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EdgeX Foundry Is a Finalist for The IoT World Awards

By | Blog

EdgeX Foundry, the vendor-neutral, operating system and hardware independent, open source, microservice, software edge computing platform, is a finalist for the “Best Edge Computing Solution & Achievements in IoT Integration” award for the IoT World Awards. The awards celebrate the success and outstanding contributors to the very best in the world of IoT.

Other finalists in this category include Dell Technologies and FogHorn – both are currently LF Edge members and are still very active in EdgeX Foundry – as well as Itron Inc and Lantronix Inc.

Not only will EdgeX Foundry be attending the award celebration but will be on-site on the exhibition floor. To see interactive EdgeX Foundry demos, which include building automation and a wind turbine, visit the LF Edge booth (Booth 610). For more information about the activities planned for IoT World, visit https://www.lfedge.org/event/iot-world-2019/.

EdgeX Foundry focuses on IoT Edge, and helps simplify the process to design, develop and deploy solutions across industrial, enterprise, and consumer applications. Since it’s launch in 2017, EdgeX has met several technical milestones in its roadmap including the Barcelona release, California release, & Delhi release.

In January 2019, EdgeX Foundry joined Akraino, Project EVE, The Open Glossary of Edge Computing and Home Edge to form LF Edge, an umbrella organization dedicated to establishing an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating systems.

The winner of the award will be announced at the IoT Awards Dinner & Gala in Santa Clara, CA on May 15. To learn more about the awards or any of the other categories, click here.

Arm at the Edge: Telco and IoT Akraino Blueprints debut at ONS 2019

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By Tina Tsou, co-chair, Akraino Edge Stack Technical Steering Committee & Enterprise Architect, Arm. A version of this post also appeared on the Arm Community blog

Last week at Open Networking Summit in San Jose, there was a lot of buzz about the Akraino Edge Stack Project. Launched in 2018, Akraino Edge Stack was developed to create an open source software stack that supports high-availability cloud services optimized for edge computing systems and applications.

Significant progress has been made in this community since the launch, and many member companies showcased their Akraino blueprints last week. Arm is very active in the Akraino community and is excited about the Akraino Edge Stack Blueprints.

Here are some additional details about the four blueprints that were shown:

1) SDN Enabled Broadband Access (SEBA) on Ampere-based servers

For users of Virtual broadband access (XGS-PON which is a higher bandwidth, symmetric version of GPON), Ampere demonstrated SDN Enabled Broadband Access (SEBA) validation on Arm. The SEBA blueprint in the Akraino Edge Stack Project, can run applications of Virtual broadband access – vOLT access and aggregation for 5000 edge locations. There are three servers per POD, with x86 and Arm (with 8-16 cores each). The power consumption is restricted to less than 1 kW and includes NEBS compliance and 48V DC. The Ampere eMAG-based server delivers competitive performance per watt with 32 Armv8 CPU cores at 3+ GHz with Turbo. 

The foundation of the SEBA validation on Arm demo is built on Integration Edge Cloud (IEC) blueprint family. The Integrated Edge Cloud (IEC) enables new functionality and business models on the network edge with benefits such as lower latency for end users, less load on the network since more data an be processed locally, and full utilization of the computational power of the edge devices.

VMWare proposed multi-cloud xConnection to interconnect different kinds of clouds of IT and Telco. The IEC had several deployment models that each support different business case such as telco/enterprise edge cloud (ex. MEC or brand office data center) or telco/enterprise remote edge locations (ex. SD-WAN, IoT Gateways). The demonstration included Ubuntu, Kubernetes, and Calico on Arm.

2) ELIOT (Edge Lightweight and IoT) Blueprint on Huawei IoT Gateway 

We were excited to partner with Huawei to demonstrate the ELIOT: Edge Lightweight and IoT Blueprint Family.  The ELIOT blueprint was designed to service the need of many diverse business applications that require a converged IoT gateway, and Enterprise WAN edge use of SD-WAN solutions or universal CPU (uCPE). The IoT gateway can be deployed in smart cities, smart homes, connected farming, agriculture logistics industrial, and Industrial IoT.  SD-WAN, WAN edge, uCPE are designed to be used for hybrid WAN, hybrid cloud deployment, and BYOD.  ELIOT is very scalable, from 1 single unit to 10K, 100K, 1000K, or more. ELIOT also supports diverse types of edge applications in many industries and market segments, including but not limited to: telcos, operators, service/cloud providers, medicine, smart cities, industrial IoT, home, and enterprise. The cloud/network infrastructure for ELIOT includes containers, Kubernetes, and the Kubernetes ecosystem. At the same time, the blueprint is designed to use lightweight operating systems and container runtime environments.

“The IoT gateway and enterprise edge SD-WAN gateway are two great examples of computing or power resource constrained edge nodes. The ELIOT project provides end-to-end light-weight open source blueprints for deploying and managing these use cases, built on any processor architecture, to foster a vibrant ecosystem around edge gateways in both hardware and software.”

–  Bill Ren, Chief Open Source Liaison Officer, Huawei

3) Micro-MEC Blue Print from Nokia

Nokia, Arm, and other ecosystem partners within the Akraino/LF Edge community have formed an edge blueprint for a Smart Cities platform called Micro-Mec (uMEC) targeted for a range of use cases. Nokia is using an Arm-based Marvell CN83xx uMEC design to show a highway traffic monitoring application. The uMEC enables new functionalities and business models on the network edge. The benefits of running applications on the network edge include lower latencies for end users, less load on the network since more data can be processed locally, and better security/privacy since sensitive data need not be transferred to a centralized location.

All these new services support the business case for building new high-speed networks which in turn enable new things. The uMEC has several deployment models that each support different business cases including:

  • Fixed installation as part of 5G NR base station enabling new services that require low latency such as AR/VR.
  • As an extension of the previous, the “Smart City” deployments have additional functions such as weather stations, cameras, displays, or drone charging stations.  The control software for these functions would run on the uMEC.
  • In an Industry 4.0 use case set, the uMEC is deployed as part of a 5G network and would provide a platform for running services for the factory floor.
  • In a train, the uMEC could collect and store surveillance camera data for later uploading. 

