The Eclipse Foundation today announced the formation of the Edge Native Working Group, which will drive the adoption of open source software for edge computing. Founding members include Adlink, Bosch, Edgeworx, Eurotech, Kynetics, Huawei, Intel, and Siemens. The working group plans to focus on creating an end-to-end software stack that will support deployments of today’s most transformative technologies, including the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles.

Edge computing is a distributed computing paradigm that brings compute power and storage physically closer to applications. The goal of doing so is to improve performance, increase efficiency, and save bandwidth. Over the years, the Eclipse Foundation has built up a sizable IoT community — 41 open source projects from over 40 members, with over 4 million lines of code produced. Now the foundation wants to do the same thing for edge computing.

The Eclipse Foundation already hosts production-ready code for applications at the edge, so it’s not exactly starting from scratch. The Edge Native Working Group encompasses Eclipse ioFog and Eclipse fog05, “as well as other projects that are yet to be announced.” ioFog is a complete edge computing platform for building and running applications at the edge at enterprise scale. Fog05 provides a decentralized infrastructure for provisioning and managing compute, storage, communication, and I/O resources available anywhere across the network. (Other notable competing projects that help enable edge computing include KubeEdge and K3S.)

Eclipse ioFog and Eclipse fog05 are already being used by various companies, so the working group doesn’t have much work to do on that front. This is a big picture play. “The time has come for edge,” Kilton Hopkins, Edgeworx CEO and Eclipse ioFog project lead, told VentureBeat. “The working group is there to actually not just bolster from a usage standpoint, but to actually enhance it the same way that a community grew around Kubernetes with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.”

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“In the end, the edge competing landscape is just like the cloud computing landscape,” Hopkins continued. “It’s going to be probably a dozen-plus flagship projects that together make a complete edge computing environment. We’ve taken our sector of what we had already started solving years ago and doubled down on it, which is basically extending Kubernetes down to the edge for orchestration of any microservices. It’s working great. Someone is going to fill in another piece, and together it’ll all make the edge computing landscape.”

The working group also plans to develop “various layers of software at the network edge that will enable others to build customized applications for their own specific implementations.” This includes applications for retail, carrier environments, 5G, IoT, and smart manufacturing deployments. And so, the working group will work on the challenges it sees as endemic to edge computing across industries: a heterogenous hardware landscape, low bandwidth, latency, limited power, and security. For more information about Eclipse’s Edge Native Working Group, you’ll want to read the charter and participation agreement.



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