Edge Orchestration Leader ZEDEDA Secures $72M in Growth Capital

One of those specialty niche areas of modern compute architecture is technology to handle special needs of edge computing. ZEDEDA developed edge orchestration technology. I see that it is using some Gartner data to tie its fortunes to AI in the form of ML (machine learning). It is growing at enough pace to require additional capital funding. Emerson and Rockwell Automation are two companies in my market space that are invested in this area.

  • Smith Point Capital led the highly oversubscribed Series C round with strong participation from other new and existing investors
  • Funding accelerates ZEDEDA’s global expansion as demand for its product soars as enterprises accelerate adoption of orchestration and AI at the edge
  • Over the past year, ZEDEDA increased annual recurring revenue by more than 250% and increased nodes under management by more than 300%, including significant key enterprise success with more than 10 Fortune Global 500 accounts

ZEDEDA announced closing of $72 million in growth capital, with the Series C round led by Smith Point Capital, founded by former Salesforce Co-CEO Keith Block.

According to Gartner, “By 2027, 20% of large enterprises will have deployed an edge management and orchestration (EMO) solution, compared with fewer than 1% in 2023.” Simultaneously, the demand for AI and machine learning is also exploding. Gartner also predicts that “by 2026, at least 50% of edge computing deployments will involve machine learning (ML), compared with 5% in 2022,” further accelerating the large-scale deployment of edge workloads and increasing adoption of edge management and orchestration.

“This latest round of investment validates our leadership position as the preferred choice of large enterprises for their edge management and orchestration needs,” said Said Ouissal, ZEDEDA’s CEO and founder. “Our unique and innovative product is powering the explosive demand of ubiquitous edge computing, underpinning our customer’s AI and real-time data analytics initiatives. With this funding, we are well-positioned to further extend the cloud operational infrastructure model everywhere, to continue to delight our customers and to realize our vision of powering the next era of computing.”

“We believe edge computing represents one of the next great waves of digital transformation given its unique ability to address the many challenges presented by an increasingly connected world, creating new category-leading companies like ZEDEDA,” said Keith Block, CEO and founder of Smith Point Capital. “Said and his team have a big vision and have already solved critical pain points around deploying workloads at scale for several enterprise verticals. As they’ve built the industry-leading solution to power the edge, we are thrilled to lead the Series C round and help accelerate their position as the market leader for edge management and orchestration.”

With this latest round of funding, ZEDEDA continues to draw significant investment interest and, despite a current tight funding market, has now raised over $127 million in total since its founding. Hillman Company, LDV Partners, Endeavor Catalyst Fund and Forward Investments (DEWA) joined Smith Point Capital as new investors in the company. In addition, ZEDEDA saw strong support from returning investors in this round, including Lux Capital, Almaz Capital, Coast Range Capital, Juniper Networks, Emerson Ventures, Chevron Technology Ventures, 5G Open Innovation Lab, Rockwell Automation and Porsche Ventures.

“Emerson customers rely on us to optimize their operations, and our DeltaV Distributed Control System is the foundation for this, providing intelligent control of all plant activities,” said Claudio Fayad, vice president of technology, process systems and solutions at Emerson. “We have standardized on ZEDEDA as a critical part of our solution, enabling us to extend DeltaV to the distributed edge and provide AI-based data analysis for real-time support for automated decision-making.”

“Our customers’ demand for real-time control, visualization, and closed-loop process and asset optimization applications at the edge remains robust,” said Arvind Rao, vice president of Industry Solutions at Rockwell Automation. “With our strategic partnership with ZEDEDA, we are able to offer industry-leading, centralized edge management solutions that deliver value across the lifecycle of our customer’s applications, significantly reducing their total cost of ownership.”

The growth capital investment emphasizes ZEDEDA’s remarkable business performance and growth over the past year. Annual recurring revenue increased more than 250% year-over-year, and the key metric of nodes under management increased by more than 300%, with 12 Global and Fortune 500 customers, capping another year of extreme growth and success. One notable example includes one of the largest global automobile manufacturers, which has standardized on ZEDEDA to modernize 70,000 dealerships, manufacturing facilities and service centers across 153 countries.