“Nokia is very excited to demo the the new edge blueprint for operators and smart cities called Micro Multiaccess Edge (uMEC). It demonstrates how even a very small ARM- based system can implement a Smart City use case, and complements the industry standard Open Edge hardware that is used in the Radio Edge Cloud and the 5G Radio Access Network,” said Tapio Tallgren, Project Technical Leader for uMEC and Akraino Technical Community

4) Tencent Future Network Lab Connected Vehicle Blueprint

The Connected Vehicle Blueprint focuses on the MEC platform, which is the backbone for V2X (Vehicle to Everything) applications. The blueprint can be used in multiple use cases, including but not limited to: 

  • Accurate Locations: The blueprint is designed to deliver more than 10X finer granularity in location. GPS is 5-10 meters level location which can be improved to <1 meter.
  • Smart Navigation: Real-time traffic information update reduces the latency from minutes to seconds to provide the more efficient path for drivers.
  • Safer Driving: Insight into potential risks which can’t be seen by drivers’ eyes.
  • Reduced Violation in Traffic Rules: Let the driver understand the traffic rules in some specific area.  For example, change in lines for an upcoming and narrow street, avoiding opposite way drive in the one way road, and avoiding carpool lanes for a single driver.

The blueprint can be flexibly deployed in multiple environments, including bare metal, virtual machine, and container based on commodity hardware (Arm/x86 server). The major software component of this blueprint is Tars, a Linux Foundation microservice Framework project. Tars can be deployed in Arm and x86 servers.  For more detail information for Tars, refer to the github link.

Learn more about connected vehicle blueprint on Google Drive or read the blog post here

“Tencent continuously promotes network innovation from various application perspectives. We believe that application-based network innovation promotes a stronger ecosystem, which brings tremendous benefits to our customers and stakeholders.” –– Zhang Yun Fei, Director of Future Network Lab, Tencent

“Open source is an important technical strategy for Tencent. As both a platinum member and board member of the Linux Foundation, Tencent continuously makes contributions to the Linux Foundation and its projects. After the Tars project contributed to the LF in 2018, and recent Akraino blueprint, Tencent will continue to contribute several new open source projects focused on cache and configuration. We welcome additional participation from more Linux Foundation member companies!” — Xin Liu, Linux Foundation Board member, and Tencent General Manager

We are excited about these great Blueprint demonstrations and the others shown last week. I want to acknowledge the Akraino Edge Stack Project Technical Steering Committee, PTLs, committers, and contributors, for their support with our activities at the conference.  It is truly a team effort! Special recognition goes to:

  • Aaron Byrd, AT&T
  • Matt Taylor, Ampere
  • Trevor Tao, Arm
  • Gabriel Yu, Huawei
  • Tapio Tallgren, Nokia
  • Robert Qiu, Tencent
  • Xinhui Li, VMware
  • Ken Yi, DiDi
  • Wenhui Zhang, PSU

Connected Vehicle Blueprint Debuts at ONS NA 2019

By | Blog

The  Connected Vehicle Blueprint, established within the Akraino community by contributions from Tencent Future Network Lab, Arm, Intel, and Nokia, was demonstrated onsite at Open Networking Summit this week in San Jose. The blueprint demo clearly depicts features, architecture as well as the potential benefits for customers. The Connected Vehicle Blueprint focuses on the MEC platform, which is the backbone for the V2X (Vehicle to Everything) Application.

The blueprint can be used in multiple use cases, including, but not limited to:

  • Accurate Location: The blueprint brings more than 10X fine gratuity location. GPS is 5-10 meters level location, that can be improved to <1 meter, which is the distance of a typical street lane.
  • Smart Navigator: The real-time traffic information update, reduces the latency from minutes to seconds, figures out the most efficient route for drivers.
  • Safe Drive Improvement: Helps the driver figure out any potential traffic risks that may not be seen by the driver.
  • Reduces traffic violations: Helps the driver understand local traffic rules. For instance, changing the lane prior to a narrow street, avoiding driving on the wrong side of a one-way road, avoiding carpool lanes as a single driver, etc.

“Tencent continuously promotes network innovation from various application perspectives. We believe that application-based network innovation promotes a stronger ecosystem, which brings tremendous benefits to our customers and stakeholders,” said Zhang Yun Fei, Director of Future Network Lab, Tencent.

“Open source is an important technical strategy for Tencent. As both a platinum member and board member of the Linux Foundation, Tencent continuously makes contributions to the Linux Foundation and its projects. After the Tars project contributed to the LF in 2018, and recent Akraino blueprint, Tencent will continue to contribute several new open source projects focused on cache and configuration.  We welcome additional participation from more Linux Foundation member companies!” said Xin Liu, Linux Foundation Board Member and Tencent General Manager

The blueprint can be flexibly deployed in multiple environments, including bare metal, virtual machine and container-based environments on commodity hardware. The major software component of this blueprint is Tars, a Linux Foundation microservice framework project.  For more detail information on Tars, refer to the link:  https://github.com/TarsCloud/Tars

For more information regarding the connected vehicle blueprint, refer to:

EdgeX Foundry is now available as a Snap

By | Blog

Tony Espy, EdgeX Foundry Technical Steering Committee Member & Technical Architect – Devices & IoT at Canonical, gives details on the recent availability of EdgeX Foundry in snap format. The new availability gives millions of Linux users and developers access to the continuously growing Snap Store.

EdgeX Foundry is a vendor-neutral open source project that concentrates on building a common framework for IoT edge computing. With a focus on the IoT Edge, EdgeX simplifies the process to design, develop and deploy solutions across industrial, enterprise, and consumer applications. Since it’s launch in 2017, EdgeX has met several technical milestones in its roadmap including the Barcelona release, California release, & Delhi release.

In January 2019, EdgeX Foundry joined Akraino, Project EVE, The Open Glossary of Edge Computing and Home Edge to form LF Edge, an umbrella organization dedicated to establishing an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating systems.

