Monthly Archives

July 2018

SDX Central: EdgeX Foundry Adds Security to IoT Open Source Software

By | EdgeX Foundry, In the News

EdgeX Foundry, the Linux Foundation’s open source industrial IoT group, released its second major update to its open source IoT software. Dubbed California, the release has a smaller footprint so it can run more effectively at the edge and also incorporates several new security features.

The California release follows EdgeX’s first software release, called Barcelona, which occurred last October. California was originally scheduled to be released in April but was delayed until July so that the EdgeX developer community could rebuild the EdgeX code in Go Lang and reduce the footprint of the platform. “We launched Barcelona last October and had tremendous momentum,” said Jason Shepherd, EdgeX Foundry member and chair of the group’s governing board. “Even our developer count has doubled. We have more than 50 unique authors contributing to the code.”

Read more at SDX Central.

Part 1: The Evolution of EdgeX’s User Interface

By | Blog, EdgeX Foundry

Written by Vinoyang, EdgeX Technical Contributor and Tencent Big Data Engineer

This is a two-part blog that introduces a User Interface project in the incubation area of the EdgeX Foundry. This first blog post will disclose some of the work that was recently completed. The second blog will detail the latest developments and plans for this UI project in the future.

edgex-ui-go Refactoring

First, I’d like to thank Huaqiao Zhang from VMware for providing a Java version of the implementation of EdgeX UI. This was a huge milestone as it provided EdgeX with its first user interface:

Based on discussions with him, we decided to follow the EdgeX Foundry direction and use GoLang for the backend EdgeX UI’s operations. This  allows it to more easily operate in more resource constrained IoT edge environments. In fact, Huaqiao recently completed work on an initial GoLang implementation. A screenshot from Github of the initial Go implementation is below.

This version basically matches the capabilities provided by the original Java version. After he provided the initial version, I made a holistic and comprehensive review of the entire project. There were some areas for improvement with the initial version and work that needed be done before the work is ready to be accepted by the community. Here is a list of the improvements that needed to be made:

  • The overall layout and directory structure of this project is not a general practice of GoLang
  • There are common project code normative issues: such as hard-coded, annotated code, inconsistent code format, etc.
  • The project’s README file does not have a detailed description of the project, such as installation, deployment, compilation, and operation instructions
  • Mixed use of console printing and logging
  • Relevant information is stored in memory (volatile storage) and does not provide a database-based implementation
  • Missing a real login verification implementation
  • Lack of continuous integration to support validation of PR validity

Much of the work came from the fact that we first concentrated on simply converting the Java version to GoLang version.  As with much of the EdgeX development team, Huaqiao has just begun to learn the Go language and there was also work to do in order to bring the code into alignment with standard Go idioms, design and practices.

Overall, we corrected more than 25 issues (there are still more than 15 issues that are not outstanding). Now the code base looks like this:

Importantly, we also worked to simplify the getting, building and running of the new UI.  Now even a new EdgeX UI user, one who is completely unfamiliar with GoLang, can run a local version of EdgeX-UI by using a series of make commands.

This simplicity was not there in the initial version.

This blog focused on providing a version of the Golang implementation for edgex-ui and refactoring it so that it matches the functionality of the original Java version but looks more like a Golang project. We’ve made significant progress but the work isn’t over yet. In part 2 of this article, which will post next week, I’ll  introduce where we are now and where we’re headed with the next code release named Delhi later this year.

If you have questions or comments, visit the EdgeX Rocket.Chat and share your thoughts in the #community channel.

Welcome California!

By | Blog, EdgeX Foundry

Written by 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 second major release of EdgeX Foundry is now available!

While EdgeX is only a year old, our community is demonstrating its staying power with the second major release in its first year.  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.

So, what is new with the California release?  A lot! But before we get into the details, I want to highlight that the biggest focus of this release was to introduce a few key security capabilities and to make EdgeX smaller and faster.

Security

EdgeX began its existence without security and organizations wanting to leverage the platform had to add their own security capability. Today, EdgeX incorporates some of the first security elements.  These initial elements, while useful on their own, are essential building blocks to additional security features in the future.

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.

Performance and Scalability

The EdgeX Foundry Technical Steering Committee decided early last year in the project’s formation that we would release twice a year – once in April and once in October.  You probably noticed that it’s not April.

Last year, we decided that EdgeX 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.  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.

The extra time was well worth it!  With the California release, we’ve dramatically lowered the footprint, startup time, memory and CPU usage. Take a look at the statistics below, which compares services from our first community release last October (Barcelona) to our current release (California).

