edge cloud architecture that could provide comprehensive computing acceleration support at the edge. This blueprint is a life saver and hence my favorite since it improves the safety and engagement in places such as factories, industrial parks, catering services, and classrooms that rely on AI-assisted surveillance.
IIoT at the Smart Device Edge Blueprint family: This blueprint family use case is for those devices that live at the Smart Device Edge are characterized by having a small footprint yet being powerful enough to be able to compute tasks at the edge. They tend to have a minimum of 256 MB for a single node and can grow to the size of a small cluster. These resources could be a router, hub, server, or gateway that are accessible. Since these device types vary heavily based on the form factor and use case served, they have a very fragmented security and device standards on how the OS and firmware is booted. This is where Arm backed initiatives like Project Cassini and PARSEC helps to enable the standardization of device booting and platform security. I’m excited for this blueprint to see successful deployments of Edge based compute.
[Oleg Berzin] One thing that surprised me when I joined Akraino was the diversity of use cases (IOT, AI, Private 5G, Radio Edge Cloud) that reinforce the notion that edge is everywhere and that it is very complex. I am honored to work with the Akraino community and contributing to the development of blueprints. At this point in time my goal is to make progress in the PCEI blueprint.
Is there a Blueprint that you are looking forward to seeing develop?
[Tina Tsou] I prefer the IEC Type 3: Android cloud native applications on Arm servers in edge for Integrated Edge Cloud (IEC) Blueprint Family. It evolves from Anbox based for single instance in R3, Robox based for multiple instances in R4, and my hope is to have a support for vGPU in the near future.
[Oleg Berzin] I think the Radio Edge Cloud is a very interesting blueprint. If developed, it has a potential of revolutionizing how the radio infrastructure is managed and adopted to diverse use cases.
What is the biggest misconception that people have about Akraino?
[Tina Tsou] As with many open source projects and technologies, the common perception that users have is that these projects serve a very narrow use case. I believe Akraino suffers from a similar misconception that it is a Telco-oriented project only. The reality is quite different. Akraino project blueprints can be applied in many facets of the industry verticals from Edge, Cloud, Enterprises, and IoT.
[Oleg Berzin] I am relatively new to Akraino, and my own misconception was that it only focused on small edge devices and IoT. As a Co-Chair and now having been exposed to the breadth and depth of use cases, I can now see that Akraino is involved in a very diverse set of blueprints targeting enterprise, telco and clouds while also interworking with other organizations and communities, such as ORAN, 3GPP, CNCF, LF Networking, TIP.
What are your and Akraino’s priorities for 2021?
[Tina Tsou &Oleg Berzin] There are multiple that we can list but we would point to these top 3 priorities for 2021.
- Akraino Blueprints for O-RAN specifications (e.g., REC integration with RIC)
- Akraino Blueprint to support Public Cloud Edge interface
- Akraino Edge APIs
What do you like to do in your free time?
[Tina Tsou] I live in the sunny-California bay area and I love fishing during weekends. Anyone who is interested to join me and have a chat about the Akraino project can contact me. 🙂
[Oleg Berzin] Apart from being involved in the technology and networking industry for many years, I enjoy learning new languages and finding common roots in different cultures. I sometimes find inspiration and time to translate children fairy tales from Russian into English – you can find the tales that I translated on Amazon.
Anything that you want people to know about Akraino?
[Tina Tsou] Ever since its launch in 2018, Akraino has found great community support for innovative creation of deployable Edge solutions with work going in more than 30+ Blueprints. These Akraino blueprints are now globally deployed to address several Edge Use Cases. It is a vast community with many active users and contributors and here are few things to know of:
- Akraino hosts sophisticated communities and multiple user labs to speed the edge innovation.
- Akraino delivered fully functional new Blueprints for deployment in R3 to address edge use cases such as 5G MEC, AI Edge, Cloud Gaming at Edge, Android in Cloud, Micro-MEC and Hardware acceleration at the edge.
- Created framework for defining and standardizing APIs across stacks, via upstream/downstream collaboration and published a whitepaper.
- Akraino introduced tools for automated Blueprint Validations, security tools for Blueprint Hardening and Edge API’s in collaboration with LF Edge projects
- Akraino community has participated in several industry outreach events that featured participation to foster collaboration and engagement on edge projects across the entire ecosystem.
[Oleg Berzin] The most important fact I want people to know about Akraino is the dedication and professionalism of the individuals who make up our community. The work they do on creating and proving the blueprints is done on a volunteer basis in addition to their primary jobs. It takes long hours, patience, respect for others and true trust to work together and move the edge technology forward.