In adopting the universal Linux app packaging format, EdgeX Foundry will make its IoT Edge platform available to an ever-growing community of Linux developers, including those on Debian, Fedora, Manjaro, OpenSUSE, Zorin and Ubuntu. Automatic updates and rollback capabilities are staples of snap software, meaning EdgeX Foundry users will always have the best and latest version running.

Snaps are containerised software packages, designed to work perfectly and securely within any Linux environment; across desktop, the cloud and IoT devices. Thousands of snaps have been created since the first one in 2016. EdgeX Foundry joins Plex, Spotify, Skype, and Slack, who have all benefited from snaps’ update and security features.

“Canonical’s Snap Store provides an easy and secure way to distribute our software to an increasing number of developers and users,” said Jim White, Vice Chair – Technical Steering Committee at EdgeX Foundry. “What’s more, snaps help cater to EdgeX Foundry developers, who benefit from snap confinement, binary delta downloads, ease of deployment/configuration, and sophisticated service management.”

The EdgeX snap is fully confined, which means snapd ensures that applications and services provided by the EdgeX snap may only use hardware and system resources that have been explicitly granted to the snap. Binary delta downloads is a feature which benefits users of snaps by lowering the bandwidth required for software updates. Ease of deployment/configuration stems from the fact that the snap provides all of the EdgeX reference services as a single package. This makes it trivial to build an appliance-like image using the EdgeX snap with Ubuntu Core.

Finally, it also should be noted that all of the EdgeX reference services in the snap are deployed as system services. This ensures that EdgeX will be automatically started when a device boots, services can be individually managed (i.e. enabled/disabled/started/stopped/restarted), and services will be automatically restarted by the system if they exit due to an error condition.

For more details on how to use the EdgeX Foundry snap click here. EdgeX Foundry is available to download as a snap by clicking here.

This blog originally ran on Canonical’s Ubunto blog. You can view the blog here.

An Enhanced Delhi Code with More Bells and Whistles

By | Blog, EdgeX Foundry

A few weeks back, the EdgeX Foundry community released Delhi.  This release (the third public major release of EdgeX in a little more than a year) included many new features and I outlined them in my last blog post . Today, the project announced the availability of an enhanced Delhi release, with a smaller collection of new and updated capabilities built on top of Delhi.  

The Delhi code release offers so many new features, I’m not going to list them all. Instead, I’d like to focus on what’s new with this enhanced Delhi release.  In particular, the enhanced version of Delhi begins to allow for freedom of choice with regard to databases in EdgeX. With this release, several of the services (core data, metadata and export client specifically) have been engineered to use either MongoDB (the long used default persistence for EdgeX) or Redis. This improvement to the EdgeX platform is significant for several reasons:

  • It highlights the ability for organizations to select and more easily use the data store that best fits their use case and system needs.  Platform support, performance characteristics, licensure issues, in-memory options, etc. are all architectural considerations when looking at persistence in your IoT platform.  
  • It is the first step in providing proper abstraction and loose coupling around the persistence layer.  Eventually, this work which we hope will be completed for the Edinburgh release (April 2019) will allow architects more freedom to customize, extend, and replace this layer based on their persistence needs.
  • EdgeX is all about providing interoperability, flexibility and facilitating choice at the edge – choice in sensor connectivity, analytics, cloud connectivity, deployment, etc. This new feature again showcases EdgeX’s flexibility – flexibility in persistence realm.  Future releases of EdgeX, using patterns established with this database abstractions, are looking at offering even more flexibility and interoperability in areas like messaging, security, communications, system management, etc.

The EdgeX community (which includes members of the Redis Labs team) worked throughout the Delhi release to simultaneously refactored several of the EdgeX microservices to offer Redis as embedded data services.  Specifically, this means we:

  • Incorporated the EdgeX services with the tools needed to connect to databases such as Redis and MongoDB
  • Leveraged Redis’ multi-model capability and data structures to serialize EdgeX data models for persistence, and index them for queries
  • Decoupled the EdgeX models from a single persistence mechanism
  • Solve identity issues, such as identifying sensor readings, in a database-independent way
  • Added Redis to the EdgeX deployment/orchestration facilities
  • Provided Redis initialization and bootstrapping scripts in support of EdgeX

Again, all of this work is important first steps toward more unilateral independence and choice with regard to persistence in EdgeX in future releases.

In addition to the work to provide alternate database connectors in several key EdgeX microservices, the enhanced Delhi code will also include the following:

  • New device service connectors, created from the new SDKs made available for Modbus and MQTT.  These were device services created with the new Go and C Devcie Service SDKs that were made available with the Delhi release.  Device connectors provide the “thing” or sensor/device connectivity in EdgeX.
  • A simple example device service simulator that developers can use to learn the EdgeX device service framework and speed up their development efforts.
  • Additional and improved documentation that includes all the new features from the Delhi release.
  • The EdgeX Foundry snap published in the the Snap Store (https://snapcraft.io/edgexfoundry) for the first time.

It should be mentioned that with the new Device Service SDKs, we are seeing a real escalation in EdgeX “thing” connectivity.  As I write this post, several additional Device Services have been created beyond what is offered in the “dot” release. So stay tuned to the EdgeX community outlets for more in this area coming soon.

Big shout out to the technical community for helping us achieve another technical milestone To learn more about the Redis connection, please click on this blog.

If you have questions or comments, visit the EdgeX Foundry Slack Channel and share your thoughts in the #community channel.

ETRI unveils Time-Sensitive Networking IIoT Gateway based on EdgeX

By | Blog, EdgeX Foundry

Guest post written by Geun-Yong Kim, EdgeX Foundry member and Researcher at ETRI

EdgeX Foundry member, ETRI (Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute) exhibited the EdgeX-based gateway system at the 2018 Photonics Convergence Industry Road Show held in Gwangju, Korea, on November 20- 21, 2018. The Photonics Convergence Industry Road Show is an annual event that companies related to Korean photonics convergence showcase their products and technologies, share best practices and build a stronger network.

< ETRI booth at 2018 Photonics Convergence Industry Road Show >

ETRI’s Time-Sensitive networking IIoT gateway is based on the Go version of the EdgeX framework. It is equipped with hardware that can install a device module with legacy device interface such as RS-232/485, Modbus, etc. It also provides time synchronization accuracy of less than 300ns error for Time-Sensitive Networking, which is a new Ethernet standard that guarantees bounded latency of data transmission.

