Edge Computing Frameworks Abound—with None Yet Dominant
“Our goal was to unify open source edge frameworks across these markets—IoT, telco, cloud and enterprise edge—both at the infrastructure and at the application level,” said Arpit Joshipura, LF Edge general manager, and added that “you don’t want fragmentation in a market this large.” Three of the key LF Edge projects are the following:
- EdgeX Foundry.Seeded initially by source code from Dell, this provides a collection of loosely coupled microservices that communicate through a common application programming interface (API) allowing them to be augmented or replaced by custom implementations. Following three previous releases in its almost three-year history, “commercial readiness” EdgeX V1.0 (Edinburgh) software was made available in mid-2019 as a stable API baseline for development of edge applications. LF Edge says several vendors have already provided solutions based on or designed around EdgeX code.
- Project EVE. The open source Edge Virtualization Engine provides a cloud-native edge computing platform. Announced in early 2019 with seed code contributed by ZEDEDA , it leverages a hypervisor for deployment on bare-metal servers and provides system and orchestration services, and a container runtime. It’s designed to host any operating system that is deployable in a virtual machine; host apps in virtual machines and containers; provide scalable centralized management of many devices over large distances; and provide built-in mesh networking capabilities and built-in cloud networking using standard VPN technologies available in public clouds.
- Akraino Edge Stack. Launched in February 2018 with initial code contributed by AT&T, this cloud software stack is optimized for edge computing systems and applications with application and network provisioning and orchestration. Release 1 was introduced mid-2019 and includes 10 “ready and proven blueprints,” including Radio Edge Cloud, multiple network and telco cloud models, as well as a Kubernetes-native infrastructure.
One of the Akraino blueprints represents a move to converge LF Edge efforts with OpenStack Foundation Edge Computing Group’s StarlingX, an edge computing and IoT distributed cloud platform optimized for low latency and high performance applications. Initially a proprietary product from Wind River and with code contributed by Intel, it was brought under the auspices of the OpenStack Foundation in early 2018 and is now available in a 3.0 Release.
StarlingX provides an OpenStack base layer with compute, storage and networking capabilities, along with configuration and other management functions. “StarlingX started out by taking the components of OpenStack and scaling them down instead of scaling them up,” said Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation. Another edge-related project supported by OpenStack is Airship, which was initiated by AT&T and Dell to integrate OpenStack with the Kubernetes container orchestrator for edge data centers and telco edge central offices.
The Eclipse Foundation is another open edge organization, which recently formed the Edge Native Working Group to focus on near-term creation of an end-to-end software stack. It encompasses two existing projects with production-quality code available: Eclipse ioFog, based on efforts contributed by Edgeworx for running microservices across a distributed edge network; and Eclipse fog05, based on code developed by ADLINK to provide a decentralized infrastructure for fog and MEC implementations.