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The Inaugural EdgeX Open Hackathon

By | Blog, EdgeX Foundry

Written by Jason Shepherd, LF Edge Board Member

On October 7th and 8th, I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural EdgeX Open Hackathon in Chicago. EdgeX Foundry is focused on facilitating interoperability between devices and applications, regardless of underlying hardware, OS, and connectivity protocol. The project is ultimately about creating a de-facto standard open API that binds together a preferred mix of open source and commercial value-add.

Once EdgeX hit 1.0 status in June with the Edinburgh release, the community started planning the EdgeX Open Hackathon series for leveraging the framework in customer-valued use cases.

The inaugural EdgeX Open, hosted at the Tech Nexus coworking space in Chicago, hosted by LF Edge, EdgeX Foundry and RILA

Six teams participated in this inaugural event, representing HAVI, Intel/Intuiface, Johnson Controls, UST Global and Volteo in addition to a small independent team of registered individuals. Pre-work was allowed but a “secret ingredient” (Iron Chef-style) was introduced the day of the event to level the playing field a bit. In this case, it was a camera using Intel’s OpenVINO computer vision and image recognition model to output an object recognition algorithm to an API. Teams were able to earn extra points by integrating this technology into their solution stack.

Read on for how the hackathon went down!

Day 1:

The first day began with pitches from top sponsoring companies Dell, HP and Intel on what EdgeX Foundry means to the IoT market. Nicholas Ahrens of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) talked about the importance of innovation in retail and then Brad Corrion of Intel walked the teams through the objectives and introduced the secret ingredient.

Brad Corrion walking through the event rules

During my pitch, I had the pleasure of announcing that the EdgeX Foundry project recently hit a million total microservice downloads since the April 2017 launch. To get a sense of the accelerating momentum, half of these downloads occurred in the past two months!

With intros completed, the developers got to work. Most of the teams brought a plethora of devices to work with including cameras, sensors, scanners and a thermal printer and many had done some pre-work. Numerous developer attendees had never used EdgeX before and all were able to get the framework running quickly. Once the set-up was completed, they started with their integration of various devices and application stacks to build out their use cases.

Teams diligently working on their solutions

The participants had their choice of one of three use cases, or an open category:

  1. Advanced loss prevention – leveraging EdgeX to correlate computer vision events with telemetry from sensors such as RFID and transaction log data from Point-of-Sale systems for improved loss prevention/theft detection
  2. Dynamic personalized retail experience – leveraging computer vision and sensor data to drive an improved in-store customer experience based on individual shopper preference
  3. Inventory management – using data from sensors and scanners (hand-held and/or drone-based) to improve inventory accuracy
  4. Open category – any retail-centric use case deemed valuable by end users

While it appeared that most of the users picked the open category, the reality is that they did variants of the three main use cases. The teams wasted no time getting to work (actually many were working during the intro pitches…) and the room was bustling all day with activity.

From top (counter clockwise): Team Havi, Team Johnson Controls, Team Skanna

The UST Global team came up with an innovative solution for highly perishable food using Augmented Reality (AR) and RFID to enable grocery store associates to point a smartphone at fresh meat and produce displays to see products that are nearing or beyond the expiration date, i.e. “How fresh is the meat?” This would benefit the grocery store in terms of streamlining how they find, sort and discount expiring food, and benefit the consumer in terms of choosing between either the freshest products or benefiting from dynamic price markdowns or food nearing the expiration date. They came prepared, complete with props including fake chicken nuggets and lamb chops, making me hungry every time I walked by their table.

The UST Global team working on their solution for “How Fresh is the Meat?”

Day one wound down with a whiskey tasting which reminded me of the face-to-face TSC meeting in Edinburgh a year prior where we also ended the first day with a whiskey tasting. I sense a theme here!  Whiskey sommelier Anthony Dina selected three boutique whiskeys from the “edges of the earth” – one from a small batch distiller in the US, one from Scotland and one from New Zealand.

Whiskey from the edges of the earth

We then had some tasty Chicago deep dish pizza, followed by the “EdgeX Open Mic” – a community music jam.  Tony Espy (Canonical) and I worked up a variety of singalongs and managed to get a handful of folks belting out Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline and John Denver’s Country Roads, plus he and I did some pretty decent versions of Radiohead’s High and Dry and Jeff Buckley’s “Halleluiah”… especially considering this was only the second time we’ve played together (the first being an open mic night in Edinburgh during the Fall 2018 EdgeX F2F TSC).

Tony and I belting out the jams

Several folks came up to us afterwards and talked about how they played instruments spanning guitar to saxophone. At the next EdgeX Open, we clearly need to prepare more in advance and get a full band together, or perhaps we should just serve a little more whiskey beforehand! Or, both?

Day 2:

Day two started early with the teams continuing to build out their solutions unified by the EdgeX framework. Around 11am the judges we’re introduced – Eran Harel from AppCard, Nicholas Ahrens from RILA, Juan Santos from Tavistock Group, Mark Stutzman from Area 15, and Scott Gregory from HP. The judges subsequently spent time with each team to learn about their solutions before deliberating.

Hackathon Judges

Each team was then able to formally pitch to the judges and all participants in a final presentation that walked through their solution, what ingredients they used and how EdgeX was used for integration. The judges deliberated a bit more and then we had the closing ceremony, during which the winners were announced… and… drum roll… here they are!

The Intel/Intuiface team meeting with the judges

1st Place – Team Volteo: An inventory management and loss prevention solution that used RFID sensors and networked cameras for accurate inventory management and to record door exit events by combining POS transaction data together with merchandise movement tracked by RFID sensors and cameras.

Team Volteo

2nd Place – Team Intel/Intuiface: A predictive self-service checkout assistance solution that used RFID and computer vision to trigger an alert when a customer failed to scan items within a reasonable time and/or based on OpenVINO emotion detection during customer interaction with the kiosk.

Team Intel/Intuiface

3rd Place – Team UST Global: An AR and RFID-based solution to track ultra-perishable goods in grocery stores and allow for dynamic pricing, e.g. how fresh is the meat? They developed an AR mobile app to scan food aisles and provide details on freshness, current price, etc.