< ETRI TSN IoT Gateway collecting measured data from BMT Smarteye sensors>

Since BMT gateways collect data sequentially from Smarteye sensors, there was a limit to the data analysis. Therefore, ETRI developed the device that can acquire data from multiple RS485 interfaces at the same time and implemented a new Device Service of EdgeX Foundry to handle it. The ETRI gateway is able to collect 27 kinds of data from BMT Smarteye power measurement sensors. It also collects measured data from three Smarteyes simultaneously per second and the demo included collecting data, exporting data, and rules detecting from data.

Additionally, ETRI developed GUI optimized for EdgeX micro service structure, and users can easily install and delete micro services for gateway by GUI. ETRI has also developed the TSN micro service, rules engine for analyzing power measurement data for TSN networking function, and implemented the GUI to visually express data flow between micro services.

< Micro service management GUI >

< Data collection and graph from BMT Smarteyes >

ETRI will continue researching and developing industrial IoT gateways for the renewable energy industry and power utility sectors based on the EdgeX Foundry framework. For more information, you can email Geun-Yong Kim at gykim@etri.re.kr. 

If you have questions or comments, visit the EdgeX Foundry Slack Channel and share your thoughts in the #community channel.

EdgeX Foundry Releases Delhi and Plans for Edinburgh

By | Blog, EdgeX Foundry

The technical details on the current and next release of EdgeX Foundry

Jim White, Dell Technologies IoT Platform Development Team Lead & EdgeX TSC Vice Chair

This week, EdgeX Foundry announces the release of Delhi, our third major release in 12 months.  With each release that this growing community kicks out – I get a little nostalgic.  EdgeX started its life in my kitchen.  Like a lot of open source software efforts – it started humbly.  In the case of EdgeX, it started on my laptop, propped open on my kitchen island one summer weekend about 4 years ago with an adult beverage or two.

Today, Edgex is being developed around the globe by a lot of tremendous software engineering talent.  I was proud to start EdgeX, but I am even more proud to be part of an exciting group of international engineers building the most flexible, interoperable, open source IoT platform on the planet. This new release, Delhi, contains a new service and several key features that have our community and potential customers excited about the future of EdgeX Foundry.

Delhi Release

System Management

Most importantly, this release contains the first EdgeX system management capability.  A new service – the System Management Agent (SMA) – serves as the coordinator for control plane information (status, configuration and metrics around EdgeX services) and control actions on EdgeX services (start, stop, and restart).  Cloud or third party systems can call on the API provided by the SMA to trigger the actions or to get the control plane data they need. The SMA can serve as a one-stop shop for managing an instance of EdgeX.  Each EdgeX micro service has a corresponding management API that the SMA calls on to help control that service (example – stop the service) or pull back its latest configuration or metrics.  The SMA and management API provided by each service will be expanded in future releases of EdgeX and will one day offer control plane data and actions via alternate protocols (like LWM2M or SNMP).

Device Service SDKs

The original platform that started on my kitchen island was a Java platform.  Last year, the community embarked on an endeavor to replace the bulky and slow Java services and tools with Go and C services and tools.  Device Services – the EdgeX services that connect “things” to the platform are still in Java but not for long.  With the Delhi release, two new Device Service SDKs have been created.  The Go and C SDKs are allowing the community to create smaller, lighter, faster device/sensor connecting services that will allow EdgeX to operate in very limited resource compute environments – the thin edge in IoT solutions.

Improved Service Resiliency and Decoupling

In the past, the EdgeX microservice dependencies required the services be brought up with wait times between the startup of each service to allow the system time to bring things up in order.  The services now are able to automatically check and detect when a dependent is in place and to become fully functional only after a dependent is up.  This greatly reduces the start of all of EdgeX from minutes to seconds – around 5-10 seconds on average.  The services now detect a dependent has gone down and will keep retrying that service until it comes back up.  This gives EdgeX more resiliency than it had in the past.

EdgeX User Interfaces

EdgeX was built to facilitate machine to machine communications.  As such, it did not have a user interface.  With the Delhi release, user interfaces were created – largely to help visually showcase EdgeX functionality and to help developers – these UI also serve to show how EdgeX can be driven and operated.

Improved Core and Supporting Services

Many of the core and supporting services in EdgeX were improved and more unit testing was added to allow the community to keep an eye on the quality of the overall system and compatibility of future features of EdgeX.  The Scheduling Service was also transitioned from Java to Go.

More Secure

Security services were initiated in our last release (California).  The Delhi release includes the next wave of security features such as access control to grant access to appropriate services, and improved security service bootstrapping.

Better Tested

As mentioned, more unit tests were added to the EdgeX services.  Additionally, automated blackbox tests are in place for each service to make sure the public API of each service performs as documented.

Ecosystem Growth

In addition to all this hard work, our EdgeX Foundry ecosystem continued to expand during this release cycle.  Among the new companies to join EdgeX Foundry are Basking Automation, Data Ahead, Intel, Redis Labs, and ZEDEDA.  This community also launched the availability of a developer kit and community demonstrator (for showcasing EdgeX during conferences and IoT events).  Find out more about these here.  Stay tuned to the EdgeX news and announcement pages as some big organizations are preparing to announce their joining early in the New Year.

Edinburgh

OK – no time to rest on our laurels.  What’s next EdgeX?  I am glad you asked!  Indeed, the EdgeX technical steering committee (TSC) along with several community members met in Edinburgh Scotland to plan and scope our next release – code named Edinburgh – which is scheduled for April 2019 (I assure you the release name and TSC meeting place alignment happened a little serendipitously).

As Keith Steele, Chair of the EdgeX Foundry Technical Steering Committee, reported in his blog post, the results of the meeting were “superb” – as the Scots like to say.

The Edinburgh release has been scoped to include a rather significant amount of new features as well as making improvements on the current code base (“cleaning up technical debt” as we like to say).  Given the increase in community membership and number of contributors to the project, we feel this scope is within reach.  Here are some of the major efforts the membership has planned for the next 5-6 months.

