Verizon’s Beth Cohen talks about the hard work and, yes, magic involved in edge computing.


SAN FRANCISCO — It’s been about 18 months since Verizon started on their edge computing journey. Beth Cohen, new product strategist at the telecoms giant, took the keynote stage at OpenDev to share takeaways. “Literally, we were starting from nothing — massively distributed cloud wasn’t even a term when we came up with these ideas.”

“We needed to do software-defined networking, we knew we had to embrace it, that’s the future,” she says.”But what what is software-defined networking — how does that translate into actual products? That’s the trick…” (She goes into more detail about Verizon’s “cloud in a box,” a product that’s about the size of your home router, in this Boston Summit keynote.)

In the 15-minute talk for OpenDev, which includes an appropriately “edgy” live demo, she touches on:
• Product goals and objectives
• The challenges of building products from scratch (spoiler alert: it’s hard!)
• The architecture for massively distributed OpenStack
• “Orchestration magic” (Making it work is truly magic because it’s not just orchestration within data center, but across the network. “Latency becomes a serious problem when you have your core information sitting in a data center in Texas and you’re trying to deploy to an edge device in Sydney, Australia. There’s some physics involved.”
• Virtual network services

OpenDev was two-day event sponsored by the Ericsson, Intel and the OpenStack Foundation. The event was a welcome forum for talking about how to push the boundaries even further, Cohen said. “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to dig into what’s needed to do edge computing right.” She recalls attending one of the early OpenStack Summits as one of the only users present and asking, “‘Um, where’s the documentation?’ This is a great way to get the users and developers together from the start.”

You can check out her talk below or Etherpads from the individual sessions.