Open source computing organisation The Linux Foundation has announced the launch of LF Edge, an umbrella organisation to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing systems.

As the Internet of Things (IoT) spreads, the edge environment will become increasingly important. In smart-city, manufacturing, retail, logistics, healthcare, or connected-car applications, for example, sensors need access to external computing power. But any latency between sensor and data centre or cloud platform (aka the core) could cause critical delays. The edge is distributed processing at Internet nodes closer to the point of need – in other words, where the data itself is being generated.

However, device and platform interoperability then becomes a factor, so the Linux Foundation has created LF Edge as a development framework that works regardless of hardware, processor, cloud, or operating system.

The fragmented edge market also needs harmonisation to protect against security vulnerabilities and advance a common vision for the IoT’s future, said the Foundation. More, developers need vendor-neutral platforms and a shared vocabulary for deploying and securing their devices.

What’s in the frame

Initially, LF Edge comprises five projects that support emerging edge applications in areas where low latency, fast processing, and/or mobility are important – such as live video, for example.

It includes: Akraino Edge Stack (supporting high-availability cloud services); EdgeX Foundry (a common framework for IoT edge devices); and the Open Glossary of Edge Computing (a collection of edge definitions). These were formerly standalone projects at The Linux Foundation.

LF Edge also includes: the Home Edge Project, a hub for real-time data collected from smart home devices, which has been built on seed code from Samsung Electronics; and Project EVE (Edge Virtualisation Engine), an agnostic standard edge architecture from ZEDEDA.

“The market opportunity for LF Edge spans industrial, enterprise, and consumer use cases in complex environments that cut across multiple edges and domains,” said Arpit Joshipura, General Manager of The Linux Foundation.

“We’re thrilled with the level of support backing us at launch, with more than 60 global organisations as founding members, and new project contributions. This massive endorsement, combined with existing code and project contributions like Akraino from AT&T, and EdgeX Foundry from Dell EMC, means LF Edge is well-positioned to transform edge and IoT application development.”

Linux Foundation members have certainly welcomed the project. “Edge computing is becoming increasingly important as part of the cloud and AI services for global users,” said Watson Yin, Vice President of Chinese internet behemoth Baidu, and General Manager of the company’s Cloud division.

“As a founding member of The Linux Foundation’s new edge computing subsidiary, Baidu Cloud looks forward to, through interaction and collaboration with The Linux Foundation, building a vibrant technological ecosystem for developers worldwide.”

“As a leading supporter and code contributor to many open source projects – and founding member of LF Edge – Ericsson is pleased to be part of the LF Edge umbrella of projects,” added Martin Backstrom, Ericsson’s Head of Technology & Portfolio Solutions, Cloud & NFV Infrastructure.

“We see edge computing playing a critical role in the evolution of 5G use cases across all industries.”

“A wide collaboration among industry-leading vendors and partners benefits everyone in solving common business problems,” said Aaron Weiss, Vice President and General Manager of Retail Solutions at HP Inc. “It’s critical to moving our industry forward in a harmonised way to deploy new and innovative technologies faster.”

“LF Edge demonstrates the collaborative power of open source, bringing communities together to address the challenges and opportunities created as rich computation and services move closer to the edge,” said Imad Sousou, Corporate Vice President of Intel Architecture Graphics and Software.

“As a contributor to LF Edge projects and their related upstream projects, Intel is committed to accelerating the development of ‘productisable’ edge software for a broad range of uses, through open development and community collaboration.”

“The launch of LF Edge offers a great opportunity to create a collaborative community for driving the innovation and maturity of a common edge computing stack,” said Bill Ren, Chief Open Source Liaison Officer and General Manager of Open Source ICT Infrastructure at Huawei.

“Huawei is pleased to be a founding member of LF Edge and to work with the community towards a vibrant edge computing open source ecosystem.”

In the West, Chinese electronics and telecoms giant Huawei has become an increasingly controversial player as the trade war between China and the US intensifies. For example, Vodafone has recently paused the deployment of Huawei gear in its core networks, citing security concerns. Meanwhile, longstanding Huawei partner BT announced a new strategic 5G partnership with the company last summer. But in December, BT began stripping Huawei 4G and 5G equipment out of its network.

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