EdgeX FoundryTM is a vendor-neutral open source project hosted by The Linux Foundation building a common open framework for IoT edge computing.  At the heart of the project is an interoperability framework hosted within a full hardware- and OS-agnostic reference software platform to enable an ecosystem of plug-and-play components that unifies the marketplace and accelerates the deployment of IoT solutions.

EdgeX is an important enabler for interested parties to freely collaborate on open and interoperable IoT solutions built using existing connectivity standards combined with their own proprietary innovations.

EdgeX Foundry goals include:

  • Build and promote EdgeX as the common open platform unifying Internet of Things (IoT) edge computing
  • Enable and encourage the rapidly growing community of IoT solutions providers to create an ecosystem of interoperable plug-and-play components around the EdgeX platform architecture
  • Create business value-add by:
    • Accelerating time to market for new data-based services – generating new revenue streams
    • Enabling users to leverage new capabilities (AI, ML at the edge) and added value from different combined solutions
    • Providing tools to quickly create EdgeX-based IoT edge solutions that can easily adapt to changing business needs
  • Reduce risk of IoT adoption by:
    • Certifying EdgeX components to ensure interoperability and compatibility
    • Participating in a global ecosystem of EdgeX users, contributors and value-add suppliers in contrast to in-house development or proprietary technology lock-in alternatives
    • Reduce costs through economies of scale by leveraging a global ecosystem of partners sharing risks and providing world-class leadership to accelerate EdgeX evolution
    • Improving security and system management through a consistent software infrastructure regardless of use-case
  • Collaborate with LF Edge and other relevant open source projects, standards groups, and industry alliances to ensure consistency and interoperability across the IoT

Where does EdgeX Foundry sit alongside the numerous other IoT initiatives?

EdgeX Foundry Focused at IoT Edge Diagram

EdgeX Foundry is focused on the Industrial IoT Edge. EdgeX Foundry leverages cloud-native principles (e.g. loosely-coupled microservices, platform-independence) but is architected to meet specific needs of the IoT edge including accommodating both IP- and non-IP based connectivity protocols, security and system management for widely distributed compute nodes, and scaling down to highly-constrained devices.

  • The project’s sweet spot is edge nodes such as embedded PCs, hubs, gateways, routers, and on-premises servers to address key interoperability challenges where “south meets north, east, and west” in a distributed IoT edge architecture
  • The loosely-coupled platform as shown below can run entirely on one edge node or be distributed across multiple nodes
  • Device Services can also run independently on smart sensors and communicate directly with Core Services in a tier above

EdgeX Foundry will benefit industry-specific interoperability efforts and strives to be a unifying force, creating an ecosystem of ecosystems, providing maximum flexibility to unify heterogeneous ingredients.

A key tenet of the EdgeX Foundry Project is to maintain platform independence for maximum scale:

  • Any Silicon (e.g. x86 or ARM)
  • Any Operating System (e.g. Linux, Windows, Mac OS)
  • Any App Environment (allowing microservices written in Java, Javascript, Python, Go, C/C++, etc. to work together through the common APIs)

Loosely-Coupled Microservice Platform Architecture

Proposed Architecture

The basis of EdgeX Foundry is a loosely-coupled tiered IoT architecture that allows customers to deploy a mix of plugandplay microservices on compute nodes at the edge depending on the capability of the host devices, where they sit in the solution stack, and the use case. Based on initial code contributions from Founding Members there is a fully-functional Alpha platform in the project today that will continue to mature in the community.  As an open source, community-driven project, the current architecture scheme will evolve over time.

Required Interoperability Foundation (Highlighted in Purple)

  • Core Services, Device Services SDK, Loosely-Coupled Microservice Deployment Framework, Foundational APIs for Data Flow, System Management and Security and Developer Value-add

Optional Reference Services (Grey)

  • The project code base will include reference services constituting a full edge software platform so it is functional out of the box. Developers can leverage these optional services OR replace them with preferred alternatives.
  • The platform is purpose-built to facilitate interoperability across existing protocol standards while enabling proprietary innovation for key value-add such as edge analytics, data orchestration, database, security, system management and services

The architecture supports communications “north, south, east and west” as needed at the IoT edge and can be deployed on a variety of edge nodes in a tiered computing architecture.  The deployment of combinations of different plug-and-play microservices simply depends on the use cases and capability of the host device.

Tiered IoT Deployments Diagram

How would I benefit from participating in the project?

End Customers: Deploy IoT edge solutions quickly and easily with the flexibility to dynamically adapt to changing business needs.

Hardware OEMs: Scale faster with an interoperable partner ecosystem and more robust security and system management. Your hardware becomes easier to deploy and more widely supported with EXF.

ISVs: Interoperate with 3rd party applications and hardware without reinventing connectivity. Assemble complex solutions for certified and interoperable components.

Sensor/Device Makers: Write a device driver with your selected protocol once using the Device Service SDK(s) and get pull from all solution providers.

System Integrators: Get to market faster with plug-and-play ingredients combined with your own innovations

How Can I Participate?

  1. Developer Resources: As an open-source project, membership is not required to access the code, or follow along in the mailing lists/discussion forums. Learn more at https://www.edgexfoundry.org/get-started/
  2. Become a Member: Members are provided additional opportunities including networking, a voice in the development of the certification program, and marketing opportunities. Learn more at http://edgexfoundry.org/about/members/join