We still have work to do, but it’s now possible to run all of EdgeX on something like a Raspberry Pi 3.

Additional Features

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
  • We improved the documentation and now have documentation stored with the code in Github – allowing it to be maintained and updated more like code by the community
  • Arm 64 is now fully supported.  In fact we worked with the Linux Foundation to add external environments and tools to create native Arm 64 artifacts.
  • We added blackbox tests for all the micro services.  These are now kicked off as part of our build and continuous integration processes.
  • Other improvements were made to our continuous integration – to help streamline developer contributions

We invite you to try out the California release today (Docker Compose file here)!  

On to Delhi

Our 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
  • An EdgeX UI suitable for demos and smaller installations

Come join us!

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.  In the past six months, we have seen the number of unique authors contributing to the project code base double to more than 50. We hope you’ll consider joining our growing development community to build on this momentum by contributing to the Delhi release as well as using EdgeX in your edge/IoT solutions!

If you have questions or comments, visit the EdgeX Rocket.Chat and share your thoughts in the #community channel.

Spreading EdgeX Foundry News in Asia

By | Blog, EdgeX Foundry

Written by 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

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been traveling to China and Japan to attend the LinuxCon/Container Con/CloudOpen (LC3) conference in China as well as IoT meetups for EdgeX Foundry in Beijing and Tokyo.

As the name of the LC3 implies, it was actually 3 conferences in one and thus a full venue of keynotes, sessions and events spread over 3 days.  I was impressed by the overall scope and attendance of the conference. While there was a predominance of Chinese companies and speakers as one would expect, this was a global event with attendees and speakers flying into Beijing from all over the world.

Speaking at the LC3 show were the likes of Linus Torvalds, Chris Aniszczyk (Cloud Native Computing Foundation – CNCF COO), Abby Kearns (Cloud Foundry Foundation Executive Director), Dan Kohn (CNCF Executive Director), and Alan Clark (director for openMainframe and member of the CTO office at SUSE).  I presented a talk to around 50 attendees about using a microservice architecture to address the needs of edge computing – using EdgeX Foundry as an example. You can view the presentation here.

In addition to my talk on microservices and EdgeX, there were 11 talks over the three days in the IoT & M2M track.  A few of the ones I found interesting were:

Tiejun and his team are doing great work on all sorts of IoT-related matters.  I had a chance to visit with them at the VMware Beijing office and got to see one of his experimental robots using EdgeX!

Tiejun also played an integral role in orchestrating an EdgeX Foundry Meetup to occur simultaneously with LC3 – giving even more awareness to EdgeX in China.  Around 40-45 people showed up at the Meetup to hear a great roster of speakers share their experiences with our open source project and EdgeX Foundry member The Zephyr Project. In fact, Professor Yonghua Li from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (BUPT), which is a member of both EdgeX and Zephyr, brought a few of his students along so they could discuss how they are using the EdgeX framework and the Zephyr RTOS in their IoT solutions. You can read more about their work in this blog post.

Another one of the speakers was Huaqiao Zhang from VMware (pictured below) speaking about the EdgeX UI he recently contributed to the project. This will be released with the Delhi release in October. Check out the roadmap.

For those not keeping up on all the EdgeX Foundry news, the Industrial Internet Consortium, (IIC) recently announced the formation of the first Optimizing Manufacturing Processes by AI (OMPAI) testbed and it will be led by Wanxiang Group out of China. Read the blog post here.

China is a global leader in machine-to-machine (M2M) technology, which allows devices to wirelessly exchange information and execute tasks. M2M connections can communicate in various ways, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular. Interoperability is an important piece to this puzzle and I think that’s why there was so much interest in EdgeX Foundry in China. We hope to continue working with our members in China like VMware and the Wanxiang Group to coordinate more meetups and continue spreading awareness for EdgeX Foundry through WeChat. If you would like to be added to the EdgeX Foundry WeChat group, please email info@edgexfoundry.org with your WeChat ID.

Next on the Agenda: Tokyo

While in Japan visiting with a number of Dell Technologies customers, I had the pleasure of presenting at a Tokyo EdgeX Foundry Meetup.  Around 50 people were at this event – making it the most well attended EdgeX Meetup at which I have had the pleasure to present. Even more impressive was the fact that more than half my audience had been up since 3 am that morning to watch the Japanese national team in elimination round of the 2018 World Cup!  Interest in IoT is palatable in Japan – especially for use in the manufacturing sector.

