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Edging Closer to Interoperable, Linux Foundation Aims to Simplify Edge Computing

By Cynthia S. Artin January 25, 2019

In a move that is strikingly like the combination of projects in the open telecom space Arpit Joshipura lead in 2017 and 2018, harmonizing all the Linux Foundation’s open source groups working on aspects of network virtualization, this week the Foundation announced a similar initiative with the launch of LF Edge.

The mission for this new “umbrella organization” is to establish an open framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system.

Managing the edge of the network is getting harder as more devices are being connected to more clouds and applications; until there is some industry agreement on standards and approaches up and down the IoT and Industrial IoT (IIoT) technology and connectivity stacks, scaling up will prove challenging.

For Joshipura, a mathematician and musician as well as a technology innovator and entrepreneur, the harmonization of everything from hardware, software, firmware (down to the silicon) with multiple clouds, networks and applications sounds better with a strategy and a score.

“We’re seeing a convergence of major technology shifts and improvements happening all at once,” Joshipura, General Manager of for Networking, Orchestration and Edge/IoT at The Linux Foundation said, “including 5G, microservices, AI, hardware acceleration and on-demand NFV which, in concert, will support everything from autonomous vehicles to smart factories, smart cities and smart homes. Rather than struggle for many more years to rationalize an increasingly fragmented and yet more connected world, now is the time for us to create the frameworks for interoperability. This is why we have been able to attract many of the world’s largest companies, across communications, devices, applications, cloud and vertical industry solutions to LF Edge.”

Initially comprised of three existing Linux Foundation collaborative projects (Akraino Edge Stack, which is creating an open source software stack that supports high-availability cloud services optimized for edge computing systems and applications;  EdgeX Foundry, concentrated on building a common open framework for IoT edge computing; and Open Glossary of Edge Computing, which seeks to provide a concise collection of terms related to the field of edge computing), LF Edge will also include two additional projects announced in concert with the main initiative.

Those two projects include EVE (Edge Virtualization Engine), contributed by ZEDEDA to create an open and agnostic standard edge architecture that accommodates complex and diverse on- and off-prem hardware, network and application selections, and the Home Edge Project, contributed by Samsung Electronics, focused on “a robust, reliable, and intelligent home edge computing framework, platform and ecosystem running on a variety of devices at daily home lives.”

(We’ll be covering these projects in more detail as they evolve in the new year).

While the LF Edge orchestration will be largely horizontal, the community will focus on very specific verticals to start, including industrial manufacturing, cities and government, energy, transportation, retail, homes, building automation, automotive, logistics and health care.

This is a tall order, but Joshipura believes that when we conquer the requirements for edge computing and rethink and re-engineer everything from software-defined perimeters to programmable networks, we will gain efficiencies that will enable “domain experts” to build valuable applications and businesses fueled by a more simplified, standardized approach to the edge.

“So many different industries are positioned to be completely transformed by edge computing, with the low-latency and even ultra-low latency services that unlock automation, AI and applications we haven’t yet dreamed of, some which may even save lives in the embedded health device world and make our cities and world more livable and sustainable,” Johshipura said. “The potential is truly inspiring, and we believe the only way to achieve this potential is to work together, embracing and contributing to open source, which also growing our community of talented people and committed companies with a clearer, more common vision.”

Already home to several other umbrella organizations, including Cloud Native Computing Foundation, LF Networking, and LF Deep Learning, the Foundation is continuing to not only support start-up projects in the most disruptive areas, but then organizes those into larger communities within a neutral, open environment.

LF Edge has already attracted an impressive set of more than 60 leading global members including:

  • Arm
  • AT&T
  • Baidu
  • Dell EMC
  • Dianomic Inc.
  • Ericsson
  • HP
  • HPE
  • Huawei
  • IBM
  • Intel
  • InwinStack
  • Juniper Networks
  • MobiledgeX
  • Netsia
  • Nokia Solutions
  • NTT
  • OSIsoft
  • Qualcomm
  • Radisys
  • Red Hat
  • Samsung Electronics
  • Seagate Technology
  • Tencent
  • WindRiver
  • Wipro
  • ZEDEDA

General members include dvantech Co., Alleantia srl,  Beechwoods Software Inc., Canonical Group Limited, CertusNet, CloudPlugs Inc., Concept Reply, DATA AHEAD AG, Enigmedia, EpiSensor, Foghorn Systems Inc., ForgeRock US Inc., Foundries.io, Hangzhou EMQ Technologies Co. Ltd., IOTech Systems Ltd., IoTium, KMC, Linaro, Mainflux, Mocana, NetFoundry, Packet, Pluribus Networks, RackN, Redis Labs, VaporIO, Vitro Technology Corp., Volterra Inc., Wanxiang Group; and Associate members include Automotive Edge Computing Consortium (AECC), Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (BUPT), Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), Infrastructure Masons, Inc., and Project Haystack.

“End-to-end cohesion requires big companies to come together to foster the space for industrial collaboration and emerging architectures across mobile, residential, SMB and enterprise organizations when dealing with the edge,” said Roman Shaposhnik, VP of Product and Strategy, ZEDEDA. “This initiative provides critical leadership — not just a piece of the edge puzzle — with the ultimate output being working code.”

"As devices play more important roles in our everyday lives, the edge computing is one of the key driving forces for a new computing paradigm within the IT industry,” said Seunghwan Cho, executive vice president of Samsung Research, the advanced R&D arm of Samsung Electronics' device business. "As Samsung is one of the leading open source contributors at LF Edge, we’ll be in the forefront of realizing and accelerating edge computing, which can provide assistance to a wide array of fields, including Home Edge, Industrial, and MEC.”

"The Linux Foundation has created the perfect vehicle for collaboration and coordination across the diversity of LF Edge projects," said Matt Trifiro, former chair of the Open Glossary of Edge Computing. "We see the the Open Glossary playing a vital role in fostering a shared understanding that accelerates innovation. We look forward to working with the all of the LF Edge projects to cross-pollinate terminologies and harmonize the lexicon."

“LF Edge is a strong step forward towards creating a comprehensive and coordinated set of foundational open source tools to enable developers to accelerate time to value in creating IoT and Edge computing solutions,” said Jason Shepherd, former governing board chair of EdgeX Foundry and and IoT and Edge Computing chief technology officer at Dell Technologies. “We look forward to continuing to foster IoT interoperability within the EdgeX community in addition to collaborating across LF Edge projects to develop de facto-standard APIs for intelligent interactions between the application and infrastructure planes within the broader edge ecosystem.”

Learn more about LF – www.lfedge.org.




Edited by Ken Briodagh

Contributing Writer

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