A vendor-neutral initiative dubbed the State of the Edge was acquired this week by LF Edge, an arm of The Linux Foundation focused on defining an open source stack of software for edge computing applications.
The State of the Edge project will be merged with the existing Open Glossary of Edge Computing initiative that LF Edge already had in place. That combined initiative will now be known as the State of the Edge project within the larger umbrella of LF Edge projects.
State of the Edge was launched by Vapor IO, Arm, Rafay Systems, Packet by Equinix and Edge Gravity by Ericsson to provide free research reports. Arpit Joshipura, general manager for networking, edge and Internet of Things (IoT) for The Linux Foundation, said that mission will continue as part of a larger effort to advance open software-defined networking software.
The goal is to define stacks of software and implementation blueprints that will make it simpler for both telecommunications carriers and enterprise IT organizations to implement open source networking software both at the edge and in the cloud, said Joshipura.
That’s critical because as IoT continues to evolve it’s apparent that IT and operations technology (OT) teams will converge, he added, noting the challenge is enabling organizations to achieve that goal around using a suite of programmable open source platforms that are truly interoperable with one another.
Existing LF Edge projects include Akraino Edge Stack, an edge computing platform; Baetyl, a cloud-based management platform; EdgeX Foundry; a framework for sharing data between devices; Fledge, a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) for common administrative tasks; Home Edge, a platform for deploying consumer applications; and Project EVE, a virtualization engine.
Interest in building and deploying applications at the network edge is on the rise in anticipation of 5G wireless networking services becoming widely available. Most of the organizations building those applications will be relying on best DevOps practices to achieve that goal. Less clear for now is the degree to which traditional network operations will be rolled up into those DevOps practices. The more programmable the networking environment becomes the more control each developer theoretically can have over the network services being accessed by their applications. However, network bandwidth is often a finite resource; there most likely will need to be some governing mechanism that determines how much network bandwidth any one application would be allowed to access at any given time.
Of course, the open source community is not the only entity eyeing the rise of edge computing. Providers of commercial networking platforms ranging from Cisco Systems to VMware are all focused on enabling edge computing applications. Historically, open source platforms such as OpenStack have been embraced by carriers. However, within enterprise IT environments open source networking platforms have not gained much traction. The open source community will need to galvanize around a set of platforms and blueprints for edge computing platforms quickly. Otherwise, many organizations will most likely turn once again to commercial networking platforms to provide services to edge computing applications.