Team UST Global

And this wasn’t just for bragging rights – 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners received $5000, $2500, and $1000 in cash respectively!  As co-founders of the EdgeX Foundry project, Jim White and I had the pleasure of handing out big checks during the award ceremony, summarily checking off a to-do on my bucket list!

Congrats to Team Volteo for winning the Grand Prize!

Thanks to our sponsors!

It has been an honor for me to participate in the EdgeX community over the years and this event was no exception. Big thanks to the LF Edge and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) for hosting the event, and to sponsors Canonical, Deep Vision, Dell Technologies, HP, Intel, IoTium and ZEDEDA who also provided their commercial offerings for the developers to use in their solutions as well as tech support on-site. Also, a shout-out to the planning committee which included volunteers from Dell, HP, IBM, Intel and the Linux Foundation.

EdgeX Foundry community leaders helped answer questions and more during the hackathon

Looking forward

The concept behind the EdgeX Open Hackathon is for it to be a global franchise series. Other markets in discussion for future events include manufacturing, smart cities, oil and gas, utilities/energy, agriculture, healthcare and beyond.

Stay tuned for more detail on the next installment, for which we also plan to include more about the overall LF Edge value prop by pulling from other enabling projects within the umbrella, combined with sponsor content. We’re thinking manufacturing in the Spring 2020 timeframe, likely aligned with an industry event such as Hannover Messe in a nearby town in Europe.

In the meantime, download EdgeX and build something great!

 

End User Case Study: Monitoring industrial equipment using EdgeX Foundry

By | Blog, EdgeX Foundry

By Jason Shepherd, LF Edge Governing Board member and IoT and Edge Computing CTO, Dell Technologies

Founded in 1996, Technotects is an IoT technology consulting firm with broad domain expertise in industrial use cases. When one of their industrial equipment OEM customers independently realized the power of the EdgeX Foundry framework, Technotects planned and executed a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) with one of their customer’s typical process skid use cases.

This blog walks through the successful PoC, including what the solution entailed and Technotects’ experience working with the EdgeX platform. We’re seeing more and more of these types of real-world applications go public in the community on the heels of the EdgeX Foundry “1.0” Edinburgh release.

The use case

The use case for the PoC is monitoring sensor and pump information from a process skid used in a variety of applications, including agricultural, flavors and fragrances, pharmaceutical, petro-chem and food/beverage industries. Technotects’ goal of the effort was to prove that the EdgeX Foundry platform, combined with commercial value-add from the ecosystem, can provide an Internet of Things (IoT) solution stack that can address the unique interoperability challenges that industrial applications present, such as a mix of connectivity protocols and near real-time I/O processing, all while giving them the freedom of choice by being decoupled from proprietary, single-vendor solutions. In turn, this would allow their customers to improve their overall solution architectures, reduce runtime royalties and accelerate their time-to-market.

EdgeX-enabled Dell gateway utilized in the Technotects PoC

Technotects’ initial interest in EdgeX Foundry was the flexibility offered by the open ecosystem and the potential of reducing excessive runtime licensing fees per deployed host node, based on the combination of a proprietary edge application framework, edge historian and both southbound and northbound connectivity. In addition, they were attracted to the ability to make build-or-buy decisions with EdgeX without being locked into any specific choice for connectivity or applications value-add services.

The PoC basics

For the PoC, Technotects leveraged a Dell Edge Gateway 3002, Photon OS and VMware Pulse IoT Center, Edge Xpert from IOTech, RedisEdge from Redis Labs, Project Iris from RSA Labs, both AWS and Azure cloud platforms (hosting Redis for data backup) and a custom-built edge management console. Refer to the figure below for a block diagram of the setup and read on for more detail on how the effort came together.

IIoT Edge Stack Block Diagram for the Technotects PoC

Solution deep dive

For the EdgeX foundation of the stack, Technotects chose to work with IOTech’s Edge Xpert offering – a commercially-supported variant of the open source code that is available from the project GitHub within the Linux Foundation. Their use of Edge Xpert enabled them to focus on the integration with their customer’s preferred value-add software components rather than dealing with the open source code. They found IOTech’s documentation to be clear and the initial installation to be quick and straightforward – benefits when using a commercial variant that has additional hardening and packaging. Of course, using a commercially-supported variant versus simply downloading the open source code is a matter of personal preference.

EdgeX is completely neutral to OS, underlying hardware, protocol and programming language, and for this PoC, Technotects chose to leverage the Dell Edge Gateway 3002 and both Ubuntu from Canonical and Photon OS. Photon OS is an open source, container-optimized Linux distribution that has been nested within VMware’s vSphere offering for some time. Technotects was able to run their console, communication drivers, Edge Xpert and all the other referenced value-add software components in Docker containers in both operating systems, all without issue. They find that having the flexibility to deploy on any combination of hardware (x86 or ARM) and operating systems (Linux or Windows) in the field depending on customer need is valuable.

For southbound connectivity, Technotects leveraged a hybrid model. The process skids leverage a programmable logic controller for process control and for this PoC, Technotects used a commercially available Ethernet/IP driver to communicate with it. In turn, they connected this off-the-shelf, licensed driver package into the OPC-UA Device Service native to EdgeX. To connect to other devices on the skid, Technotects used the Modbus TCP protocol from IOTech’s Edge Xpert offer, written using the native EdgeX Device Service SDK. With the plug-in Device Service model, any combination of devices and protocols can be readily added in the future as needs evolve.

The solution architecture is a great example of both 1) how existing connectivity stacks can be used alongside native EdgeX Device Services in a hybrid model and 2) that in the EdgeX model, even connectivity written with the open EdgeX Device Service SDK can be monetized. Commercially-supported variants of EdgeX Device Services are likely to be attractive to end users with mission-critical use cases that involve bespoke and/or proprietary protocols in that support for this southbound connectivity often requires institutional knowledge gleaned from reverse engineering.

