We sat down with Antonio Pellegrino, Founder and CEO of Mutable ahead of our upcoming panel session David vs Goliath - how new models at the edge are shaking up the market’. Our goal was to hear how Antonio and his team are shaking up the edge market, and what kinds of business models are pushing innovation.

Antonio founded Mutable, which he calls ‘the Airbnb of servers’, a company that allows organizations to use the resources of cable companies, telcos and data centers with extra compute. This was born out of a need to use extra compute and turn it into a cloud for nearby customers and users, making servers cheaper, more accessible and ubiquitous.

Make sure you tune into the session on May 28, 3pm BST to hear Antonio and fellow panellists discuss this timely topic.

A new business model

Pellegrino and his team had been providing back end service cloud for years. One of their customers needed a way to minimise hardware operations costs - i.e. how could they use a Raspberry Pi instead of a full server by creating a mesh network? This sparked an idea - what's the difference between being in one data center or a thousand? Pellegrino and his team worked on automation processes that were possible because of 5G and convergence of the cloud to democratize access to servers.

A new and shiny business model was born; Mutable does not own any servers and never plans on it. Instead, it opts to use existing capacity that is already out there and readily available. This allows organizations with spare compute to open up their infrastructure to generate additional revenue, and allows third parties to take advantage of this real estate.

Meeting the demand

Mutable has an incredible range of clients ranging from gaming to traffic acceleration. The thing they all have in common is that they need: low latency, bandwidth and security. Stabilizing connections and networks means that latency is reduced, or at the very least remains consistent for customers. Also, those seeking extra bandwidth without the capital resources can have it.

Security is another concern, one which Pellegrino says needs a shift in thinking and behavior. It means people who use other servers can deploy on premise without being on premise. This results in protection for both parties, and a more secure environment in which to operate.

Some unexpected benefits

Because what Mutable does is facilitate a marketplace, both the suppliers and clients benefit. It minimizes risk for both parties by using assets that are already established, no new assets are required. It provides revenue for organizations when they are not using compute and means clients can run their servers only when they need to.

It means there is less hardware going out in the field, a long term benefit that reduces capital expenditure or in many cases completely eliminates the need. It also addresses how energy is used within data centers, by improving the efficiency and delivery of applications.

Global pandemics and surging growth

The Covid-19 pandemic has gripped many businesses across the world, straining resources and the ability to operate effectively. Many of Mutable's clients are seeing higher demand for their services, meaning in turn Mutable has increased its efforts too. Things like telemedicine and e-learning, which for some were a futuristic thought, are now being used every day - and Mutable has been connecting supply and demand where needed.

Mutable has also been able to help those who weren’t as prepared. For many it's not just an issue of logistics, but how they can work remotely. Pellegrino has demonstrated to many that workflow processes can change, and puts a highlight on the idea an organization can work towards a common goal without having to be in the same room.

Roll out or roll back?

We asked Pellegrino how he thinks the rollout of the edge is being impacted by Covid-19. For him, things in the short term were most at risk. Many organizations in the technology sector are trying to deal with increased demand for services while simultaneously dealing with a shift in workflow practices.

In the wake of this short term stunted growth, there will be a large surge. Companies will want to monetize the compute that they prepared for peak demand. Working from home will become increasingly normal, and usage of online services will increase over the coming years. People will be looking at how they can improve the experience of customers without paying billions of dollars.

Problems of tomorrow (and today)

Apart from Covid-19, there is another big problem on the horizon: climate change. Pellegrino thinks Mutable will help change the industry’s view of infrastructure, i.e. you don’t need to build additional infrastructure if you instead use underutilized elements. By taking advantage of spare compute Pellegrino hopes organizations will be able to increase their efficiency and improve energy usage.

Additionally, climate change may have very real impacts on data center operations. By decentralizing where data is stored and transmitted, people may be able to avoid outages and the like. For Pellegrino, this is about sharing resources, making access cheaper for everyone.

Once bitten, twice shy

We asked Pellegrino to take a look back over the past ten years and tell us what lessons are most important for him and his team at Mutable. He recalled the advent of the cloud, and how it required a significant amount of education for people to buy into its usefulness. Now mostly commonplace, the lessons learned can be applied to what Mutable is doing.

Much of Mutable's work is encouraging huge behavior change that will impact the way the industry operates. It is a process of trying to educate and showcase the benefits for all involved. Companies like Uber and Airbnb decentralized the market and flipped them on their heads, and that's what Pellegrino wants Mutable to do.

So where will Mutable be in the next 10 years? Hopefully creating ubiquitous usage for next generation applications without having bought any servers Pellegrino told us.

Mutable is creating a new perspective in the industry, one where the wealth is shared across all parties. One where everyday locations are considered as important as everyday, major hubs of data centers and demand areas.

Make sure you tune into the panel session to hear Antonio Pellegrino and other panellists discuss how they're shaking up the industry.