As IoT Continues to Evolve, LF Edge Explores the Edge Continuum in a New White Paper

By Arti Loftus August 03, 2020

Earlier this month, LF Edge, an umbrella organization under The Linux Foundation, published a white paper updating the industry on their continued ecosystem collaboration. LF Edge brings together projects within the Foundation, that “aims to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system.”

Readers of IoT Evolution World can relate to how hard it is to roll out Edge-Cloud solutions, especially given the multiple challenges at the edge itself., As more compute moves out to the edge to support autonomous systems, AI as part of those systems, multiple mesh and other networking options, the advancement of hardware, firmware, and cyber security and more.

This epic new white paper, which runs nearly thirty pages, is a must-read for every developer creating IoT and Industrial IoT edge solutions. Created collaboratively across the LF Edge ecosystem, it provides open source edge computing definitions, and addresses the telecom, industrial, enterprise and consumer markets.

“Edge computing represents a new paradigm in which compute and storage are located at the edge of the network, as close as both necessary and feasible to the location where data is generated and consumed, and where actions are taken in the physical world,” the announcement said. “The optimal location of these compute resources is determined by the inherent tradeoffs between the benefits of centralization and decentralization.”

In collaboration with State of the Edge’s Open Glossary project to align ecosystem terminology, the LF Edge Community published “Sharpening the Edge: Overview of the LF Edge Taxonomy and Framework” to introduce the key concepts of edge computing.

Additionally, the paper highlights emerging use cases in telecom, industrial, enterprise and consumer markets. The paper also provides details of eight LF Edge open source edge projects and can be downloaded here.

“We are thrilled to see such strong cross-community collaboration within LF Edge and beyond,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge & IoT, the Linux Foundation. “A diverse set of members from various companies came together to help define our unified approach to open edge computing, which is a key tenant of LF Edge.”

"We see the LF Edge White Paper and its innovative edge taxonomy as the 'golden spike' that unifies all of the LF Edge projects and can inform the entire edge community," said Matt Trifiro, CMO of Vapor IO and co-chair of the State of the Edge Project. "Our whole industry moves forward when we use community-driven open source to drive consensus and establish de facto standards. It works with code, and it works with information."

Intended for readers interested in both the technical and business aspects of edge computing, the white paper introduces a set of open-source software projects hosted by the Linux Foundation and LF Edge. It describes opportunities for companies to participate in and benefit from these projects, accelerating the development, deployment, and monetization of edge compute applications. The paper includes references to online resources associated with each project, providing developers with access to a technical information as well as the open-source software itself.

The paper focuses on the two main edge tiers that straddle the last mile networks, the “Service Provider Edge” and the “User Edge”, with each being further broken down into subcategories. The white paper then summarizes the edge continuum, “along with key trends that define the boundaries of each category, including the increasingly complex design tradeoffs architects need to make the closer compute resources get to the physical world.”

Concurrent to announcing the availability of the new white paper, LF Edge announced new members, including the Open Stack Foundation, and a new project led by Intel called Secure Device Onboard.

“The LF Edge community offers strong synergies with both the OpenStack project, OSF software project communities, and Edge Computing Group,” said Ildiko Vancsa, Ecosystem Technical Lead, OpenStack Foundation. “In fact, many contributors work actively across these communities. By working together more formally, these projects will more closely collaborate so that organizations deploying open infrastructure at the edge, the core or in between can do so with confidence that the two leading foundations in the space are supporting and streamlining the integration of technologies to solve their most pressing issues.”

Secure Device Onboard (SDO), which joins LF Edge as a Stage 1 project, is an automated “Zero-Touch” onboarding service. To more securely and automatically onboard and provision a device on edge hardware, it only needs to be drop-shipped to the point of installation, connected to the network, and powered up. SDO does the rest. This zero-touch model simplifies the installer’s role, reduces costs and eliminates poor security practices, such as shipping default passwords.

SDO  joins LF Edge’s other projects including: Akraino Edge StackBaetyl,  EdgeX FoundryFledgeHome EdgeOpen HorizonProject EVE and State of the Edge

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation’s projects are critical to the world’s infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and more. 

Founded in 2019, the mission of LF Edge is to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system.  

Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Special Correspondent

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