Binary Data Support

The Edinburgh release of EdgeX will support the ingestion, use, and export of binary data (using CBOR format).  To date, EdgeX has supported ingesting, using and exporting integer, float, string, and boolean types of discrete data collected from sensors.  Many of the edge use cases involve video images, audio data, and other data that is binary data serialized.

Automated Performance and Security Testing

EdgeX has come a long way over the past few releases in increasing and improving its quality through testing.  In the Edinburgh release, performance and security testing will be automated.

Cornucopia of new Device Services

The new Go and C Device Service SDKs created with the Delhi release allow the community to create smaller, faster, less-resource consuming replacements for the Java Device Services that now serve to connect “things” to EdgeX.  This includes Modbus, BACNet, BLE, MQTT and SNMP Device Services.  As there has been a bit of a pent up demand to get new Device Services for EdgeX due to the development of the SDKs, we believe this release will contain even more thing connectors than we could have imagined a year ago.

The paint on the new SDKs isn’t even dry and we already have the community showing off some early prototypes of new Device Services today and the numbers are impressive.  In one small example, our old Java Modbus Device Service was 141MB in size and consumed 184MB of memory.  The Go version produced with the new SDK is 16MB in size and uses just 8MB of memory.

Application Services

The current EdgeX Export Services, while functional, create scalability issues. The current EdgeX capability relies on the Export Services to know and understand all possible endpoint distribution mechanisms and transformation capability necessary to support all clients – even if the use case requires only a single, simple client (like sending the raw sensor event data to an MQTT pipe in JSON). As the number and type of EdgeX north side clients (cloud, enterprise and on-prem IoT servers) expands, this service will be too big and complex to support the north side needs.

The Edinburgh release will feature a new type of “exporting” service – the Application Service.  The initial and simple Application Services in the Edinburgh release will be designed and implemented to support smaller, more tailored exportation needs. These services will contain just the functionality (filtering, transformation, enrichment, etc.) needed for a single endpoint. To address multiple endpoints, multiple Application Services will be created (versus having one massive export service as EdgeX has today). In a way, the Application Services will begin to look more like the south side Device Services – that is functionality dedicated to a particular client protocol and data need. Long term over the course of a number of releases, Application Services will replace EdgeX Export Services as the north side distribution facility.

Improved User On-boarding & Support Plan

EdgeX Foundry has been a developer driven effort.  As the platform is and will continue to be used in real world IoT solutions, it becomes imperative that the community improve the quality and volume of documentation, tutorials, examples, videos, etc. to help user communities go from day 0 to production as quickly as possible.  It is also imperative that EdgeX institute a long term support plan/strategy to give the user community assurances about what they can expect from the open source effort they put into their products.  The TSC Chair (Keith Steele) and TSC Vice-Chair (me) are dedicating our resolve to address these two concerns as part of the Edinburgh release cycle.

Certification Program

A certification program will be outlined in concert with the Edinburgh release. A certification program will enable third parties creating EdgeX services to verify their services as alternative or enhancing capability to those provided by the EdgeX open source effort.  This will allow 3rd parties to add value (proprietary or open source) to EdgeX that customers can rely on to meet the EdgeX APIs and work without additional code change (enabling a plug-and-play ecosystem).  Various levels of certification are being considered, from micro service replacement certification (validating alternate or commercial implementations of EdgeX micro services satisfy API requirements along with performance metrics and quality checks) to full EdgeX deployments (for commercial versions of EdgeX).  Additional certification processes may be developed around particular cross cutting features such as security.

And More…

  • Use of Vault namespaces for storing secrets for the micro services.
  • Initial EdgeX secrets (needed to start Vault/Kong) will be encrypted on the file system using a secure storage abstraction layer – allowing other implementations to store these in hardware stores (based on hardware root of trust systems)
  • Refactor EdgeX database-using services (Core Data, Metadata, Export Client, Logging, Notifications, and Scheduling) to be more loosely coupled to the persistence mechanism (currently MongoDB). This will better facilitate the use of alternative persistent stores and technology in future implementations and even allow the project to select alternate or additional reference implementation databases in future releases.
  • A smaller, lighter, faster rules engine service to replace the last of the EdgeX Java micro services.
  • System Management will offer service health/status checks and additional metrics
  • Updating the versioning and dependency management system for all Go micro services (replacing a deprecated technology)
  • Upgrading all 3rd party open source tools included with EdgeX (Consul, Kong, Vault, etc.) to use the latest releases

For a full list of the Edinburgh release scope and roadmap, see the project Wiki.

It’s a large scope, but the community and team of developers is growing.  Contact our Developer Advocate, Michael Hall, if you and your team would like to be a part of our effort – it’s an exciting time to be part of an exciting and industry impacting project.  I have every confidence the EdgeX Edinburgh release will make some news in April 2019… as long as I can keep the team away from all the Scottish whisky we brought home from our trip!

2 Great Weeks in the Life of EdgeX Foundry

By | Blog, EdgeX Foundry

By Keith Steele, Chair of the EdgeX Foundry TSC

I wrote this blog on a train from Edinburgh back to my home town in Newcastle UK, ending two weeks of spirited activity for the EdgeX community. On October 15-17, we gathered in Barcelona for IOT World Solutions Congress and then we met in Edinburgh for our bi-annual Technical Steering Committee (TSC) meeting.

Both weeks were by hugely successful for the project with some major milestones achieved, market momentum demonstrated and collaboration that solidified plans for our impressive roadmap, which agreed for the next EdgeX release in April.

Most striking of all, however is the growing ecosystem of contributors driving the project forward, their talent, enthusiasm and unselfish collaboration. It was just a pleasure to witness and a lot of fun – I’ll never quite forget the gradual rise in volume in the room as we progressed through the Scotch Whiskey tasting with the TSC!

Anyway, I digress, let’s start this blog in Barcelona, or for some of us Toulouse! The IOTech team had a slight travel diversion due to storms and ended up in nice Southwestern French city, but didn’t get to explore. Undeterred, the team developed an alternate travel route and finally showed up in Barcelona to see the EdgeX Foundry booth ready and looking sharp with the new community demo as a nice focal point.