Meanwhile, end users can benefit from a growing number of open source Device Service options available within the community and increasingly Device Services that are supported by sensor makers for greenfield applications, coming with the sensor just like a keyboard comes with a driver for a PC. (Side note: There are numerous additional opportunities in development in the EdgeX ecosystem, although I must be sensitive to NDAs until they’re made publicly available). Net-net, the value of the open, vendor-neutral EdgeX ecosystem is in providing developers and end users with choices based on whatever is most valuable for their business.

Technotects leveraged VMware’s Pulse IoT Center to manage and monitor the underlying gateway hardware, OS and the EdgeX application framework above. VMware Pulse is a massively scalable, platform and application-independent solution for onboarding, managing, securing and monitoring IoT devices and gateways. System update campaigns can be applied in bulk and admins are alerted to any issues with their devices deployed out in the field, all in real-time. While VMware Pulse can be used standalone with its embedded device agent, it’s especially powerful when used in concert with the EdgeX framework. Any preferred console to manage applications and the underlying host system can be used with the EdgeX framework, with application-level functionality being enhanced by taking advantage of the EdgeX System Management Agent (SMA).

Technotects found the northbound connectivity to both Azure and AWS available in IOTech’s Edge Xpert to be very easy to configure. This highlights a key benefit of the EdgeX framework – decoupling investments in southbound data ingestion from any given cloud to enable choice over the long term, including realizing true-multitenancy from the edge. With the addition of support for multiple application services in the recent 1.0 Edinburgh release, data related to infrastructure monitoring and management can be sent to their management console of choice (in this case VMware’s Pulse IoT Center), whereas data related to the process for data analytics and taking action can be sent to any combination of on-prem or cloud-based application stacks of choice.

For local data persistence, Technotects chose RedisEdge over the MongoDB reference database that has been the baseline in the project until the recent 1.0 Edinburgh release. Technotects found it very easy to replace MongoDB with RedisEdge with no functionality differences, thanks to the work of Redis Labs in terms of making it an available plug-in within the EdgeX ecosystem. This is yet another example of how EdgeX is truly open and vendor-neutral, enabling users to leverage any enhancing functionality of their choice.

Finally, the PoC explored RSA Labs’ Project Iris active threat monitoring solution. Iris is a container that plugs into the EdgeX framework (and any other stack that supports containers) to profile baseline behavior for the stack and connected devices and then uses machine learning to detect anomalies. In turn Iris create alerts linked back to RSA’s popular Netwitness offering.

Conclusion

In closing, Technotects found EdgeX Foundry easy to work with and was able to successfully replicate their customer’s use case for process skid monitoring by leveraging the commercially supported framework from IOTech and value-add from Canonical, Dell, Redis, RSA and VMware. The flexibility to simply plug value-add into the open, vendor-neutral EdgeX foundation will provide both Technotects and their customers with more options in the future and help mitigate lock-in to proprietary edge platforms.

The EdgeX project has matured over the past two years to the current 1.0 state, and if you’re one of the thousands of end users that has been quietly prototyping with the platform, we welcome you to come forward and share your story on the project website through a blog or simple testimonial statement. The more people that come forward to share their success stories, the faster EdgeX will become the de-facto standard interoperability framework for the IoT Edge and the more we can all focus on innovation rather than reinvention!

Thank you for your time, and now’s your time to download the code or contact any of the providers in the ecosystem and build something great! Perhaps, as many have, even start your own business model around the EdgeX framework – just think of what Android did for scaling out an application and services ecosystem for mobile devices.

f you have questions or comments, visit the EdgeX Foundry Slack Channel and share your thoughts in the #community channel. Or, join the LF Edge Slack Channel and share your thoughts in the #EdgeX channel.

An Akraino Developer Use Case

By | Akraino, Akraino Edge Stack, Blog

Written by technical members members of the Akraino Edge Stack project including Bruce Lin, Rutgers; Robert Qiu, Tencent; Hechun Zhang, Baidu; Tina Tsou, Arm; Ciprian Barbu, Enea; Allen Chen, Tencent; Gabriel Yang, Huawei; Feng Yang, Tencent; Jeremy Liu, Tencent ; Tapio Tallgren, Nokia; Cristina Pauna, Enea

More intelligent edge nodes are deployed in 5G era. This blog shares a developer use case out of the Akraino project that the community is working on, specifically Telco  Appliance Blueprint Family, Connected Vehicle Blueprint, ELIOT: Edge Lightweight and IoT Blueprint Family, Micro-MEC, The AI Edge Blueprint Family, and 5G MEC/Slice System to Support Cloud Gaming, HD Video and Live Broadcasting Blueprint.

Telco Appliance Blueprint Family

Telco Appliance blueprint family provides a reusable set of modules that will be used to create sibling blueprints for other purpose tuned appliances.

Appliance model automates the installation, configuration and testing of:

  • Firmware and/or BIOS/UEFI
  • Base Operating System
  • Components for managing containers, performance, fault, logging, networking, CPU

The first blueprint integrated with TA is REC. Other appliances will be created by combining other applications with the same underlying components to create additional blueprints.

TA produces an ISO that, after being installed in the cluster, provides the underlying tools needed by the applications that come on top of it. The build of this ISO is automated in Akraino’s CI and it includes:

  • Build-tools: Based on OpenStack Disk Image Builder
  • Dracut: Tool for building ISO images for CentOS
  • RPM Builder: Common code for creating RPM packages
  • Specs: the build specification for each RPM package
  • Dockerfiles: the build specifications for each Docker container
  • Unit files: the systemd configuration for starting/stopping services
  • Ansible playbooks: Configuration of all the various components
  • Test automation framework

The image provides the following components, used during installation:

  • L3 Deployer: an OpenStack Ironic-based hardware manager framework
  • Hardware Detector: Used to adapt L3 deployer to specific hardware
  • North-bound REST API framework: For creating/extending blueprint APIs
  • CLI interface
  • AAA server to manage cloud infrastructure users and their roles
  • Configuration management
  • Container image registry
  • Security hardening configuration
  • A distributed lock management framework
  • Remote Installer: Docker image used by Regional Controller to launch deployer

The image provides the following components, usable by the applications:

  • CPU Pooler: Open Source Nokia project for K8s CPU management
  • DANM: Open Source Nokia project for K8s network management
  • Flannel: K8s networking component
  • Helm: K8s package manager
  • etcd: K8s distributed key-value store
  • kubedns: K8s DNS
  • Kubernetes
  • Fluentd: Logging service
  • Elasticsearch: Logging service
  • Prometheus: Performance measurement service
  • OpenStack Swift: Used for container image storage
  • Ceph: Distributed block storage
  • NTP: Network Time Protocol
  • MariaDB, Galera: Database for OpenStack components
  • RabbitMQ: Message Queue for Openstack components
  • Python Peewee: A Python ORM
  • Redis

Radio Edge Cloud (REC)

Akraino Radio Edge Cloud (REC) provides an appliance tuned to support the O-RAN Alliance and O-RAN Software Community‘s Radio Access Network Intelligent Controller (RIC) and is the first example of the Telco Appliance blueprint family.

