O-RAN Edge Cloud deployments present some unique challenges for Server Manufacturers. The O-RAN Alliance has studied the requirements of Edge Deployments and has published their recommendations in a Working Group 6 (WG6) Technical Specification, which includes the difference between Regional Clouds and Edge Clouds, in terms of physical and environmental requirements.
A Regional Cloud typically hosts applications such as near-RT RIC and O-CU, and typically resides in a Standard Internet Data Center where space, environmental, power, cooling, etc. are provisioned to allow for the installation of traditional 19”, 42U, 1-1.2m depth rackmount platforms, with an architecture that creates highly available cloud compute, network and storage deployments.
These Regional Cloud locations, given the general lack of deployment challenges, the new PowerEdge G15 Rackmount Servers are an excellent choice that offer tiered levels of performance and capabilities to create efficient solutions with smart dimensions. From the R450/R550 Servers, to the R650/R750s, Dell EMC PowerEdge offers tiered platforms which optimize CPU, memory, storage, and acceleration options for the end-user required workloads. The R650/R750 XS series are well scaled and suited, particularly for Telecom. The XS series is designed with a balance of the previously mentioned components that meet the requirements of most Cellular Service Provider’s Cloud Core Deployments.
WG6 goes on to describe the Edge Cloud, and in their words: “The edge cloud often resides in a traditional telecommunications equipment room with limited space, cooling capacity, floor loading, and so forth. The limitations can impose special requirements on the cloud platform hardware that may require telecommunications standard certifications, such as the Network Equipment Building System (NEBS).”
Beyond a “traditional telecommunications equipment room”, today’s Telecom Edge Cloud is being deployed even closer to the end user, up to and including the Cell Site. The necessity for computing at the Cell Site is based on the latency or bandwidth requirements of the O-RU to O-DU fronthaul interface. This is where the distance to an available telecom equipment room (C-RAN) is too great to meet these latency requirements or when sufficient fronthaul transport between the Cell Site RU and the equipment room is not available, or the cost of leasing such transport is too expensive. In the future, these Far Edge locations will evolve to support the low latency MEC applications that will be enabled with 5G features, such as URLLC (Ultra-Reliable and Low Latency Communications), including applications such as smart-grids, AR/VR and V2X autonomous vehicles, where millisecond latencies are required.