Lumen will integrate IBM’s Cloud Satellite across its edge network

Lumen has teamed with IBM to provide its customers with access to IBM’s Cloud Satellite services from any of its 180,000 edge computing sites. The goal is to give Lumen’s enterprise customers access to consistent cloud services including artificial intelligence (AI), security and automation, regardless of whether their workloads are in the public or private cloud, on-premises or at the edge.

IBM Cloud Satellite is built on Red Hat’s OpenShift, which allows enterprises to bring their applications to any environment where data resides using the IBM’s open cloud architecture.

According to Bill Lambertson, global VP of cloud, 5G network and edge computing at IBM, IBM Cloud Satellite is the next phase in the company’s hybrid cloud and AI strategy. “This extends the hybrid public cloud down to the on-prem location or the data center or another public cloud or a colocation facility,” he said. “We can extend the cloud anywhere.”

IBM also brings several of its partners such as Cisco, Dell and Intel to the Cloud Satellite ecosystem. Lambertson said that these partners have been involved in much of the beta testing of the service and can provide reference hardware. Alternatively, customers can also leverage their own infrastructure or IBM can offer a managed services solution for the hardware.

For Lumen the partnership with IBM creates a way for its edge computing customers to get access to IBM’s cloud services and that means access to lower latency applications. Customers can build and deploy data-intensive applications quickly via the cloud or edge, which in turn helps ensure a consistent experience.

“We have a network with an increasing amount of edge computing throughout it,” said David Shacochis, vice president of enterprise technology and field CTO at Lumen. “Because we have bare metal capability in our network, we can launch IBM Cloud Satellite. This enables common use cases that will run on low latency.”

Those types of use cases that require low latency include many public safety applications. Shacochis said that when the two companies developed a prototype, many of the applications that they focused on were things like job site safety where a company can use video analytics to determine if workers are wearing required hard hats on a site. Shacochis said that video can detect whether there is breach or a safety event and a warning can be delivered. This type of fast action requires a low-latency connection.

Another advantage of enabling Lumen edge locations to have access to IBM Cloud Satellite is that customers will be able to keep their data closer the edge where it can be processed and stored rather than having to be sent to cloud or data centers that are far away. “All of the data and the computations of the data is done locally and stays in country,” Lambertson said.

However, IBM isn’t the only cloud provider that Lumen is working with. Shacochis said that the company does support other cloud platforms and is working with many different cloud providers around the world. 

Related: AT&T teams up with IBM to connect hybrid cloud to MEC

Likewise, Lumen isn’t IBM’s only telco partner. Last October the company announced that it was working with AT&T to make it easier for businesses to connect to open hybrid cloud using AT&T’s multi-access edge computing (MEC) network in a private cellular network environment.