EdgeX Foundry Reaches 1 Million Platform Container Downloads

EdgeX Foundry Reaches 1 Million Platform Container Downloads

Many engineers and programmers like open source projects combined with open APIs. Some open source catches on and quietly becomes widely used. Others languish. The Linux Foundation’s Edge project, especially EdgeX Foundry, keeps quietly growing. What are the odds that this becomes a widely used Internet of Things tool?

Today’s news in brief:

  • EdgeX’s fifth release offers more scalable solutions to move data from devices to cloud, enterprise and on-premises applications
  • The first LF Edge project to achieve Stage 3 ratification, EdgeX hits widespread adoption and production-level maturity
  • EdgeX and LF Edge onsite at IoT Solutions World Congress with demos from Dell Technologies, Home Edge, IOTech and Project EVE

EdgeX Foundry, a project under the LF Edge umbrella organization within the Linux Foundation that aims to establish an open, interoperable framework for IoT edge computing independent of connectivity protocol, hardware, operating system, applications or cloud, announced the availability of its “Fuji” release. This release offers additional security and testing features on top of the production-ready “Edinburgh” release launched this spring.

“EdgeX Foundry has experienced significant momentum in developing an open IoT platform for edge-related applications and shows no signs of slowing down,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge and IoT, the Linux Foundation. “As the only Stage 3 project under LF Edge, EdgeX Foundry is a clear example of how open collaboration is the key to an active community dedicated to creating an interoperable open source framework across IoT, Enterprise, Cloud and Telco Edge.”

Launched in April 2017, and now part of the LF Edge umbrella, EdgeX Foundry is an open source, loosely-coupled microservices framework that provides the choice to plug and play from a growing ecosystem of available third-party offerings or to augment proprietary innovations. With a focus on the IoT Edge, EdgeX simplifies the process to design, develop and deploy solutions across industrial, enterprise, and consumer applications. As a Stage 3 project under LF Edge, EdgeX is a self-sustaining cycle of development, maintenance, and long-term support. As an example of the rapidly accelerating use of the code, EdgeX hit a milestone of 1 million platform container downloads, which almost half of these took place in the last few months.

“The 1M container download isn’t our only milestone,” said Keith Steele, EdgeX Foundry chair of the Technical Steering Committee and LF Edge Governing Board member. “The development team has expanded with more than 150 active contributors globally and the partner ecosystem of complementary products and services continues to increase. As a result, we’re seeing more end-user case studies that range from energy and utilities, building automation, industrial process control and factory automation, smart cities, retail stores and distribution and health monitoring.”

The Fuji Release

As the fifth release in the EdgeX Foundry roadmap, Fuji offers significant enhancements to the Edinburgh 1.0 release, which launched in July, including:

  • New and improved security features to include PKI infrastructure for token/key generation.
  • Application services that now offer full replacement capability to the older export services provided with previous EdgeX releases. These application services offer more scalable and easier to use solutions to get data from the EdgeX framework to cloud, enterprise and on-premises applications.
  • Example application services are provided with this release to allow users to quickly move data from EdgeX to the Azure and AWS IoT platforms.
  • A new applications function Software Development Kit (SDK) also provides the EdgeX user community with the ability to create new and customized solutions on top of EdgeX – for example, allowing EdgeX to move edge data to legacy and non-standard environments.
  • Unit test coverage is considerably increased (in some services by more than 200 percent) across EdgeX core and supporting microservices.
  • New device service connectors to BLE, BACNet, IP camera, OPC UA, GPS, and REST device services.
  • Choices for commercially-supported EdgeX device connectors are also starting to blossom with offerings for CANopen, PROFINET, Zigbee, and EtherCat available through EdgeX community members.

Inaugural EdgeX Open

The EdgeX Foundry community recently kicked off a series of hackathons, titled the EdgeX Open. More than 70 attendees participated in the first event on October 7- 8, 2019, in Chicago. Hosted by LF Edge and the Retail Industry Leader Association (RILA), and sponsored by Canonical, Dell Technologies, Deep Vision, Intel, IOTech, IoTium and Zededa, the event featured five teams that competed in retail use case categories. More details on the event, including the winning use case from Volteo, are available in this blog post.

The next hackathon will coincide with the Geneva release, targeted for Spring 2020. It will be centered on the Manufacturing vertical and held in a location in Europe.

