Edge Computing Frameworks Abound—with None Yet Dominant
Another, longer-running, project under Eclipse is Kura, now available in a 4.1.0 version that provides an extensible open source IoT framework that provides API access to hardware interfaces of IoT gateways.
There’s plenty of overlap within all these efforts. Kilton Hopkins, Edgeworx CEO and Eclipse ioFog project lead, says the group plans to roll out reference architectures and working examples that will illustrate how implementers can fit various open edge components to build a full solution that is ready for use. “That might include ioFog, EdgeX and maybe some of the things that are in the Akraino stack,” Hopkins explained. “The edge industry is now mature enough that we’re able to do that.”
Or, perhaps some of these efforts will fall by the wayside or be subsumed by other efforts. Meanwhile, there are numerous similar or overlapping projects such as CORD (Central Office re-architected as a Datacenter) and Virtual Central Office (vCO), and KubeEdge for extending containerized application orchestration to hosts at the edge, among others.
“With edge, you’re going to need to have different approaches, but right now there’s just too many,” said Monica Paolini, founder and president of analyst and consulting firm Senza Fili.
Then there are the two elephants in the room: Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. AWS IoT Greengrass extends AWS to edge devices and Microsoft is pushing Azure IoT Edge as a managed service to deploy cloud workloads on edge devices. Each has a big stake in ensuring that edge environments don’t syphon off too much of the data compute and storage services that are driving their cloud-based revenue streams.
While edge frameworks remain a fragmented field, history suggests that the market will coalesce around a few. It may take some time for standardization to happen, but this foundation will enable edge architecture to do what it’s there to do: make compute experiences faster, more integrated and more data-intensive no matter the location.