Today’s episode features an interview between Matt Trifiro and Victor Bahl, Technical Fellow and Director of Mobility & Networking at Microsoft Research, and one of the fathers of Edge Computing.
Across a 23-year career at Microsoft Research, Victor has helped shape Microsoft’s long-term strategy through research, industry partnerships, and associated policy engagement with governments and research institutions around the world. His seminal 2009 paper titled “The Case for VM-based Cloudlets in Mobile Computing” spawned the vision for what we now call Edge.
In this interview, Victor shares the story behind the genesis of that paper, and his experience of the evolution of edge in the years since.
“You can start to see a convergence of sorts between the communication and computing industry, and edge is the catalyst for that…Some sort of convergence is going to happen and it's going to be good because we are using each other's strengths and building on top of it rather than spending time doing the same thing.”
"The question for me as a researcher and a person who tries to think many years ahead was “what happens after cloud?”
“If you think about what the cloud is, the cloud effectively sells you compute and storage…and [we thought] wouldn't it be cool if the cloud not only sold storage, it not only sold compute, but it also sold latency...wouldn't it be cool to have an edge where the latency was small.”
“The internet works on a protocol called BGP, and that protocol has not been optimized for latency sensitivity. It has been optimized for cost sensitivity. So as the packets are routed, they are not routed with latency in mind. That’s why you end up seeing all these problems and jitter, which is a killer for many things.”
“If you actually create software, you can think of a network operating system. And then you can think of an API that you put on top of that. And then on top of that, you've got all these applications and then developers can party. So you're looking at a brand new ecosystem that is now seeded because of edge computing.”
“The way I like to think about it is “Wow, We're getting there! We've gotten there!” Because now when I talk to people, it’s no longer about trying to convince anybody of the need for edge. It seems like people get it…I no longer have to make the case for it. The thing that most people are looking at now is how to monetize the edge–how to actually light these things up.”
“I think that you can start thinking about edge as part of cloud even now. Because Microsoft is invested, we are building it out. We are building out the infrastructure. We are going to make it available. It's going to be there.”