Over 24 months, FLAME hosted over 20 experiments funded through four open calls with awards ranging from €50k to €130k. Four start-ups, twelve SMEs and four industrial partners were funded in nine verticals.
Benefits to Experimenters
Experimenters made full use of the opportunity to develop applications for FLAME with many getting a first exposure to micro-service architectures, mobile edge computing and 5G. The focus on controlled experimentation and trials with end-users in physical locations made experimenters carefully evaluate their work with respect to QoS and QoE and test in
realistic situations. The results of FLAME influenced the development of a product or service in all cases with plans to adapt 7 existing products and 16 new ones.
Supporting 20 companies in developing and deploying dynamic service function chains in a distributed compute environment was a challenge. FLAME’s success in this endeavour was in large part down to clear processes.
The dev-ops workflow to go from the desktop to user trials via FLAME-in-a-box and the FLAME sandpit testbed was essential, and this approach feeds into the software engineering and the experimentation community NGI-EXP. FLAME’s powerful yet relatively simple approach to configuring an experiment’s resource allocation was welcomed by experimenters. The average ‘service creation time’ is one of the main KPIs defined by the
European 5G PPP initiative targeting a reduction ‘from 90 hours to 90 minutes’ and the FLAME project is contributing to it.
As a result of early experiences and requests, FLAME added emulated UEs to each replica to allow experimenters to test their services in situ before travelling to the site. Over time documentation and processes were improved in response to suggestions. Some recommendations, such as the addition of GPUs could not be accommodated but should be considered for future deployments.
Benefits to FLAME
The quality and variety of innovative experiments using the FLAME platform has validated the concept of strong integration between media services and programmable network and computing infrastructures.
The funded and unfunded experimentation activities produced a body of work demonstrating technology readiness (TRL7) of the FLAME platform components service routing, cloud-native orchestration and lifecycle management for the telco cloud. The remarkable number of customer-facing trials is key in the standardisation work in IETF, NGMN and ITU demonstrating feasibility and readiness.