LF Edge Project Focuses on Openness, Interoperability
The Linux Foundation’s new LF Edge project brings together three existing projects and two new ones in an effort to foster interoperability and collaboration across the development communities for edge computing and the Internet of Things.
The umbrella organization is focused on establishing an open, interoperable framework for edge computing.
“If you look at enterprise software today, there are quite a bit of proprietary stacks. Then you are locked into a vendor or a cloud,” said Arpit Joshipura, the Linux Foundation general manager for Edge and the Internet of Things IoT. “We’re seeing a whole new emergence of open hardware and open software. Edge is no different. It has happened in networking, in cloud where there is disaggregation and there’s openness. You can use any silicon, any vendor, any open source software.”
At launch, the initiative has more than 60 founding members and is focused on all the different markets: enterprise, IoT, telecom and cloud.
He pointed to five technologies on which the edge market is converging: 5G, microservices, artificial intelligence, hardware and on-demand network functions virtualization (NFV).
These technologies are most widely used in manufacturing, oil & gas, retail, home and automotive industries, while other markets, such as smart cities and healthcare may develop more slowly because of regulation, he said.
It defines edge as compute and storage on distributed devices close to the application.
“The community is saying that if an application requires 5 to 20 seconds of latency — really fast processing at the edge — that is an edge application. If you’re collecting data from a factory and shipping it to an Amazon data center hundreds of kilometers away, it might be an IoT application, but it doesn’t qualify as edge,” Joshipura said.
The projects are:
- Akraino — Focused on a framework for scaling edge cloud services quickly, maximizing applications and ensuring high availability; interoperability with third-party edge providers and hybrid cloud models; and creating blueprints to support a broad range of telecom, enterprise, and industrial edge use cases.
- EdgeX Foundry — An interoperability framework hosted within a full hardware- and OS-agnostic microservices software platform for a plug-and-play IoT ecosystem.
- Edge Virtualization Engine (EVE) — A contribution from Zededa, it offers an open and agnostic standard architecture for developing and orchestrating cloud native applications across the enterprise through virtualization of on-prem edge devices. EVE provides control of underlying resources and standard APIs for more efficient use of resources and can partition hardware to increase workload consolidation and application multitenancy.
- Home Edge Project — Samsung contributed seed code for creating a reliable and intelligent computing framework, platform and ecosystem for a variety of home edge devices.
- Open Glossary of Edge Computing — A crowdsourced, shared vocabulary for edge to create vendor-neutral terminology. Adapted from the State of the Edge report released last year by a group of vendors, the glossary can be found on GitHub with an accompanying Contributing Guide. This project aims to add granularity in four areas: infrastructure, devices, software and networking.
April is expected to bring the fourth release of EdgeX Foundry and 19 Akraino blueprints that address different edge use cases including IoT, telecom access, network cloud, and industrial automation.
Edge is a rapidly developing market projected to grow to $3.24 billion by 2025, according to a study conducted by Grand View Research.
It’s also a movement that has implications for traditional hardware and software as well as cloud installations.
“What LF Edge gives you is that multicloud capability from a software perspective. …We’re working with the cloud players as well. All these projects are working collaboratively across markets and across consortiums,” Joshipura said.
Those collaborations include standards bodies including ETSI, MEF, Open Edge Computing, Edge Computing Consortium, OpenFog, and the Industrial Internet Consortium.
“Edge does not work in isolation. [We have] all these projects, but then you have all these core projects like Kubernetes and the telecom cloud ONAP [Open Network Automation Platform]. We have working groups within those projects to work with Akraino and EdgeX.”
The number of edge devices is expected to exceed 20 billion by 2020, with video applications expected to account for 82 percent of edge traffic, followed by autonomous vehicles, augmented reality/virtual reality, industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and gaming. That’s according to a Linux Foundation/IHS Markit survey.
Telecoms, in particular, can’t ignore the threat of over-the-top video, according to Chetan Venkatesh, CEO and co-founder of Macrometa Corp., which offers a serverless edge platform. He contends that in 10 years edge will eclipse the hyperscale data centers of the cloud.
Edge Research Group analyst Jim Davis and Structure Research analyst Philbert Shih, authors of the State of the Edge report, say it will create a more open and collaborative model between the edge and the centralized cloud.
In the report, Chris Aniszczyk, Chief Technology Officer of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), says:
“The CNCF community sees edge computing as a natural extension of cloud-native practices, both on the infrastructure side as well as on the device side. Edge computing will drive a shift in how all applications are designed and managed.”
The Cloud Native Computing Foundation and the Linux Foundation are sponsors of The New Stack.