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California Here We Come: EdgeX Adds More Edge Security and Reduces Footprint

By Special Guest
Shrey Fadia, Special Correspondent
July 30, 2018

EdgeX Foundry continues its momentum with a new release of the software, aptly named California, a land defined by pioneering, openness and a sea of possibilities.

Shortly after turning one, the EdgeX project is gaining traction with two releases in 2018, and a growing number of projects and testbeds, including one in concert with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), Wanxiang Group, and Thingswise (supported by Dell Technologies, Xilinx, China Unicom, and China Academy of Information and Communication Technology).

According to Jim White, Vice Chair of the Technical Steering Committee and Distinguished Engineer and Project Lead of the IoT Platform Development Team within Dell Technologies IoT Solutions Division, “the California release, which follows Barcelona, shows the commitment and dedication of many who see the importance and potential of developing a flexible, open source, IoT software platform for the edge that provides connectivity and interoperability while still allowing value add.”

Security is a focal point in the California release. According to a blog post on the EdgeX Foundry site:

“The first security elements include a reverse proxy that helps protect the REST API communications and a secrets store.  With the EdgeX reverse proxy in place – as provided by incorporating an open source product called Kong – any external client of an EdgeX micro service must first authenticate themselves before successfully calling on an EdgeX API.

The secure storage facility was provided by incorporating the open source Vault (Hashicorp) product, and it allows items such as username/password credentials, certificates, secure tokens, etc. to be persisted and protected within EdgeX.  These types of “secrets” will allow EdgeX to, for example, encrypt data, make HTTPS calls to the enterprise, or connect EdgeX to a cloud provider in a secure manner.”

EdgeX Foundry decided it needed to be smaller and faster to better function effectively at the edge which the largely-Java code from the seed donation was going to make difficult.

“To do this, we needed to rebuild the EdgeX microservices in Go Lang – and do so by our spring 2018 release,” White said. “This was not a small endeavor and it was made at a time when the EdgeX Foundry developer community was just coming on board.  We knew it would take a bit more time, but we were committed to this, and added two more months to this release cycle.”

With the California release, EdgeX lowered the footprint, startup time, memory and CPU usage, and it is now possible to run all of EdgeX on something like a Raspberry Pi 3.

In addition to the initial security capabilities and reducing the size and latency of the platform, this release includes other work – some visible to the user while some features are more hidden but improve the overall quality of EdgeX.

Several additions were made to the export services to provide additional “northbound” connectivity, to include connectors for XMPP, ThingsBoard IoT, and Brightics IoT.

EdgeX Foundry’s next  release, named Delhi, will come out in October 2018.  Due to the extended release cycle for California, the Delhi release cycle is going to be short. The significant features planned for Delhi include:

  • Initial manageability services and capability
  • Device Service SDKs (Go/C) and at least one example device service
  • The next wave of security features to include access control lists to grant access to appropriate services and improved security service bootstrapping
  • Better/more unit testing and added performance testing
  • Adding the last of the refactored and improved Go Lang microservices
  • Outlining options and a potential implementation plan for alternate or additional database support

“We would like to thank the talented men and women who are working very hard to turn the vision announced when the EdgeX project launched in April 2017 into the product we see emerge and improve with each release,” White said. “In the past six months, we have seen the number of unique authors contributing to the project code base double to more than 50.”

The California release follows EdgeX’s first software release, called Barcelona, which came out in October 2017. As an open source project hosted by The Linux Foundation, plans for upcoming releases are shared with the community. Find details about the roadmap, planned upcoming features and updates about the next Technical Steering Committee Face-to-Face on the EdgeX Foundry wiki page.


 


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