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28 April 2017

Linux Foundation launches EdgeX project, steps on OpenFog’s toes?

The Linux Foundation has launched the EdgeX Foundry, an open source project that aims to build a common open framework for IoT edge-computing and promote such an ecosystem. With some 50 founding members, we would normally be singing the praises of the project – but there’s already an industry group dedicated to tackling this problem, and it’s called the OpenFog Consortium.

The OpenFog group recently unveiled its new Reference Architecture document, which is essentially a framework for managing emerging networks that blend centralized cloud processing with distributed network-edge compute functions. It looks like there’s considerable common ground between the two groups, and a cynic would note that this launch is an excellent example of the IoT getting another unnecessary group instead of consolidation.

However, there’s very little overlap between the two groups’ memberships – with only Dell, FogHorn Systems, and relayr appearing in both lists. OpenFog has some serious IoT clout, with the likes of ARM, Cisco, Dell, GE, Intel, and Microsoft in its ranks, but besides Dell, none of those have joined EdgeX – at least yet.

So it does look like sides have been picked, considering that the two bodies have such a strong overlap in goals but not in their memberships. Ideally, few of the more prominent standards bodies would begin merging within the next few quarters, but it’s hard to see that happening – although watching the OCF (and recently merged AllSeen), oneM2M, and perhaps EdgeX and OpenFog merge together would be a pretty good vote of confidence for IoT interoperability.

Notably, EdgeX members Two Bulls and Beechwoods software had been working on the IoTX project, an AllJoyn-compliant which is now being rolled into EdgeX. Dell is also donating its FUSE code under an Apache 2.0 license, which will act as a middle layer between sensors and clouds. EdgeX says its open framework will be designed to run on any hardware or operating system, in any combination of application environments. The 125,000 lines of code that Dell is contributing, and over a dozen microservices, will be accompanied by an SDK for developers.

The EdgeX founding members are: Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Alleantia, Analog Devices, Bayshore Networks, Beechwoods Software, Canonical, ClearBlade, CloudPlugs, Cloud of Things, Cumulocity, Davra Networks, Dell, Device Authority, Eigen Innovations, EpiSensor, FogHorn Systems, ForgeRock, Great Bay Software, IMS Evolve, IOTech, IoTium, KMC Controls, Kodaro, Linaro, MachineShop, Mobiliya, Mocana, Modius, NetFoundry, Neustar, Opto 22, relayr, RevTwo, RFMicron, Sight Machine, SoloInsight, Striim, Switch Automation, Two Bulls, V5 Systems, Vantiq, VMware and ZingBox.

The EdgeX industry affiliate members include: Cloud Foundry Foundation, EnOcean Alliance, Mainflux, Object Management Group, Project Haystack and ULE Alliance.

“Success in IoT is dependent on having a healthy ecosystem that can deliver interoperability and drive digital transformation,” said Jim Zemlin, the Executive Director of the Linux Foundation. EdgeX Foundry is aligning market leaders around a common framework, which will drive IoT adoption and enable businesses to focus on developing innovative use cases that impact the bottom line.”