  • RIC on Kubernetes on “bare metal” tuned for low latency round trip messaging between RIC and eNodeB/gNodeB,
  • Support for telco networking requirements such as SRIOV, dual POD interfaces, IPVLAN
  • Built from reusable components of the “Telco Appliance” blueprint family
  • Automated Continuous Deployment pipeline testing the full software stack (bottom to top, from firmware up to and including application) simultaneously on chassis based extended environmental range servers and commodity datacenter servers
  • Integrated with Regional Controller (Akraino Feature Project) for “zero touch” deployment of REC to edge sites
  • Deployable to multiple hardware models

In Akraino, the work on this blueprint will fully automate the deployment and testing on multiple hardware platforms in a Continuous Deployment system.

SDN Enabled Broadband Access (SEBA):

Here is SEBA user story.

As a Service Provider, I want to setup SEBA environment so that I can use ONF SEBA platform.

As an Administrator, I want to validate HOST OS environment so that I can install Kubernetes/SEBA.

As an Administrator, I want to validate Software environment so that I can install Kubernetes/SEBA

As an Administrator, I want to validate Virtual Machines for my Kubernetes/SEBA environment so that I can validate environment

As a Administrator, I want to validate services for my Kubernetes/SEBA environment so that validate working environment

SEBA validation on ARM – IEC Type 2

SEBA stands for SDN Enabled Broadband Access. It is an ONF/Opencord project which implements a lightweight platform, based on R-CORD. It supports a multitude of virtualized access technologies at the edge of the carrier network, including PON, G.Fast, and eventually DOCSIS and more.

SEBA is also an Akraino Blueprint, but in the context of the IEC Blueprint, the SEBA usecase is deployed and verified on an IEC Type 2 platform. IEC is also the main Akraino sub-project/blueprint which enables ARM architectures for Telco/Enterprise Edge applications.

For the purpose of validating SEBA on IEC Type 2, a SEBA compliant ARM64 lab has been setup at the Akraino Community Lab at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). The lab consists of two development PODs, using Marvel ThunderX2 networking processor equipped servers and Ampere HR330A servers.

The connectivity is provided by Edgecore 7816-64X TOR switches which fulfill the role of Fabric Switches in the SEBA Architecture.

For the validation work we have first ported and deployed BBSim on IEC for ARM64 and right now there is ongoing work for porting and verifying PONSim.

PONSim is also a central piece of SEBA-in-a-Box (SIAB) which is one of the main testing CI/CD projects in upstream Opencord Jenkins infrastructure.

There is ongoing work in Akraino IEC for replicating the SIAB setup by utilizing the same testing environments and facilities provided by Opencord.

Finally, recent collaboration with Opencord resulted in forming a Multiarch Brigade with the purpose of making SEBA seamlessly work on multiple architectures apart from the x86 servers. So far there has been some evident interest from the community and other parties for enabling multiarch support and perpetual verification in a CI/CD manner by adapting the Opencord infrastructure to support other architectures and ARM64 in particular.

Connected Vehicle Blueprint

Connected Vehicle Blueprint focuses on establishing an open source MEC platform, which is the backbone for V2X application.

From use cases perspectives,  the following are the use cases we have tested in our companies. More is possible in the future.

  • Accurate Location: Accuracy of location improved by over 10 times than today’s GPS system.Today’s GPS system is around 5-10 meters away from your reallocation, <1 meter is possible with the help of Connected Vehicle Blueprint.
  • Smarter Navigation: Real-time traffic information update, reduce the latency from minutes to seconds, figure out the most efficient way for drivers.
  • Safe Drive Improvement: Figure out the potential risks which can NOT be seen by the driver.
  • Reduce traffic violation: Let the driver understand the traffic rules in some specific area.For instance, change the line prior to narrow street, avoiding opposite way drive in the one way road, avoiding carpool lane when single driver etc.

From technology architecture perspective,  the blueprint consists of four major layers.

  • Hardware Layer: Connected Vehicle Blueprint runs on top of community hardware. Both Arm and x86 server are well supported.
  • IaaS Layer: Connected Vehicle Blueprint can be deployed in virtual environment as well.  Virtual Machine , Container as well as other IaaS mainstream software(like openstake, kubernates et al)  are supported.
  • PaaS Layer:Tars is the microservice framework of Connected Vehicle Blueprint. Tars can provide high performance RPC call, deploy microservice in larger scale-out scenario efficiently, provide easy-to-understand service monitor feature.
  • SaaS Layer: The latest v2x application depicted in upper use cases perspective.

From network architecture perspective,  the blueprint can be deployed in both 4G and 5G network. Two key points should be paid special attention to. One is offloading data to edge MEC platform.  The policy of data offload is configurable based on different applications.  The other is the ability that letting the edge talks to the other edges as well as remote data center. In some use cases, date process in one edge can NOT address the application’s requirements. We need to collect the data from different edges and figure out a “conclusion” for the application.

ELIOT: Edge Lightweight and IoT Blueprint Family

ELIOT AIoT in Smart Office Blueprint

This blueprint provides edge computing solutions for smart office scenarios. It manages intelligent devices, delivers AI training models and configures rules engine through cloud-edge  collaboration.

