MobiledgeX sits in the middle seat of multi-cloud networking craze

MobiledgeX is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom that provides software for edge computing, and the company is at the forefront of the multi-cloud networking craze. Today it announced its MobiledgeX Edge-Cloud 3.0, which puts a focus on providing a common interface to manage public and private edge clouds.

The company has an advantage in multi-cloud edge networking because of its affiliation with a service provider.

Jason Hoffman, CEO of MobiledgeX, said the company is working with all the big cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, and it’s also working with the top 25 global operators “minus Vodafone and Verizon.”

According to Hoffman, it’s not working with Vodafone or Verizon because of those companies’ fierce competition with Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile, respectively.

Both Vodafone and Verizon have announced that they’re working with AWS on their mobile edge compute needs.

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Hoffman said MobiledgeX allows operators to work with a variety of public clouds and other vendors. “We’re interoperable,” he said. “If you go with AWS Outposts and Wavelength, it’s not necessarily going to work with VMware or OpenStack.” He said most operators are dealing with a “hodge-podge” of software from public clouds, on-premise infrastructure and OSS/BSS systems.

But MobiledgeX supports on-premises infrastructure and public clouds in a common orchestration system.

“From an infrastructure footprint, we deal with all that heterogeneity,” said Hoffman. “We’re like the only orchestration in operators that works with on-premise infrastructure and anything they want to do with the public cloud. A lot of that is because we were founded by DT. We’ve developed a product that nobody else had the incentive to develop.”

MobiledgeX trials a lot of its software at DT first, and then it makes it available to other operators.

There’s been quite a bit of talk in the industry about whether operators and public clouds are actually “friends” or “enemies.” Some have warned that operators should be wary of letting cloud providers into their networks.

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Hoffman thinks that’s a lot of bull hockey and that it is inevitable the two groups will have to work together. “It’s fantastic news that cloud providers want to be infrastructure providers to mobile operators,” he said.

The whole ecosystem is one big opportunity from MobiledgeX’s perspective. “We’re needed to solve the issues,” he said. “We provide that hyperscaler management system. You can do something with Google today, but if in future you want to add Microsoft or AWS you don’t have to change how you’re doing things.”

Startups do multi-cloud management

Multi-cloud networking has become a hot new area of technology, and there are several start-ups emerging in the space, including companies like Syntropy and Alkira that are providing an abstraction layer over underlying networks.

RELATED: Multi-cloud networking 101: Q&A with VMware

Hoffman acknowledged that there are startups showing up in the space. But he said, “We’re deployed commercially with 18 mobile operators. In those deals they weren’t competitive deals. There’s not a single case where it came down to us or another company.”

He said it’s expensive and time consuming to create what MobiledgeX has created. And it has had a big advantage working with DT to solve not just the technical problems but also business problems. The fact that DT backs it up with insurance and fully-audited financials also makes other operators feel more comfortable.