Kubernetes-as-a-Service for the Distributed Edge

Containers, specifically Kubernetes, constitute a powerful tool in the modern edge-to-cloud architecture, ZEDEDA has developed a service model for the technology.

In brief:

  • ZEDEDA Edge Kubernetes Service is a fully managed service including a Kubernetes runtime curated, managed and supported by ZEDEDA.
  • Organizations can instantly deploy Kubernetes infrastructure at the distributed edge, securely and cost-efficiently.
  • ZEDEDA’s partnerships and integrations with industry-leading orchestrators, such as Avassa, Rafay, Red Hat OpenShift, SUSE Rancher and VMware Tanzu, provide a robust solution for the modern edge landscape.

ZEDEDA has announced ZEDEDA Edge Kubernetes Service, a fully managed Kubernetes service for the distributed edge. The new service includes a Kubernetes runtime that is curated, managed and supported by ZEDEDA, as well as integrations with industry-leading orchestrators.

Deploying Kubernetes at the edge is challenging because it was built for centralized data centers and scale-out clouds and, therefore, not for inherently constrained and distributed edge environments. ZEDEDA Edge Kubernetes Service is a fully managed service that simplifies Kubernetes deployments at the edge, allowing customers to focus on their applications instead of managing and maintaining the underlying infrastructure. The new service eliminates the struggles typically associated with Kubernetes deployments at the edge, such as highly remote or distributed locations, constrained devices, unreliable security, lack of skilled IT personnel in the field and undependable network connectivity. ZEDEDA Edge Kubernetes Service enables organizations to deploy and run Kubernetes infrastructure at the distributed edge remotely, securely and cost-efficiently.

“Our customers are industry leaders who are pushing the boundaries of innovation at the distributed edge, and working with them, we realized the need for an edge service that would remove the obstacles of deploying Kubernetes in these environments,” said Said Ouissal, ZEDEDA’s CEO and founder. “ZEDEDA Edge Kubernetes Service is a first-of-its-kind fully managed edge solution that enables our customers to use any Kubernetes tools that fit their needs and provides a clear path to modernize edge infrastructure while leveraging existing IT investments.”

ZEDEDA Edge Kubernetes Service Provides Full Lifecycle-Managed Kubernetes.

Programming Model Enables Application Development for both Cloud and Edge

Edge compute continues to be the most talked about part of the network these days. This news concerns an application development platform for Edge and Cloud. I wish I could try out all this software like I used to many years ago. It’s all too complex and expensive today. Like everything, I don’t know if it works, but it sounds good.

Lightbend Inc., the company providing cloud native microservices frameworks for some of the world’s largest brands, has announced the release of its latest version of Akka, one of the industry’s most powerful platforms for distributed computing, which incorporates a new and unique programming model that enables developers to build an application once and have it work across both Cloud and Edge environments.

“Today, applications developed for cloud native environments are generally not well-suited to the Edge and vice versa,” said Jonas Bonér, Lightbend’s founder and CEO. “This has always struck me as counter-productive, as both architectures lean heavily on one another to be successful. As the line between Cloud and Edge environments continues to blur, Akka Edge brings industry-first capabilities to enable developers to build once for the Cloud and, when ready, deploy seamlessly to the Edge.”

“Akka has been a powerful enabling technology for us to build high-performance Cloud systems for our clients,” said Jean-Philippe Le Roux, CEO of Reflek.io, an innovative company delivering Digital Twin technologies to geo-distributed companies. “We have been able to dramatically speed our time-to-production by building a single solution for both Cloud and Edge with Akka.”

Akka provides a singular programming model that eliminates the high latency, large footprint, and complexity barriers the Edge has posed for development teams wanting to bridge the Edge and Cloud. Developers focus on business logic, not complicated, time-consuming tool integrations. As a result, businesses can harness, distribute, and fully utilize the vast amount of intelligent data to improve their operations, regardless of where that data is generated. Some specific capabilities of the latest version of Akka include:

