While Lumen has built private, custom bare metal edge compute configurations for its customers in the past, it has taken bare metal to the cloud edge.
Lumen, formerly CenturyLink, announced the launch of its Lumen Edge Compute platform on Tuesday, which leverages the company's vast fiber network, on demand networking capabilities, security and edge compute nodes. Lumen has laid claim to being able to reach 98% of the enterprises in the U.S., Europe and some Latin American countries with a low latency of 5 milliseconds one way with its edge compute nodes.
With the service, organizations can deploy applications and workloads at the cloud edge via the bare metal-as-a-service on the Lumen platform.
"This is a game changer — real-time application hosting, data processing and storage capabilities for enterprises that need to deliver emerging technologies and applications at the edge," said Shaun Andrews, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Lumen Technologies, in a statement. "Enterprises around the globe can now leverage highly distributed bare metal on the Lumen platform, giving them more capability to drive new digital experiences for their customers."
Moving applications and services enables low latency because there's no longer the need for them to travel to and from the data centers back to users. Being at the edge also provides scalable, high performance capabilities.
Lumen CTO Andrew Dugan has previously mentioned bare metal services on the company's edge compute nodes. Bare metal servers, also known as white box servers or common-off-the-shelf servers, provide compute resources with no virtualization layer or operating system on top. Enterprises and service providers can take the low-cost server hardware and put whatever operating system they want on top.
With bare metal deployments, vendors typically provide the orchestration and management software to automate the bare metal hardware from other vendors. Lumen isn't disclosing the hardware or operating system vendors that it's using for the company's bare metal-as-a-service deployment.
Lumen Edge Compute includes dedicated, pay-as-you-go server hardware hosted in distributed locations and connected to the company's global fiber network, which is comprised of more than 3.5 million miles of high-capacity, low-loss fiber.
Applications are moving to the edge to enable low latency 5G, IoT, augmented reality and virtual reality services, among others. Lumen, which turned up its first block of cloud edge nodes in its most recent third quarter, announced its edge compute strategy last year. In 2019, Lumen said it had more than 100 edge compute nodes across the U.S., but it's now in the process of adding 150 more around the globe.
Currently, Lumen has six edge nodes up and running across the U.S., with plans to turn-up additional locations in the U.S. and globally. In addition to bare metal-as-a-service, Lumen also plans to offer edge compute services across virtual machine containers.