Services provided by cloud side:

  • Devices management
  • AI models training and deliver
  • Rules engine configuration
  • Third-party applications

Services provided by edge side:

  • Sending/Receiving devices data
  • Data analysis
  • AI models/Functions execution

Deployment environment:

  • Kubernetes
  • Container
  • VM
  • Bare Metal

Recently, we are still developing this project and Tencent will keep devoting great efforts to the research and development of this blueprint. In the near future, the project will also be open source. Any partners interested in this project are welcome to contact us and let’s work together to promote the application of edge computing in the field of smart office.

The AI Edge Blueprint Family

With this blueprint, teachers and school authorities could conduct a full evaluation of the overall class and the concentration of individual students, helping to fully understand the real time teaching situation. According to the concentration data of each course, teachers and school authorities can conduct knowledge test and strengthen.

The AI Edge Blueprint mainly focuses on establishing an open source MEC platform combined with AI capacities at the Edge, which could be used for safety, security, and surveillance sectors.

5G MEC/Slice System to Support Cloud Gaming, HD Video and Live Broadcasting Blueprint.

The purpose of the blueprint is to offer a 5G MEC networking platform to support delay sensitive, bandwidth consuming services, such as cloud gaming, HD video and live broadcasting. In addition, network slicing will be utilized to guarantee excellent user experience.

As a service provider of cloud gaming, I want to set up a computing platform to execute game rendering as well as video encoding, and deliver the compressed video to the player via a 4G/5G network.

As cloud gaming is sensitive to latency, the computing platform is required to be as close as possible to the network edge. Besides that, a mechanism to discover the service and direct players’ traffic to the platform is demanded.

To direct players’ traffic to the platform, I install an edge connector which is responsible for enabling flexible traffic offloading by interacting with EPC or 5GC, and subscribing the edge slice, which provisions a certain level of QoS between UE and edge application.

To interface with the user plane of 4G or 5G, I install an edge gateway (GW). In 5G SA, the edge GW is connected to a UPF, to manage the traffic from the mobile network. In 5G NSA or 4G, the edge GW is connected to an eNB or SGW, with an additional function of handling GTP-U, the tunneling protocol adopted by 4G and 5G.

When a player accesses a cloud gaming service hosted on the platform, the edge connector will establish an appropriate route between the mobile network and the edge GW. The compressed video and the player’s control data will be transferred between the gaming server and the user equipment, traversing the edge GW.

As a service provider of live broadcasting or HD video delivery, I want to set up a platform to transcode the video source to fit the bandwidth of the transport.

Similar to the cloud gaming use case, an edge connector is installed to direct the traffic to the computing platform, and an edge GW is installed to manage the mobile traffic and terminate GTP-U under 4G or 5G NSA. The computing platform will transfer the format of the video to be adapted to either the wireless link towards the mobile user or the transport towards the internet. The computing platform may be connected to a CDN to optimize the live broadcasting or HD video delivery.

Micro-MEC (µMEC)

 µMEC is a low-power, low-cost server at the edge of the network that supports Smart City use cases with different sensors (including cameras), is connected to Internet and telco networks, and allows third-party developers to create ETSI MEC applications to it.

So the µMEC focuses on Smart City use cases. If you had different smart sensors in a city, collecting data that is available for free, what could you make possible? That was the challenge that we gave in a developer hackathon in May. We used the Akraino uMEC platform and created a model city. Different sensors collected information and made it available through a database.

 

For the next hackathon, we want to make it very easy for developers to create applications that run on the µMEC device itself. For this, we are implementing ETSI MEC compliant interfaces and leverage the OpenFAAS serverless platform.

The µMEC platform that we are developing in Akraino will have a trusted computing stack, from trusted hardware to secure networking and signed containers.

Akraino will be hosting a MEC Hackathon on November 18 at Qualcomm. For more information or to register, visit the Akraino MEC Hackathon wiki.  For more informations about Akraino or blueprints, click here.

Running K8s Conformance Tests in Akraino Edge Stack

By | Akraino, Blog

By Cristina Pauna, Bin Lu, Howard Zhang

Due to the large scale f its projects and various application scenarios, Akraino Edge Stack is complex when it comes to testing logistics;  normal integration or unit tests are not enough for testing the projects. To ensure that the full deployment is both functional and reliable, it needs to be tested at all layers of the stack, from hardware to application. To verify deployments based on Kubernetes at the platform layer, K8s conformance is a good way to do this job.

The k8s conformance tests are used in the CNCF vendor  Certified Kubernetes program. It integrates end-to-end (e2e) testing in Kubernetes which contains a wide range of test cases, and passing them proves a high level of common functionality of the platform.

K8s Conformance Tests in Akraino

General testing in Akraino is done using the Blueprint Validation Framework. The framework provides tests at different layers of the stack, such as hardware, operating system, cloud infrastructure, security, etc. Each layer has its own container image built by the validation project. The full list of images provided can be found in the project’s DockerHub repo. The validation project has an multi-arch approach. All images currently support both x86_64 and aarch64 architectures, and can be easily extended to other platform architectures in the future. This is implemented using docker manifest list so the same image name is used to pull regardless of the architecture of the System Under Test. Therefore the steps described in this article apply regardless of the architecture of the SUT.

The Kubernetes conformance tests are included in the k8s layer. The test suit can be run in a couple of ways, either by directly calling the e2e tool or though sonobuoy, which is a diagnostic tool that gathers logs and and stats in one archive. Regardless of how the tests are ran, it is possible to customise what test cases are included, which versions and even the container images within the tooling.

In Akraino, the conformance suite is run from a separate container, using the validation image built for the k8s layer: akraino/validation:k8s-latest. This image contains all of the tooling necessary for running tests on the k8s layer in Akraino, as well as the tests themselves. The tools that go into the image can be found in its Dockerfile. The container is designed to be started on a remote host that has access to the k8s cluster. Check the validation project User guide for more information on the setup.

The conformance suite is customized using the sonobuoy.yaml file. Some of the images used by sonobuoy in Akraino are built by the validation project in order to customize them to fit the community’s needs (e.g. akraino/validation:sonobuoy-plugin-systemd-logs-latest is based on the official gcr.io/heptio-images/sonobuoy-plugin-systemd-logs:latest but with added aarch64 support).