  • Adaptive Data Availability
  • Projections over gRPC for the Edge – asynchronous, brokerless service-to-service communication
  • Scalability and efficiency improvements to handle the large scale of many Edge services
  • Programmatically defined low-footprint active entity migration
  • Temporal, geographic, and use-based migration
  • Run Efficiently In Resource Constrained Environments
  • Support for more constrained environments such as running with GraalVM native image and lightweight Kubernetes distributions
  • Support for multidimensional autoscaling and scale to near zero
  • Lightweight storage, for running durable actors at the far edge
  • A Single Programming Model for the Cloud-to-Edge Continuum
  • Akka single programming model keeps the code, the tools, the patterns, and the communication the same, regardless if it is Cloud, Edge, or in between
  • Seamless Integration – works at the Edge or in the Cluster automatically
  • Empowering New Innovation
  • Active/Active digital twins, and many other new use cases
  • No dealing with complicated logic to handle network segregation
  • Focus on business logic and flow (not on tool integrations)

More About The Edge—This Time From Siemens

The list of trade fairs that I’m missing grows. I did not go to Nuremberg this year for the SPS show. There were many product announcements. These three are from Siemens concerning its Industrial Edge. It is all happening at the Edge.

  • New hardware and software available for Siemens’ Industrial Edge ecosystem
  • Industrial Edge Management System now cloud-based As-a-Service
  • Low code for Industrial Edge: Simplifying edge app programming with Mendix on Edge

Edge Computing allows manufacturers to capture and process data where it’s generated: at the field level in the plant. At this year’s SPS trade show in Nuremberg, the technology company Siemens is expanding its range of products and services for Industrial Edge at all levels. This will allow users to connect their information technology (IT) even better with the operational level (OT). Industrial Edge is also part of the portfolio of the Siemens Xcelerator open and flexible business platform.

Industrial Edge Management (IEM) is a software portal for managing IoT solutions consisting of hardware and software in the factory. It allows all devices, applications, and users integrated into Siemens Industrial Edge to be centrally managed. Siemens now also offers this system as a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): IEM Cloud is available as a fully managed service and includes both the infrastructure and the set-up of the system. The operational system requirements and configuration costs for users are kept to a minimum. Industrial Edge devices can be integrated directly in the management system. IEM Cloud can be used to manage automation software as well as hardware from Siemens and third-party providers. 

Siemens is also expanding its Industrial Edge ecosystem with more hardware: more Simatic industrial PCs (x86 processor-based) and Industrial Edge devices from the Scalance and Simatic IoT device family based on ARM processors are now available. Weidmüller is also the first third-party manufacturer in the Siemens ecosystem to offer the u-control M4000, an edge device based on this processor architecture. The ARM processor-based devices are primarily designed for less data-intensive use cases: for example, remote access and connectivity solutions like gateways. And users can now use Siemens’ new Industrial Edge Own Device software to convert their existing third-party x86 processor-based IPCs into fully functional Industrial Edge devices, centrally manage them, and thereby integrate existing hardware into their IoT environment.

Mendix’s low-code development environment allows users to develop field-level apps in production with no coding knowledge. Automation engineers can use the new Industrial Edge plugin to develop industry-specific apps in their Mendix Studio Pro development environment and seamlessly install them on appropriate devices at the field level. 

Managing Applications at the Edge

This is one of those conversations initiated when a PR person notices I cover a topic. The Edge is an important part of the network today. So George Westwater, Senior Director of Software Engineering at Progress, sent some notes.

[Note: Progress (formerly Chef) is a configuration management tool written in Ruby and Erlang. It uses a pure-Ruby, domain-specific language (DSL) for writing system configuration “recipes”.]

When it comes to managing applications at the edge, organizations, including manufacturers, must consider three dimensions for optimal edge management and security: configuration, continuous compliance, and secure software supply chain. They must ensure that their solution is uniquely tailored to address the requirements of remote edge computing. This approach is critical across many industries, including automated warehouses, automotive manufacturing, retail, and restaurants becoming an integral part of their operations.

When organizations start a project, they often focus on a single dimension of the problem, such as improving application deployments, improving application security, addressing changing regulatory/compliance requirements, or increasing the security/handling of remote devices. To be truly successful though, organizations ultimately find they require a comprehensive, integrated approach to seamlessly address the management of all three dimensions of edge management. Organizations must adopt this approach to successfully adopt continuous compliance, efficient software packaging, secure delivery, and configuration drift prevention.