 

The desire to learn more about edge computing and EdgeX Foundry was considerable from the Tokyo IoT crowd with the Q&A portion of my talk lasting almost as long as the talk itself.  The Q&A discussion even spilled over into a great drink/appetizer social afterwards. It was truly an engaging group and a fun afternoon.

Questions from this community included:

-Why did EdgeX chose Go? Because of its multi-platform support, ability to compile to a native executable and run small/fast and its concurrency model among other reasons

– Is EdgeX Foundry involved in standards work? EdgeX Foundry community members are actively involved with Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), OpenFog Consortium, IEEE and many other industry and consortia groups and will work to be an implementation of edge standards we think are beneficial to the space, but we are not trying to get EdgeX to be a standard.

– Are EdgeX and Edgecross related projects? The Edgecross Consortium is a Japanese-based organization that is currently working on a Windows-based edge platform that members of our community continue to have discussions with, but there is no relation between the two projects today.

Next year, The Linux Foundation announced LC3 will simply be called Open Source Summit China, which will be held in Shanghai. If you’re interested in IoT, open source and more, put the Open Source Summit China or Open Source Summit Japan on your conference list.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in what you’ll see and learn there.

If you have questions or comments, visit the EdgeX Rocket.Chat and share your thoughts in the #community channel.

Michael Hall Joins EdgeX Foundry

By | Blog, EdgeX Foundry

Written by Michael Hall, Project Evangelist and Developer Advocate for EdgeX Foundry

This week, I began a new chapter in my career by joining The Linux Foundation as a developer advocate and community manager for the EdgeX Foundry, an open platform for IoT edge computing.

I started using open source before I even knew what it was. Perl was my first programming language, and so installing libraries from CPAN became a routine task (as well as a routine challenge on SunOS). I posted my first open source code on SourceForge soon after, still thinking of it as a way for hobbyists to share their hobby, but not as something serious developers or companies would do. I still remember the feeling I had when Netscape announced that the next version of their browser, Netscape Navigator 5, would be released as open source. As a web developer in the late 90’s, Netscape was the killer app, the king of the hill, the virtual monopoly that was leaps and bounds ahead of IE4. For them to release their source code in a way that let other people see it, copy it, even improve on it, was revolutionary. And it changed forever the way I thought about open source.

Of course, anyone who lived through those turbulent times knows how that Netscape 5 story actually turned out, not because it was open source but because of business decisions and buyouts (thanks AOL!) that kept pulling the development one way and then the other. But my own journey into open source was much more straight forward. I dove in completely, releasing everything I could under an open license, using as much openly licensed software as possible. I bought (yes bought) my first copy of Linux from Best Buy in 1999, and switched my desktop permanently in 2006 when Canonical mailed me a free CD of Dapper Drake. Five years later I would join Canonical myself, and eventually land on the Community Team where I was building new communities and growing existing ones around Ubuntu and all its upstreams and downstreams. Last year, I was doing the same at Endless Computers, bringing the benefits of open technology to users in some of the most remote and disconnected parts of the world.

So, having the opportunity to join the Linux Foundation is a dream come true for me. I’ve seen first-hand how collaboration on common technology leads to more and better innovation across the board, and that is the core idea behind the Linux Foundation.

I’m excited to be joining EdgeX Foundry, which will play a crucial role in developing the way the rapidly expanding number of IoT devices are going to connect and communicate with the already massive cloud ecosystem. I will be working to improve the way new developers get started using and contributing to EdgeX Foundry, as well as teaching new organizations about the benefits of working together to solve this difficult but shared problem. I look forward to bringing my past experiences in desktop, mobile and cloud developer communities into the IoT space, and working with developers across the world to build a vibrant and welcoming community at the network edge.

Follow me at @mhall119  and stayed tuned at @EdgeXFoundry for more. Or, if you have questions or comments, visit the EdgeX Rocket.Chat and share your thoughts in the #community channel.

Sensors Mag: Sensors Expo 2018: Keynotes Took Us From Machines To The Edge And Saturn

By | EdgeX Foundry, In the News

Once again, Sensors Expo got off to a rocketing start with three dynamic and engaging keynotes that covered a wide spectrum of emerging technologies. Three expert and inspired speakers took the packed lecture hall from earth-bound human-machine applications to the edge of the IoT and then launched attendees into outer space in search for life in and beyond our solar system.

Read more at Sensors Mag.