Prerequisites

Before running the image, copy the folder ~/.kube from your Kubernetes master node to a local folder (e.g. /home/ubuntu/kube) that will later be mounted in the container. Optionally, the results folder can be mounted in order to have the logs stored on the local server.

Run the tests

The Akraino validation project has a variety of tests for the k8s layer. To run just the conformance tests, follow the steps below:

  1. Clone the validation repo.
  2. Create a customized blueprint that will be passed to the container. The blueprint will contain just the conformance suite in it, like in the example below.

3. Fill in volumes.yaml file with the data that applies to your setup. The volumes that don’t have a local value set will be ignored. Do not modify the target part of each volume. These paths will be automatically created inside the container when started, and are fixed paths that the tools inside the container expect to exist as is.

In the example below, only the following volumes are set:

  • Location to the kube config files needed for access to the cluster
  • Location to the customized blueprint file
  • Location to where to store the results

4.  Run the tests

To run the tests, the blucon.py command is used which needs the name of the blueprint as input. The full suite takes around one hour to run, depending on the setup.

The sonobuoy containers can be seen running on the cluster on the heptio-sonobuoy namespace.

Get the results

The results are stored inside the container in the /opt/akraino/results folder. If a volume was mounted to this folder (e.g. /home/ubuntu/results) then they can be viewed from the host where the test was ran.

The results can be viewed with a browser, using the report.html file that the robot framework provides. In case of failures, the sonobuoy archive can be used to inspect all the logs.

 

EdgeX Foundry Contributors and Users Share Thoughts on the Edinburgh Release, the Growing Ecosystem and more!

By | Blog, EdgeX Foundry

Last month, EdgeX Foundry released its production ready Edinburgh release, which provides an open platform for IoT edge computing to a growing global ecosystem for a range of vertical markets including enterprise, industrial, retail and consumer. The fourth release in the EdgeX roadmap, the EdgeX Edinburgh release supports complementary products and services such as commercial support, training and customer pilot programs created by LF Edge members and contributors.

Now that EdgeX is “ready for primetime,” learn more about what contributors and users of the EdgeX Foundry platform had to say about the new release.

According to AWS, AWS, Dell Technologies, and the open-source EdgeX Foundry have collaborated to create IoT edge interoperability and simplify integration across inherently heterogeneous solution stacks. AWS customers can now seamlessly deploy AWS IoT Greengrass to the IoT edge within the EdgeX framework. The EdgeX framework enables data ingestion across connected devices and data sources for AWS IoT Greengrass and AWS IoT Core. This is further enhanced with plug-in value-add from the growing EdgeX and LF Edge ecosystems.

“AMD processors deliver the performance, advanced security features, and scalability to support the most demanding edge computing requirements, while providing breakthrough processing agility for x86-based IoT infrastructure. As a founding member of EdgeX Foundry, AMD continues to support a powerful and open ecosystem for interoperable IoT and edge compute solutions, that leverage the robust, scalable and open EdgeX framework.” – said Amey Deosthali, Director of Embedded Channel Applications, AMD

“HP joined the LF Edge project to help facilitate collaboration among industry-leading vendors and partners to solve common business problems. We are happy to see the Edinburgh production release by EdgeX Foundry to help support that objective. This release delivers commercial viability with increased stability and connectivity across a wide range of standards to reduce costs, complexity, and time to deploy. We look forward to seeing innovations at the edge that accelerate deployment of comprehensive retail use cases.” – Aaron Weiss, Vice President and General Manager, Retail Solutions, HP Inc.

“With the EdgeX Foundry Edinburgh Release, industrial IoT companies can easily integrate Mocana’s TrustCenter™ and TrustPoint™ cyber protection software solution to ensure the safety and reliability of industrial gateways and controllers. Mocana’s FIPS 140-2 validated device security software and security management platform enable companies to build and operate tamper-resistant products that protect the device, data, applications and communications. EdgeX and Mocana together help manufacturers and operators to accelerate compliance, ensure privacy, and protect the most complex industrial systems that run microservices, containerized applications, and hardware-based secure elements, such as the Trusted Platform Module (TPM).” – Keao Caindec, Head of Cyber Protection & Privacy, Mocana

“The production-ready EdgeX Foundry Edinburgh release provides important new capabilities for edge computing nodes.  The availability of an open, vendor-neutral source framework for connecting IoT devices to applications and cloud computing facilities is critical to the success of IoT and Edge processing efforts across multiple industries.” – Sam Fuller, Director of Strategy, NXP Semiconductors

EdgeX Foundry Hackathon

The EdgeX Foundry community is planning a series of hackathons focused on addressing real-world use cases with solutions built from commercial content from sponsors unified by the EdgeX framework.

The inaugural EdgeX hackathon will be hosted at Tech Nexus in Chicago on October 7 and 8. The event will focus on the retail market and work stemmed from the Commerce (e.g. Retail) Working Group within the EdgeX Foundry project and the related Open Retail Initiative (ORI).

Participating developers (from students to retail end users) will use their talents and creativity combined with the EdgeX framework, commercial content from sponsoring companies and the rules of the event to develop a solution for either one of the specified customer-valued retail use-cases or an additional open category.

Details about the competition, link to register and more will be available in the next few weeks. Stay tuned here for more.

Other supportive quotes:

“EdgeX Foundry is the key component of Beechwoods IoT gateway solution that allows our customers to engage confidently in edge computing technology. With the Edinburgh release, this solution will be ready to transition from customer engagement to product deployment.” – Brad Kemp, President, Beechwoods Software

“The Edinburgh release of EdgeX Foundry brings much needed standardization and stability for edge computing in production environments through an open source, common framework. The availability of the EdgeX Foundry snap enables developers an easy path to getting started with EdgeX Foundry, and benefit from confinement, easy integration into their own infrastructure, and automatic updates. In addition, this release introduces new device snaps providing integration with MQTT and ModBus.”- Loic Minier, IoT Field Engineering Director, Canonical

“As EdgeX Foundry reaches maturity with the Edinburgh release, CloudPlugs is excited to also announce the integration of the CloudPlugs IIoT platform with the open EdgeX ecosystem.  CloudPlugs IoT is a robust backend to deploy, orchestrate and manage EdgeX-compliant devices and micro service-based applications, as well as to manage and visualize field data. The EdgeX framework provides new levels of flexibility in field-level interoperability and the combination of EdgeX with CloudPlugs IoT delivers a powerful, end-to-end software and service stack to digitize assets and to deploy commercial and industrial IoT solutions at scale.” – Jimmy Garcia-Meza, CEO, CloudPLugs Inc. 

