The Whiteboard

The Open Grid Alliance: to 6G and Beyond

Two weeks ago, VMware announced the formalization of the Open Grid Alliance (OGA) — an industry consortium assembled to define the next generation of the Internet’s architecture, particularly at the edge.

Why is this noteworthy? Today’s Internet is optimized for server-to-server communication between datacenters or clouds, which are usually located in remote areas where land and power are/were most inexpensive and easy to acquire. The problem with this architecture is that it doesn’t effectively support the edge, where users and (increasingly) things are. Application architecture is becoming more distributed, with data being increasingly generated and consumed at the edge. Applications need to be able to intelligently place app instances and data in the right places to optimize performance, experience, and cost. Unfortunately, today’s Internet doesn’t support this well.

In other words, the Internet architecture at the edge — as we know it today — has outlived its potential.

The OGA is dedicated to reinventing the edge to make it smarter, faster, and more responsive. Whereas today, services like content-delivery networks or concepts such as cloud regions or availability zones are overlaid on top of the Internet, the opportunity exists to build these capabilities directly into the network, making it more intelligent and reducing the burden on app developers. Such lofty goals will require input from a diverse collective that represents everyone, since we will need to fundamentally rethink the architecture and design — up and down the technology stack — for the next few decades. The path to 6G and beyond requires significant advancements of physical and digital systems through broad partnerships and true collaboration. Although in its infancy, the OGA is a prelude to this industry-defining change. I hope you will read more, get involved, and share your thoughts with me in the comments, on Twitter, or on LinkedIn.

Best,

Kit Colbert,
Chief Technology Officer

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