Edge devices are vital in modern manufacturing but are prone to security vulnerabilities and configuration inconsistencies. Organizations must adopt a robust framework for building, packaging, delivering, and running software in remote locations. This approach provides package authenticity, and runtime protection and reduces testing time. It also enforces edge device compliance by collecting and correcting configuration drift and delivers secure software updates. As a result, it effortlessly adapts to various topologies, meeting business and regulatory requirements.

As part of a single and long-established Progress DevSecOps framework that supports application infrastructure across virtually any cloud to any edge, Chef’s Edge Management allows organizations to meet configuration, continuous compliance, and secure software supply chain requirements that enhance operational reliability and security for edge device.

Emerson News on Decoupling, Edge, Valve Status App

Three recent items from Emerson just came my way. The essay on Emerson Process Experts about decoupling software, hardware, I/O in control systems piqued my interest as Emerson’s “response” to the Open Process Automation Forum’s work. I place response in quotation marks because I’m not sure when they really started development. I know that Honeywell, for example, began its development work even before OPAF.

Emerson also is playing at the Edge, while valves continue to be an important part of the product portfolio noted by the release of a valve-related product.

It’s Time to Break Up—Automation’s Future will be Defined by Decoupling by Todd Walden, Claudio Fayad 

As Claudio Fayad explains in his recent article in Processing magazine, there are many exciting changes coming as Emerson embarks on its Boundless Automation journey and evolves the modern control system in to a next-generation automation platform. However, what might come as a surprise is that many of the coming evolutions will look familiar, as quite a bit of the important work is based in a decoupling journey—one that actually started a long time ago.

People who have been in the automation industry a long time likely still remember the days when I/O required termination on marshalling cabinets and I/O cards attached to the controller. The complicated interface meant project engineering was extremely complex—wiring diagrams needed to be created in advance of every project and though they could be changed later in the project, those changes could quickly become very costly.

To meet this need, Emerson designed an Electronic Marshalling solution. Electronic Marshalling decoupled I/O from the controller, empowering teams to define I/O on an as-needed basis and gave them the option to stay flexible even in the late stages of a project. And while that critical transformation took place decades ago, the decoupling of I/O from the control system is still relevant in one of the newest technologies that will form the foundation of the Boundless Automation journey: advanced physical layer (APL). APL brings the power and flexibility of Ethernet into the plant using the two-wire cabling that plants already have in place. As Claudio explains, using APL to further decouple I/O from the control system will bring big benefits,

Emerson’s New Edge Solution Democratizes Operational Data

Emerson has launched the DeltaV Edge Environment that expands the capabilities of the evolving DeltaV automation platform to provide an operational technology (OT) sandbox for data manipulation, analysis, organization and more. Teams can deploy and execute applications to run key artificial intelligence (AI) engines and analytics close to the data source with seamless, secure connectivity to contextualized OT data across the cloud and enterprise. The DeltaV Edge Environment empowers teams to more quickly deliver operational improvements tied to productivity, sustainability and other business objectives.

A single, encrypted, outbound-only flow of data helps authorized users ensure they have constant access to near real-time data without risk of users accessing the control system—a common risk with traditional custom-engineered solutions. Users can run applications for visualization, analytics, alarm management, digital twin simulations and other needs with the contextualized data available on the DeltaV Edge Environment. OT teams will know the rich data they use is a precise replica, always up to date and fully reflective of the current operating condition.

The DeltaV Edge Environment leverages open, common protocols such as OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) to provide contextualized data while standard application programming interfaces like representational state transfer architectural style (REST API) and scripting tools like Python provide the sandbox environment in which users can design and run applications.

Learn more on the DeltaV Edge Environment webpage.

New Valve Health App Provides Timely Plantwide Health Indicators

Emerson has announced the Plantweb Insight Valve Health Application, a powerful software tool that combines Fisher control valve expertise with advanced analytic algorithms. The new app makes it possible for users to visualize an entire connected fleet of valves, while prioritizing actions based on the health index of each valve. This helps plant personnel optimize valve repair activities, resulting in faster and better maintenance decisions, leading to reduced downtime.

The app allows users to prioritize repair and maintenance activities with five different indicators—Repair Urgency Status, Valve Health Index, Financial Impact, Criticality, and NE107 Alert Status—to meet specific needs. The app includes explanations, recommendations, and suggested time to take action. This last indicator is totally new to the market and is one of the app’s exclusive features.

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