“Having started the EdgeX movement with a small team at Dell before contributing the code to the Linux Foundation, it’s certainly amazing to see the traction we’ve gotten through open, vendor neutral collaboration in a few short years. It’s a testament to the power of the network effect in the open source community which ultimately enables developers to focus on value rather than reinvention.” – Jason Shepherd, former chair of the EdgeX Foundry Governing Board and IoT and Edge CTO, Dell Technologies

“EdgeX Foundry provides an important software platform standardizing on the south bound IoT device connectivity and northbound data storage connectivity and allows vendors to plug in their core IoT capabilities in between. FogHorn is aligned with this data ingestion and publication standardization and will continue to collaborate as appropriate.” – Sastry Malladi, CTO, FogHorn

“The EdgeX platform offers HMS Networks a path to quickly build Industrial IoT solutions by providing predefined set of services for I/O functionality. HMS has created a J1939 service for EdgeX platform to help simplify IoT solutions for the commercial vehicle telemetry market. Ultimately, the EdgeX platform will significantly reduce the R&D investment required to create a majority of the Industrial IoT applications required in the market today.” – Tom McKinney, Director Engineering Services and Business Development, HMS Networks

“EdgeX Foundry is an important project arriving at the right time. It promises to connect devices to capabilities, and then get out of the way so you can run containerized workloads to generate insights, run model scoring, or detect anomalies… all at the edge. IBM is collaborating with EdgeX Foundry as part of our hybrid cloud strategy to help enterprises unlock the value of data from on-premises to the cloud to the edge.” – David Boloker, Distinguished Engineer, IBM

“EdgeX Foundry’s open source platform enables the industrial software ecosystem to integrate rapidly with ioTium’s managed services converged infrastructure offering – it’s microservices framework with open APIs is a powerful driver in the fragmented Industrial Control Systems market. ioTium enables rapid scalable deployment of the EdgeX Foundry framework globally.”- Ron Victor, CEO, ioTium 

“EdgeX Foundry provides an open framework for ease of design, development, & deployment at the Edge, while addressing stringent security,  privacy & compliance requirements. NetFoundry added its vendor-agnostic, connectivity-as-code solution to  EdgeX in order to enable developers and integrators to get similar ease of use, security and performance for their northbound application connectivity to core, clouds and service meshes. With the release of the EdgeX Edinburgh release, the EdgeX Foundry developer community has all the tools needed to deliver on market needs and ensure secure, agile innovation at the Edge” – Galeal Zino, CEO, NetFoundry Inc.

“As Digital Transformation for IoT gathers momentum, companies are demanding the same reliability, performance and security at the edge as they are used to getting from their Cloud Computing stack. With this release, EdgeX with Redis Labs RedisEdge not only delivers upon those expectations, but provides an ecosystem of open source technologies and plug-ins such as Redis Modules that help developers innovate.” – Dave Nielsen, Head of Community and Ecosystem Programs, Redis Labs

“EdgeX Foundry addresses the problem of the license stack at the IoT Edge constantly increasing in cost by providing a well architected, high performance, open source platform that can be used for industrial solutions today.” Mike Malone, Vice President, Technotects, Inc.

“EdgeX Foundry’s global community ecosystem has experienced explosive growth, and the tangible advances delivered in the EdgeX  Edinburgh release are exciting developments for edge computing. We fully support EdgeX Foundry’s goals to establish an open interoperable framework for edge computing to provide developers with increased control over how, when, where and with whom they run their applications and manage their data. We look forward to continuing our contributions to the EdgeX Foundry community and related efforts in fostering open industry-wide innovation such as the Open Retail initiative.” – Mimi Spier, Vice President, Edge and IoT Business, VMware

“As a founding member of LF Edge, Wipro is proud to have contributed to the Edinburgh release. We will continue to actively participate as it is a key platform for delivering open, microservices-based, edge IoT applications for today’s interoperable distributed enterprise world.” – Andrew Aitken, general manager and global open source practice leader, Wipro Limited.

“ZEDEDA’s vision is to free cloud-native and legacy apps to run on any edge device anywhere in the world. This vision drives our support for EdgeX Foundry and its mission of promoting open interoperability between edge devices. We’ve made our virtualization solutions compatible with EdgeX releases because we believe they will have a central role in our industry’s future.” – Joel Vincent, VP Marketing, ZEDEDA

To learn more about the EdgeX Foundry Edinburgh release:

Building Automation: A Sweet Spot for EdgeX Foundry

By | Blog, EdgeX Foundry

Written by Andy Foster, active member of the EdgeX Foundry technical community and Product Director at IOTech

The key objective for LF Edge’s EdgeX Foundry is to create a flexible and open edge computing IoT platform that can support a range of different vertical use cases across markets such as manufacturing, oil & gas and smart energy. A key vertical market that has emerged for the community and IOTech, in particular, has been involved in multiple projects is Building Automation.

Why is Building Automation proving to be such a sweet spot for EdgeX? In our experience, the requirements of the next generation of Building Automation applications align perfectly with the capabilities of EdgeX.  In particular, a modern building is a sophisticated and heterogeneous environment consisting of diverse subsystems including lighting, HVAC and access control. Data can be generated from multiple sources using a range of different device/sensor technologies and protocols (e.g. Modbus, BACnet, DALI, MQTT and others).