Mergers and Acquisitions Measure Industry Health

Mergers and Acquisitions Measure Industry Health

Here is a little bit of merger and acquisition activity of interest. One involving industrial cybersecurity; the other IT-oriented. Owl Cyber Defense and Tresys are coming together. I have been anticipating some consolidation in that space. Lots of startups. Can’t be that much business. In the other Dell Technologies appears to be rationalizing its organizational and investing complexity.

Tresys and Owl Cyber Defense to merge

Tresys Technology was recently acquired by DC Capital Partners, a private equity firm, and placed in a common holding company with Owl Cyber Defense. “The intention is to merge the two companies in the coming months, creating what we believe is the number one boundary security product and services company in the world. To both of us, nothing makes more strategic sense than this combination, and with DC Capital’s support we will be exploring additional strategic acquisitions to broaden our investment in innovation, geographies, and vertical markets. While we will continue to operate as separate businesses in the short term, over the coming months we will work on merging all operations and we will keep you fully apprised of those changes.”

Further from the message I received, “What does this mean for you? Both companies are fully committed to customer service excellence. You will continue to have access to our industry leading expertise in technology services and support; to help you select, configure, customize, maintain, and accredit solutions for any network separation issue. With our new ownership, there is a commitment to grow our international presence and resources, while markedly increasing the investment in R&D and integration services. You can expect to see an acceleration in the development and availability of new technologies, with deeper absorption of specific business use cases.”

The current plan with our investors is for Robert Stalick, CEO of Tresys, to lead the merged company. Michael Timan, CEO of Owl Cyber Defense, will continue to actively work alongside Bob in developing the vision, applying diligent process focus, and maintaining the sales and services engagement excellence for which we strive. “Our shared goal is nothing less than defining the future of network boundary security technology for the coming decades.”

VMware To Acquire all outstanding shares of Pivotal

I saw this story on Launch Ticker newsletter from CNBC.

Pivotal Software surges after VMware says it’s in talks to acquire the company.

Highlights:

  • VMware contributed to the formation of Pivotal in 2013.
  • Pivotal stock has fallen 66% in the past year.

Pivotal shares rose as much as 72% premarket Thursday August 15 after VMware said Wednesday it’s proceeding with an agreement to acquire all outstanding shares of Pivotal’s class A stock at $15 per share in cash, an 80.7% premium on Pivotal’s $8.30 closing price.

VMware also said in a regulatory filing that it has requested that Dell exchange all outstanding shares of Pivotal’s class B stock, other than class B Pivotal shares owned by VMware, for Class A VMware stock. Dell controlled almost 81% of VMware’s outstanding common stock and more than 97% of the combined voting power of VMware’s outstanding stock as of May 3. Dell and Pivotal are negotiating an exchange ratio for the shares.

The transaction could contribute to the further diversification of VMware, which has moved to collaborate with cloud infrastructure providers like Amazon in order to enable existing customers to run their computing workloads in whatever environment they like.

Shares of Pivotal have declined 66% in the past year. On June 5 Pivotal stock declined 41% after the company issued guidance that was below what analysts were expecting.

Pivotal went public in April 2018. VMware and DellEMC both contributed assets when Pivotal was established in 2013.

As a result of an agreement with Dell, VMware is the selling agent for certain Pivotal products, such that VMware collects cash that is then remitted to Pivotal, net of a contractual agency fee. As of May 3, VMware had a 16% financial interest in Pivotal and a 24% voting interest in the company.

In a statement of its own, Pivotal said on Wednesday that although it is in talks with VMware about a “potential business combination,” an agreement has not been made.

Mergers and Acquisitions Measure Industry Health

Technology and Podcast Links

I’ve released a couple of podcasts recently. One was based on what I learned at the HPE Discover Conference and the other based on a conversation with Dell Technologies IoT and OEM CTO Jason Shepherd. These can also be seen on my YouTube channel.

I have discovered more interest in the IT side of things on my podcasts. One I recorded a few months ago has hit more than 3.2K downloads. Interesting where the industry is going.

As I became recognized as the independent writer/analyst in the Industrial Internet of Things market, this infographic came my way. I don’t really have the right site to publish it, but here is a link–80 Internet of Things Statistics. Interesting.