The New Community Demo

EdgeX Foundry’s new community demo set out to demonstrate the full capability of EdgeX in the context of a realistic use case, we chose Buildings Automation but it could have been any edge vertical. When we say the full capability of EdgeX we mean:

  • Multi vendor, multi protocol southbound connectivity and data interoperability – the demo has over a dozen different connected devices seamlessly interoperating through EdgeX using standard connectivity software!
  • Hardware independence – the demo has three gateways from three different vendors hosting EdgeX, demonstrating its distributed microservice capability
  • Silicon provider independence – three Gateways, three different chip sets; 32 and 64 bit ARM and 64 bit Intel
  • Application plug and play – standard Microservice API’s enabled easy replacement of the EdgeX rules engine reference implementation with NodeRED to demo Edge analytics capability
  • Local Edge Control – the demo is not just about collecting data, it shows full the full command capability of EdgeX
  • Connect to any Cloud – the demo shows connectivity to AWS but this could just as easily have been Azure, Google, or any cloud
  • Interaction with Cloud Applications – in this case, we showcased higher level Energy Management and Space optimization software interacting with the Edge system but with flow of data filtered and optimized to cut expensive cloud data usage costs!

If you weren’t at the show, you’ll be able to see a video of it soon. In the meantime, James Butcher, Senior Solutions Architect at IOTech, shares the details of how the demo came together in this blog post.

So, how was it all received?

I say without hesitation this was a great show for EdgeX (and I say this as someone who usually regards trade shows as only marginally more useful than a Celine Dion tribute act).

The EdgeX Foundry stand was continuously busy – attendees came to see the community demo and meet with EdgeX members Basking Automation, CloudPlugs, Dell, Enigmedia, IOTech, and Mainflux as well as Redis Labs, RSA, VMware and ZEDEDA with their own presence demonstrating their integration with EdgeX.

At the show, we announced Intel and eight other tech influencers joined the project and there was huge interest for this and the new EdgeX dev kits at the show. Jason Shepherd, Chair of the EdgeX Foundry Governing Board, and I were busy briefing customers, analysts and media, while traffic to the booth was heavy and constant. James, one of the people manning the community demonstrator only managed lunch at 4pm the 1st day of the show!

My own takeaways

Barcelona, for me, proved without a shadow of doubt an open approach at the Edge is now a well-established need and EdgeX is regarded as the leading open implementation.

The vendor neutral approach is the clear driver, the Edge is by its nature a very heterogeneous and users want a solution that is designed to support that heterogeneity rather than a proprietary solution that locks them in to a specific vendor.

The flexibility of choice of cloud and hardware providers were big winners with visitors to the EdgeX booth. Some of the bigger users are hedging their bets with dual approaches, but there was evidence from the many vendors visiting the booth that they recognized they were going to have to support EdgeX.

Another big motivator was an open approach as a basis for bringing together the 6-10 vendors/technology partners typically required to deliver an end to end IOT solution using EdgeX as an integration point allowing vendors to keep their proprietary value add while collaborating across a standard and open infrastructure. Interesting times!

On to Edinburgh for the EdgeX Technical Steering Committee meeting.

Good to see the numbers growing with 40-50 people attending across the 3 days of the meeting, again from all corners of the globe. Nice to also to see many new faces from Intel, Siemens, Thales, Analog Devices, Canonical, Dell, ForgeRock, Intel, IOTech, Mainflux, Redis Labs, Samsung Electronics, Siemens AG, Technische Universität Berlin, University of Edinburgh, VMware, and Wanxiang Group.

The main meeting discussion topics were the roadmap for the next release, called ‘Edinburgh’ (scheduled for release in April 2019) and the status of the Delhi release, which we just announced the code freeze with release in mid-November.

The Delhi release is a very important milestone for EdgeX as the core services have now all been refactored in Go and C providing a big improvement in performance, footprint and scalability.

A dot release to Delhi is going to be released in December to provide Redis as the underlying database option (in place of MongoDB) for several services including Core Data, Core Metadata and Export Client.  This work will be even more of a focus for Edinburgh where the easy replacement and swap of databases that support EdgeX is desired.

In parallel to the formal Delhi release of EdgeX, several community developer kits will also be made available, the first based on the Samsung Pi and Artik developer boards (link). The dev kits will go a long way to onboarding future EdgeX developers and improving developer onboarding will be a key priority for the TSC this year.

Here’s a short list of what was scoped for the Edinburgh release:

  • Support for binary data to be processed by EdgeX for the first time to allow for carrying video images, audio data, and the like.
  • Implementation (initial) of Application Services, an eventual replacement for Export Services, will be more scalable and functionally driven microservices for getting data from EdgeX to other systems and applications.
  • Definition for how EdgeX will operate on top of hardware root of trust systems and take advantage of the secure storage with an abstraction layer
  • Performance targets for EdgeX are already being hit, but performance testing as part of the continuous integration and release process.
  • Building better abstraction and separation of concerns around persistence for the services using a database (MongoDB today) in order to allow easy replacement of the database in the future.
  • Implementing the next wave of system management features to include providing more service metrics and offering EdgeX metrics, configuration and status information via additional control plane protocols (such as LWM2M, SNMP, etc.).
  • Adding a plethora of Device Services (DS) for various protocols given the new DS SDKs in Go and C.

Look for a future post by Jim White, our EdgeX Foundry Vice Chair of the TSC, to provide more details on the upcoming April 2019 release.

A few other points of notes from the meeting

We agreed it was time to have a release manager to oversee the bi-annual EdgeX releases and this task would be undertaken by the major contributors. Ideally, we’d rotate ownership of this task and it would be a good way forward with potentially 4-member companies taking it in turns by rotation. A call will be set up shortly to discuss this process and move forward with it.

The DevOps and QA/Test Working Groups will, for the next few months, run combined calls given the close cooperation needed and the focus in the EdgeX Edinburgh release on incorporating automated performance and scalability tests as part of the overnight runs. Look out for the new time for these meetings shortly.