The sensor data must be normalized by the IoT platform running on an Edge node e.g. an industrial Gateway or on-premise server. The data can then be fed into the building management analytics which can make smart control decisions in “near” real-time on how to automatically optimize the building environment for the benefit of the users and also the building owners.  As an open source project, EdgeX Foundry (can support any “Southbound” OT protocol or “Northbound” Cloud endpoint) and its platform independence (not tied to a specific operating system or hardware/silicon) is key to its suitability for Building Automation use cases. Most importantly, EdgeX also provides “out-of-the-box” connectivity for a number of the protocols most commonly required in a smart building system. As of the most recent EdgeX Edinburgh release the list includes Modbus, BACNet, MQTT and OPC UA Device Services.

The below video showcases the demo created by IOTech on behalf of the Linux Foundation to highlight the key capabilities that make EdgeX a great choice of Edge IoT Platform for use in Building Automation applications. It shows the integration of multiple devices commonly found in commercial buildings (light and temperature sensors, HVAC controller, DALI lighting controllers, power meter and access control system). Based on occupancy data, the Edge Analytics automatically regulates the building environment, controlling the light levels and HVAC settings in multiple independent zones based on the ambient light and temperature readings from each zone. Overall power consumption of the building is also monitored and key data streams are exported to a Big Data application running on AWS Cloud.

For more information about EdgeX Foundry, visit the website here. To learn more about the other edge computing projects under the LF Edge umbrella, visit the website here.

IoT World Today: Now a Part of LF Edge, EdgeX Foundry Gains Momentum

By | Akraino, Akraino Edge Stack, EdgeX Foundry, In the News

When grappling with the enormity of IoT platforms, a sort of herd mentality has emerged, leading scores of vendors to create unique IoT platforms. But the problem is, no single IoT platform can accommodate all potential enterprise and industrial IoT use cases, according to Jason Shepherd, former chair of the EdgeX Foundry governing board. So organizations can become overwhelmed by the complexity of platform integration on the one hand or creating a platform from scratch on the other, Shepherd said. “I liken it to a riptide current. Your natural inclination is to swim into the current, but you risk drowning if you do that,” added Shepherd, who is the IoT and edge chief technology officer at Dell Technologies. “What you’re supposed to do, which is not intuitive, is to swim sideways.”

The EdgeX Foundry was created to sidestep the IoT platform battles. “While most people were trying to create their own platforms, we went open,” Shepherd said. “We swam sideways. And that’s what’s actually going to win.”

The EdgeX Foundry recently announced growing momentum with its latest release, known as “Edinburgh.” The product of a global ecosystem, Edinburgh is the latest example of the EdgeX Foundry’s open source microservices framework. The approach enables users to plug and play components from a growing number of third-party offerings.

In other LF Edge–related news, LF Edge’s Akraino Edge Stack initiative launched its first release in June to establish a framework for the 5G and IoT edge application ecosystem. Known as Akraino R1, it brings together several edge disciplines and offers deployment-ready blueprints.

Kandan Kathirvel, a director at AT&T and Akraino technical steering committee chair, invokes the early days of cloud computing to explain the mission behind the initiative. “In cloud computing, one of the pain points many users had when deploying the cloud was integrating multiple open source projects together,” Kathirvel said. “A user might need to work with hundreds of different open source communities.” And after deploying a cloud project, sometimes gaps were evident. Many organizations found themselves individually in this situation without realizing other users were essentially doing the same. “And this situation increases the cost and deployment time.”

Read more about EdgeX Foundry’s Edinburgh release and Akraino Edge Stack’s R1 release in this IoT World Today article here.

The Manufacturing Connection: Open Source IoT Project Reaching Maturity

By | EdgeX Foundry, In the News

It is great to see things mature–whether kids or adults or technologies. Or an open source project called EdgeX Foundry. Yesterday I had the pleasure of two exciting teleconferences regarding the latest release of EdgeX Foundry, named Edinburgh, from the Linux Foundation’s LF Edge organization. I’ve had many conversations with Jason Shepherd, LF Edge Board Member and Dell Technologies IoT and Edge Computing CTO, over the past three years. When we finally got a chance to catch up yesterday afternoon, he could not have concealed his excitement had he tried.

I have written about EdgeXFoundry here from Hannover 2017again in 2018, and when incorporated in Linux Foundation’s LF Edge umbrella. This IoT platform is more than a platform. During my Hannover visits of 2017 and 2018 it seemed that all God’s children need to develop their own IoT platform. Of course, when a company develops a platform the goal is to connect as many apps as possible to its main application.

Read more of Gary’s article in the Manufacturing Connection.

IoT Evolution World: EdgeX Foundry Platform Reaches Commercial Readiness and Linux Foundation Arms IoT Edge at Scale

By | EdgeX Foundry, In the News

As the IoT and Industrial IoT grows, so grows EdgeX Foundry, an open IoT project of The Linux Foundation, which was established several years ago, and became part of the LF Edge umbrella, including Akraino Edge Stack, Edge Virtualization Engine, Open Glossary of Edge Computing and Home Edge.

The umbrella organization, led by Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge and IoT, the Linux Foundation, is working with its members, and with other open technology non-profit organizations to build and support an industry framework for IoT and edge-related applications.

This includes the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), which announced earlier this year a liaison to work together to advance their shared interests, working “together to align efforts to maximize interoperability, portability, security and privacy for the industrial Internet,” jointly identifying and sharing practices, collaborating on test beds and experimental projects, working towards interoperability by harmonizing architecture and other elements and collaborating on common elements.

Read the complete article at IoT Evolution World.

FierceWireless: EdgeX Foundry’s Edinburgh release provides framework for IoT

By | EdgeX Foundry, In the News

The internet of things gets a lot of flak for its fragmentation, but attempts are being made to rectify the situation. Case in point: The EdgeX Foundry on Thursday announced the availability of its Edinburgh release, created for IoT use cases across vertical markets.

It’s not going to completely eliminate fragmentation—that would be an impractical challenge to mount. But whereas a few years ago everybody was trying to do edge and IoT implementations in a proprietary manner, “I would say open source is ready for prime time from an edge perspective,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge and IoT with the Linux Foundation, in an interview.

EdgeX Foundry is a project under the LF Edge umbrella organization within the Linux Foundation. It’s where the Edinburgh release was created as an enabler for IoT use cases, although the EdgeX movement actually started with a small team at Dell before it contributed the code to the Linux Foundation.

Read the FierceWireless article here.