The podcasts:

192 Why and OT guy goes to IT conferences — mostly based on trip to HPE Discover conference.

193 Open Source, IT and OT and Dell Tech — mostly on interview with Dell Tech’s CTO for IoT Jason Shepherd.

Mergers and Acquisitions Measure Industry Health

IMTS 2018 Features Variety of Manufacturing Technologies

IMTS has been a huge show for many years. As you might expect from a trade show, the theme is broad. Exhibitors are a diverse lot. Things I saw indicating a new wave of technologies including machines designed to work with humans (so-called “cobots”) and various aspects of Industrial Internet of Things. Following are a few specifics.

Formerly the International Machine Tool Show and now the International Manufacturing Technology Show, the South Hall of Chicago’s McCormick Place is still filled with huge machining centers. The North Hall was packed with robotics, components, and other automation products. Much of this flows over to the East Hall where several aisles were devoted to Hannover Messe automation companies—my sweet spot. Even the West Hall was packed.

Beckhoff proclaimed, “Solve the IoT hardware, software and networking puzzle.”

The company introduced ultra-compact Industrial PCs (IPCs). These IPCs are Microsoft Azure Certified and can work just as easily with other major cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and SAP HANA.

Significant updates will span three key areas of the TwinCAT software suite: new HTML5-enabled TwinCAT HMI for industrial displays and mobile devices, important data processing expansions in the TwinCAT Analytics offering, and TwinCAT 3 Motion Designer, which adds a deep set of valuable tools to commission entire motor, drive and mechanical systems in software. Motion Designer can be integrated into the standard TwinCAT 3 software platform or it can be used as a stand-alone motion system engineering tool.

EK1000 EtherCAT TSN Coupler expands the industrial Ethernet capabilities of the EtherCAT I/O system to utilize TSN (Time-Sensitive Networking) technology. The EK1000 enables communication among high-performance EtherCAT segments with remote EtherCAT controllers via heterogeneous Ethernet networks.

Ideagen plc, the UK-based software firm, announced the acquisition of American quality inspection software provider, InspectionXpert. Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, InspectionXpert currently generates $2.8 million in revenue and will bring more than 1,000 clients including Boeing, Kohler and Pratt & Whitney to Ideagen’s existing customer base.

Speaking at IMTS, Chicago, Ideagen CEO, Ben Dorks, said: “As well as significantly enhancing our manufacturing supply chain product suite, the acquisition of InspectionXpert provides Ideagen with a fantastic opportunity for growth by broadening upsell and cross-selling opportunities, increasing our customer footprint and expanding our geographical reach.”

InspectionXpert’s products, InspectionXpert and QualityXpert, enable organizations in the precision manufacturing industry and associated supply chains to simplify inspection planning, execution and reporting and general quality through digitalization of paper-based processes.

InspectionXpert and QualityXpert will be integrated into Ideagen’s existing software suite, which will enhance Software as a Service (SaaS) revenues and provide excellent opportunities for future growth.

Energid released Actin 5, an update to its robot software development kit (SDK). Called the industry’s only real-time adaptive motion control software, it allows robotic system developers to focus on the robot’s task rather than joint movement and paths. It responds in real time to sensory input and directs the robot on the most efficient path while avoiding collisions. The robot motion is updated dynamically without requiring reprogramming, even in dynamic, mission-critical environments.

Forcam develops software solutions in the area of MES, IIoT, and OEE. It leans into the trend of developing platforms. Its platform is built with open APIs with the latest programming languages and tools. It supports Microsoft Azure Cloud, SAP ERP, Maximo maintenance/asset applications, and Apple iPads for input. The platform helps reduce integration time and expense.

I came across the Dell Technologies booth in the automation hall. The big news was a collaboration with Tridium and Intel for IIoT solutions.

The IIoT solution is built on the Niagara Framework, Tridium’s open technology platform, and combines software and consulting services to help customers begin the digital transformation of their businesses.

The Niagara-based IIoT solution built with Dell and Intel technology will comprise a complete hardware and software stack delivered as a finished solution for ease of adoption, and will encompass consulting services from subject matter experts to support implementation. The application layer of the IIoT solution is being developed and supported by Tridium and will expand over time with solutions designed for the telecom and energy sectors.