Now the C and the GO SDK’s are available a big part of the Device and DeviceSDK Working Group’s work will now switch to acceleration and collaboration around accelerating new Device Service connectivity. This is obviously seen as key to widespread deployment of EdgeX going forward.

As mentioned, we had to have a little bit of fun while in Edinburgh. There’s nothing quite like Scotch Whiskey tasting in Edinburgh.

 

 

Remember, if you can’t make the meetings you can join by phone and the recordings of the meeting can be found here.

The next F2F TSC meeting will be hosted in Seoul, South Korea on April 22 -25.2019. You can register here and find more information is available on the EdgeX Wiki.

It was also announced the October 2019 meeting will take place at Intel’s facility in Chandler Arizona. We look forward to collaborating with you there!!

Finally, a couple of thank you notes, the first one to Jeremy Phelps, who is stepping down as chair from the DevOps Working Group, Jeremy’s enthusiasm, skill and effort levels have been just stellar and he will be a hard act to follow!

Lastly, thanks to the team at the Linux Foundation for their massive efforts in bringing both Barcelona and Edinburgh to fruition with professionalism and untold patience having to deal with me. Maybe next time, we all get an Octopus T-shirt!

Best Regards,

Keith Steele, TSC Chair

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

EdgeX Foundry Member Spotlight: ZEDEDA

By | Blog, EdgeX Foundry

The EdgeX Foundry community is comprised of a diverse set of member companies that represent the IoT ecosystem. The Member Spotlight blog series highlights these members and how they are contributing to and leveraging open source solutions. Today, we sat down with Joel Vincent, the Chief Marketing Officer for ZEDEDA, to discuss the power of IoT, edge computing, the reason they recently joined EdgeX Foundry and preview the new demo they are debuting at IoT Solutions World Congress in a few weeks.

What does your company do?

Quite simply, ZEDEDA is building an applications services platform for the cloud-native edge. Our vision is to free cloud apps and allow any app to run anywhere on any device. As edge computing expands beyond the constraints of embedded computing, ZEDEDA effectively completes the cloud.

Why is your company investing in the IoT ecosystem?

IoT and the world of Edge Computing is not just expected to be orders of magnitude larger than the cloud itself, it’s going to be a world of inter-networked, multi-vendor, multi-owner, hardware diversity. We haven’t seen anything like this since the advent of TCP/IP itself. How do you get this diverse universe of computing working together to allow businesses to use the edge to evolve?  It’s going to require multi-vendor cooperation, open source efforts, and universal standards built around an IoT ecosystem.

How has IoT impacted your company? What benefits have you seen or what do you expect to achieve?

The forces that made the Internet of Things possible gave rise to the fundamental technologies that made ZEDEDA possible. Compute power continues to shrink in size and cost and increase in capabilities. It was only a matter of time before compute power that was once considered server-class was small enough, powerful enough, and cheap enough to be embedded in everyday devices that even a consumer can afford. That meant a new compute orchestration layer was required. That’s where we came in. In fact, we couldn’t have created ZEDEDA 3 or 4 years ago. Computing technology and IoT have advanced that quickly.

Why did your company join EdgeX Foundry?

EdgeX Foundry represents an opportunity to collaborate with other thought leading companies in edge computing and really make an open edge framework a reality. With a vision of apps running anywhere, on any device, over any network the goals of EdgeX Foundry aligned perfectly with our vision and mission for the future of computing.

How are you going to use the framework?

For us and the orchestration of the edge virtualization requires apps to view, understand, and address hardware in a standard fashion. Initially on of the most difficult things to orchestrate is how an app accesses the hardware resources its running on and with the diversity of hardware a framework defining how resources are handled and abstracting the “sausage making” away from the app development so that any app can address any hardware resource is a major key.

So our first effort, which we are demonstrating at IoT Solutions World Congress 2018 is how to get the EdgeX microservices deployed on thousands of devices that are geographically distributed in a simple, repeatable, and secure fashion. Once enabled, an app build to the EdgeX framework will be able to “work” on the hardware we’ve enabled.

Where do you see enterprise and industrial IoT in 20 years?

You won’t see it. It will just be. Everything will be connected, the cloud will be ubiquitous (seamless between the cloud we know today and the edge that is being built in a standard fashion tomorrow), and from this how we experience the world will be completely different. You will EXPERIENCE IoT in everything you do, but you won’t see a damn thing!

Seeding an Open Marketplace for IoT Edge Computing

By | Blog, EdgeX Foundry

Guest post by Jason Shepherd, EdgeX Foundry Chair of the Governing Board and Dell IoT and Edge Computing CTO

Hello Members and Friends of the EdgeX Community,

I hope you’ve had a great summer with friends and family. As we head into some big project announcements at IoT Solutions World Congress (SWC) in Barcelona from October 16-18, I wanted to take the opportunity to make sure you’re aware about a few member opportunities.

First, a quick update on the project momentum. We’re seeing a big ramp in the number of unique code contributors on the heels of the switch to Go Lang for the baseline reference implementation in our recent ‘California’ release. We’re now approaching 70 as of this month. Net-net, more and more people by the day are seeing the benefits of our approach to facilitating greater interoperability at the IoT edge!

As a result, some very large names will be announced as new project members at IoT SWC on October 16. We see many more on the horizon as the word continues to spread and the community meets commitments on delivering a high quality foundation to facilitate interoperability across the complex IoT landscape.

The community has chosen to organize around an October/April semi-annual release cadence, so the Delhi runway is a little shorter. Still, we’re going to see some major enhancements including the first management features, more security enhancements, C and Go Lang-based Device Service SDKs and a reference GUI for demos and simple deployments.

The latest project overview deck including more on progress to date and where we’re headed can be found here.

Other big news at IoT SWC will be the impending release of Delhi code, the launch of our community demonstrator to showcase the value of the project and enable future plug-fests and hackathons, EdgeX developer kits and more Vertical Solution Working Groups (VSWGs). I’ll focus on the latter two for the rest of this project update.

EdgeX-enabled Dev kits

The IoT journey often starts with an aspirational view seeded through a simple PoC to work through architectural and business model considerations before scaling up into deployment. Low-cost developer (dev) kits comprised of a board, collection of pre-integrated sensors and integration with an IoT platform stack are great tools to enable software developers to quickly prototype their ideas with a “fail fast” mentality.

