Hillery Hunter, vice president and CTO for IBM Cloud, said IBM Edge Application Manager is based on the Open Horizon open source software originally developed by IBM that is now under the auspices of LF Edge, an arm of The Linux Foundation focused on networking and edge computing platforms. Open Horizon makes uses of machine learning algorithms to automate the management of fleets of edge computing platforms.
IBM also launched IBM Telco Network Cloud Manager to orchestrate both virtual and container network functions. IBM Telco Network Cloud Manager is built on top of an instance of Red Hat OpenShift, which is based on Kubernetes, and Red Hat OpenStack Platform.
Finally, IBM is making available a range of edge-enabled applications, including IBM Visual Insights, IBM Production Optimization, IBM Connected Manufacturing, IBM Asset Optimization, IBM Maximo Worker Insights and IBM Visual Inspector.
Like most IT vendors IBM sees the rise of application workloads on the edge as an opportunity to drive adoption of hybrid cloud computing. In the case of IBM, all of these offerings run on the Red Hat OpenShift platform.
IBM also announced the IBM Edge Ecosystem, which brings together independent software vendors (ISVs) and IBM partners to craft edge computing solutions. Additionally, IBM launched the IBM Telco Network Cloud Ecosystem, which is more narrowly focused on edge computing platforms deployed for telco-focused environments such as a wireless 5G network.
IT vendors participating in those initiatives with IBM include Cisco Systems, Dell Technologies, Juniper, Intel, NVIDIA, Samsung, Packet & Equinix, Hazelcast, Sysdig, Turbonomics, Portworx, Humio, Indra Minsait, EuroTech, Arrow, ADLINK, Acromove, Geniatech, SmartCone, CloudHedge, Altiostar, Metaswitch, F5 Networks and ADVA.
Edge computing will undoubtedly force organizations to embrace DevOps more aggressively. Managing thousands of edge computing platforms will require not just higher levels of IT automation infused with machine learning algorithms, but IT teams will also need to be able to deploy, secure, update and manage applications distributed across thousands of endpoints.
IBM, of course, is not the only IT vendor eyeing the edge computing opportunity. The challenge IT organizations will face first is building new classes of latency-sensitive applications running in near real-time that will be built mainly using microservices. Once those applications are built, organizations will then need to update them continuously within the context of a highly scalable IT management framework.
Naturally, some organizations will prefer to rely on external IT service providers to rise to that challenge while others will continue to build and manage their own applications and infrastructure. Regardless of the approach, the level of scale and complexity at which IT is being applied is about to reach a level that once would have been unimaginable. Not only will more applications run in near real-time, those applications will be integrated and share data with batch-oriented applications running in the cloud and local data centers. The challenge is finding a way to automate the management of IT at scale without requiring organizations to rely on manual processes, for which there are simply not enough IT professionals available to manage.