IoT Platform EdgeX Foundry Releases New Version

IoT Platform EdgeX Foundry Releases New Version

Platforms that serve to expedite the interaction and collaboration of apps in the Internet of Things (IoT) are sort of the next new thing. There are several that some of the IT analyst firms are following. Trouble is the term allows for a wide variety.

One I’ve written about several times here and here and here is open source developed under the auspices of the Linux Foundation with major leadership and contributions by Dell Technologies. It’s called the EdgeX Foundry. The initiative includes 47 member companies.

The second major release of the platform (California) has just seen the light of day. I picked up information from a blog post by Jim White, Vice Chair of the Technical Steering Committee and Distinguished Engineer and Project Lead of the IoT Platform Development Team within Dell Technologies IoT Solutions Division.

Following is a lightly edited version of his blog concerning the announcement.

While EdgeX is only a year old, our community is demonstrating its staying power with the second major release in its first year.  The California release, which follows Barcelona, shows the commitment and dedication of many who see the importance and potential of developing a flexible, open source, IoT software platform for the edge that provides connectivity and interoperability while still allowing value add.

So, what is new with the California release?  A lot! But before we get into the details, I want to highlight that the biggest focus of this release was to introduce a few key security capabilities and to make EdgeX smaller and faster.
Security

EdgeX began its existence without security and organizations wanting to leverage the platform had to add their own security capability. Today, EdgeX incorporates some of the first security elements.  These initial elements, while useful on their own, are essential building blocks to additional security features in the future.

The first security elements include a reverse proxy that helps protect the REST API communications and a secrets store.  With the EdgeX reverse proxy in place – as provided by incorporating an open source product called Kong – any external client of an EdgeX micro service must first authenticate themselves before successfully calling on an EdgeX API.

The secure storage facility was provided by incorporating the open source Vault (Hashicorp) product, and it allows items such as username/password credentials, certificates, secure tokens, etc. to be persisted and protected within EdgeX.  These types of “secrets” will allow EdgeX to, for example, encrypt data, make HTTPS calls to the enterprise, or connect EdgeX to a cloud provider in a secure manner.

Performance and Scalability

The EdgeX Foundry Technical Steering Committee decided early last year in the project’s formation that we would release twice a year – once in April and once in October.  You probably noticed that it’s not April.

Last year, we decided that EdgeX needed to be smaller and faster to better function effectively at “the edge”, which the largely-Java code from the seed donation was going to make difficult. To do this, we needed to rebuild the EdgeX microservices in Go Lang – and do so by our spring 2018 release.  This was not a small endeavor and it was made at a time when the EdgeX Foundry developer community was just coming on board.  We knew it would take a bit more time, but we were committed to this, and added two more months to this release cycle.

The extra time was well worth it!  With the California release, we’ve dramatically lowered the footprint, startup time, memory and CPU usage. Take a look at the statistics below, which compares services from our first community release last October (Barcelona) to our current release (California).

We still have work to do, but it’s now possible to run all of EdgeX on something like a Raspberry Pi 3.

Additional Features
In addition to the initial security capabilities and reducing the size and latency of the platform, this release includes other work – some visible to the user while some features are more hidden but improve the overall quality of EdgeX.
• Several additions were made to the export services to provide additional “northbound” connectivity, to include connectors for XMPP, ThingsBoard IoT, and Brightics IoT
• We improved the documentation and now have documentation stored with the code in Github – allowing it to be maintained and updated more like code by the community
• Arm 64 is now fully supported.  In fact we worked with the Linux Foundation to add external environments and tools to create native Arm 64 artifacts.
• We added blackbox tests for all the micro services.  These are now kicked off as part of our build and continuous integration processes.
• Other improvements were made to our continuous integration – to help streamline developer contributions

On to Delhi

Our next release, named Delhi, will come out in October 2018.  Due to the extended release cycle for California, the Delhi release cycle is going to be short. The significant features planned for Delhi include:
• Initial manageability services and capability
• Device Service SDKs (Go/C) and at least one example device service
• The next wave of security features to include access control lists to grant access to appropriate services and improved security service bootstrapping
• Better/more unit testing and added performance testing
• Adding the last of the refactored and improved Go Lang microservices
• Outlining options and a potential implementation plan for alternate or additional database support
• An EdgeX UI suitable for demos and smaller installations