Why is now the time to rethink edge orchestration?

Edge Insights

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Telcos are investing in edge to grow revenues and monetise their networks. Edge orchestration will be a key tool for these telcos to manage their infrastructure easily and cost-effectively, whilst ensuring that they can meet the strict performance requirements of dynamic edge applications.

More than hosting

Edge computing is not simply about hosting workloads at an edge node. Orchestration is key to ensure that applications are able to take full advantage of the benefits that come with edge, and to ensure that telcos can manage their infrastructure easily and cost-efficiently. Unfortunately, existing network orchestration systems lack the capabilities necessary to orchestrate edge effectively.


Shortcomings of the network orchestration platform

Source: STL Partners

Our research has shown that the total edge computing addressable market will grow from US$9 billion in 2020 to US$445 billion in 2030. The segment of the value chain with the largest share is application, which will capture 70% of the total edge computing addressable revenue in 2030, reaching US$313 billion.

Not only is edge an attractive opportunity in itself, but it is highly complementary to the private networks opportunity.

The benefits of edge with private networks

Source: STL Partners

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Taking edge solutions to market is not simple

It requires partnerships across the edge value chain, the components of which are:

  • Integration and systems: Services that provide support to customers employing and integrating edge at any stage of the value chain, including design and engineering services to create platforms for edge applications, or traditional integration into existing (enterprise) systems.
  • Application/Software: Applications that run on edge computing infrastructure, including network functions, and the application-specific tools that support these, for example analytics capabilities or APIs and platform-as-a-service products.
  • Edge Cloud Infrastructure: Virtual infrastructure supporting edge workloads and applications from the operating system, the virtualisation layer, and the platforms for developers to access and manage the storage and compute infrastructure. Edge orchestration is an integral part of edge cloud infrastructure.
  • Hardware: Dedicated hardware (different from the traditional hardware used in data centres) needed to run the edge applications (servers, processors and the maintenance and operators for these) as well as end-devices.
  • Network: Specialised connectivity infrastructure and services to enable edge applications, as well as traffic routing controls and types of networks to optimise content delivery (e.g. CDN). Note, this category does not include a long-list of network operators.
  • Facility: The physical site that may include a street cabinet without cooling/security requirements or the land/location for the edge data centre (e.g. area around mobile operator’s cell tower), the data centre itself, power and cooling to support it and additional services to maintain and operate the site. 

Edge poses new challenges for enterprises and developers in terms of how they manage workloads, as application architectures move from centralised models to highly distributed models. This is because distributed environments at the edge are heterogenous.

Application architecture shift


Source: STL Partners

Additionally, edge use cases have strict performance requirements, which makes orchestration even more important to ensure the right level of performance.

Stringent use case requirements

Source: STL Partners


An edge use case pack accompanies this report to bring the need for edge orchestration to life.

Table of contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Telco edge computing: state of play
  • Why does edge need orchestration?
  • What is an edge orchestration platform?
  • Conclusions and next steps
  • Glossary

Further insights and explanations can be found in our videos

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