Eclipse Foundation shines a light on edge computing

Edge Computing

After being in the works for a while, the Eclipse Foundation launched another special interest working group – this time, it’s for edge computing.

The Edge Native Working Group aims to be a “vendor-neutral and code-first industry collaboration that will drive the evolution and broad adoption of open source software for edge computing”. Founding members include Bosch, Huawei, Intel, and Siemens and lesser known Edgeworx and Adlink. 

The latter however are the driving forces behind the main projects the group is going to focus on pushing: ioFog and fog05. While Eclipse ioFog is an edge computing platform that helps with the creation of edge compute networks, fog05 apparently is more of a management component for fog environments. Other projects will follow, with zenoh, a data-focused project underpinning fog05, one of the current candidates. 

Working with software like this is one of the features the group thinks will make them stand out from other amalgamations. Or as it is put in the group’s FAQs “This is an extremely important point because the Edge Native Working Group is building on projects with a proven track record in the industry. This is not a theoretical place where people postulate on the future. Rather, it’s the home of production ready code that is forming the foundation for edge computing standards for infrastructure.”

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However, they wouldn’t go as far as calling themselves competitors to Linux Foundation groups like LF Edge or other. It rather sees itself as another piece of the puzzle, writing “one open source working group or technology won’t be able to address all of the edge market, in fact many will be used together to build out a solution that is specific to each organization’s needs just as the case in cloud computing.” And in fact, some cross pollination is already at play, with ioFog using Kubernetes – which is a CNCF and therefore LF project.

Though the working group was just announced, it must have been in the works for at least a year, as the project’s charter suggests. The need to get going was apparently spurred by a growing interest in areas such as IoT, industry 4.0, and autonomous vehicles, in which the Eclipse Foundation finds lots of its following. ioFog lead Kilton Hopkins said in a canned statement, that with the group “We’re acknowledging that edge computing has its own requirements, challenges, and industry-wide concerns that are different from those found in all other sectors.” 

These include the need to know where resources are located, since one of the goals of the edge architecture is to bring those closer to the device they’re needed at to keep latency low and save bandwidth. To address the challenges, the WG also plans to “focus on the development of various layers of software at the network edge that will enable others to build customized applications for their own specific implementations”.

In the process, it promises to be “focused on developers first” so that they don’t have to learn new things all of the time but use their skills and familiar tools instead. Which might mean its solutions will be more geared towards the Java crowd, since that’s where other Foundation projects can often be found, thanks to Eclipse’s IDE history.

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