However, the plethora of dev kits out there typically lock the developer into a particular backend platform or cloud. In comparison, kits based on the EdgeX Foundry framework will provide developers with complete freedom of choice, backed by the vendor-neutral EdgeX APIs that bind together choice of devices and applications regardless of protocol, OS, or underlying hardware used.

These dev kits and associated plug-in value-add will give developers confidence that they can prototype with their choice of ingredients while taking advantage of plug-in components from the growing EdgeX ecosystem. And perhaps more importantly, they’ll be able to readily swap out elements later as they optimize their solution and ramp into production and day to day operation.

In all cases these EdgeX dev kits will enable developers to innovate rather than reinvent. The following is a high-level summary of benefits specific to two key personas:

Benefits for end-user developers:

  • Get started developing your IoT solution at a low cost of entry while maximizing options from edge to cloud and minimizing potential for vendor lock-in
  • Facilitate integration and build/buy/partner decisions by tapping into the open ecosystem
  • Have confidence that the foundation of your PoC efforts has staying power due to backing from a growing, vendor-neutral community

Benefits to developers with IoT ecosystem providers (e.g. Device Makers, OEMs, ISVs, SIs):

  • Realize drag from end-user developers earlier in their PoC efforts without having to support myriad custom integrations with your commercial offerings
  • Grow your business faster via the network effect stemming from an open ecosystem with transparent and trusted security and manageability
  • Influence the development of an open commercial marketplace for EdgeX-certified components

More detail can be found in the overview deck. As highlighted, there will be community and commercial tracks for the dev kits. For options in the community track the bill of materials will be purchased independently online, code downloaded straight from a special repository on the project GitHub and questions answered through forums like the EdgeX Rocket Chat. We’re going to start small here and let the open source contributions grow organically.

The commercial track will provide EdgeX members with the ability to seed the emergence of an open marketplace for IoT edge computing. In turn, this will afford end users with attractive options to get started with professional support so they can focus on their preferred value-add instead of working with open source code.

The dev kit program will also help shape the definition of the formal certification program within the EdgeX project targeted for launch with the ‘Edinburgh’ code release in April 2019.  This program will enable anyone to certify that their proprietary offer is “EdgeX-compliant” based on following the specified set of interoperability APIs in Core Services regardless of additional IP added.

 

This is why the project is called “EdgeX Foundry” instead of the obvious “Edge Foundry” – the “X” allows the name to be trademarked. Imagine that “X” on your website which gives your customers comfort that you’re part of a broader, interoperable and trusted ecosystem. Stay tuned for more on this front and we welcome you to get involved in the certification planning working group!

Getting back to the dev kits, there will be several options available to you as a Technology or Services provider in the commercial track:

  1. “Core”: Offered by a provider who’s supporting the baseline EdgeX framework in a ‘Red Hat’ model while ultimately being completely neutral to all value-add such as hardware, OS, connected devices, analytics, security enhancements, platform, cloud, etc.
  2. “Platform”: A kit linked to a specific IoT software platform or cloud, enabling the customer to dive right in with your offer while still being able to take advantage of the ecosystem of plug-in EdgeX value-add
  3. “Plug-in”: Discrete plug-in value-add for devices/sensors, analytics, database, security, management, etc.

The benefit here is the network effect, for example if you offer an IoT platform you don’t need to support the baseline open source EdgeX framework if you don’t want to. Instead, you could partner with a “Core” commercial dev kit provider and simply support an Application microservice for your platform that complies with the APIs in Core Services while leveraging the communication protocol of your choice (standard or proprietary).  In another example, you might be a sensor maker who only supports Device Services in your chosen protocol and programming language (plugging into others’ “Core” and “Platform” dev kits), and so forth.

In order to participate in the dev kit program simply get going with the EdgeX code to develop your offer, establish your preferred commercial terms and contact pr@edgexfoundry.org to let the Linux Foundation team know your plans no later than October 5 if you want to be included in the IoT SWC press release.  More information will be available publicly closer to the announcement.

Note that we’re limiting the benefit of advertisement of commercial dev kit offers through official EdgeX channels to EdgeX project members at this time in order to limit scope while we perfect the process. This ultimately leads to an open commercial marketplace, so get in early and ride the wave!

Vertical Solution Working Groups

The Vertical Solution Working Groups (VSWGs, led by Samsung) are an important function within the EdgeX Foundry project.  We’ve had groups for Smart Factory (Samsung) and Oil and Gas (NOV) for some time to work through the process and are now ready to start ramping more groups to accelerate the strong foundation we’ve built to date. The VSWGs serve several important purposes:

  • Developing unique requirements and code contributions for their respective markets
  • Feeding requirements back into the EdgeX core working groups to optimize the baseline framework to be suitable for as many use cases as feasible spanning Industrial to Enterprise to Consumer, including B2B2C crossover in the domains of retail, healthcare, insurance, utilities, etc.  After all, the true promise of IoT is bringing together a system of systems, and what better way to span private and public domains than an open interoperability framework!

We welcome any member to volunteer to lead a new VSWG or join one already in flight. It’s a great way to demonstrate thought leadership while making sure the EdgeX foundation has the right features and specific extensions for the verticals and use cases that matter the most to you.

We’ve talked with members that are considering working groups around Buildings, Retail, Transportation, Healthcare, Smart Cities and Smart Homes so if any of these areas or others interest you, join on in, or create one for another domain! It’s a low time commitment to help speed up time to revenue in your respective space, not to mention learn from and influence others focused on the same space through open, vendor-neutral collaboration.

To learn more or start a new VSWG please email EdgeX-TSC-Vertical-Solutions@lists.edgexfoundry.org.

Exciting times ahead!

In closing, we have a lot of great things going on as a community just 16 short months since we launched the project, and we’re just scratching the surface of the opportunity ahead. Our future is bright, let’s really put on the gas as we head into the tail end of 2018!

Regards,

Jason Shepherd

Chair of the Board, EdgeX Foundry