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Kubernetes IoT Edge Working Group Forms

September 26, 2018

The Eclipse Foundation is collaborating with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) on a new Kubernetes IoT Edge Working Group to address the surging demand for Kubernetes in IoT cloud and edge environments. IDC forecasts worldwide spending on IoT to reach $1.2 trillion in 2022, and Kubernetes’ footprint is rapidly expanding in large-scale IoT deployments. The Kubernetes IoT Edge Working Group will focus first on evolving Kubernetes to support IoT workloads at the edge (a $2.1 billion market by 2021, according to IDC), and will define key use cases and requirements alongside CNCF, Eclipse Foundation members, and the entire ecosystem and community of users.

Kubernetes in IoT is still new on the adoption curve, but already showcases impressive success stories. Earlier this summer, Chick-fil-A wrote about deploying “mini data centers” at 2,000 restaurants with 6,000 devices at the edge running Kubernetes -- which served to remove the dependency on Internet connections and to support low latency requirements for business critical IoT. Bosch Software Innovations also uses Kubernetes to automate the deployment, scaling, and management of containers across its Bosch IoT Suite and leverages Eclipse Hono and Eclipse Ditto to reliably scale to millions of connected devices.

Similar to the role that the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl/PHP/Python) played as the open source backbone of commercial web applications, the IoT industry is collaborating on open source and rushing to form a stack of complementary technologies for building IoT systems. The new Kubernetes IoT Edge Working Group is the collaboration between the Eclipse IoT Working Group and its 40 member companies and 35 open source projects, and the Kubernetes ecosystem to define terminology, identify gaps in deployment and management, educate the market on common use cases and typical scenarios for IoT solutions, put standard metrics in place, and identify open source projects that could help.

"Companies with commercial interests in IoT are facing a common set of infrastructure challenges at the edge,” said Dejan Bosanac, Engineer at Red Hat, and lead for Kubernetes IoT Edge Working Group. “IoT and edge applications have many distributed components that don't usually sit together within the same datacenter infrastructure. There are messaging challenges, security has to be re-invented for every application and service, and there are integration and data locality issues with sidecar services. These are issues that shouldn't have to be re-invented every time -- they should be open source infrastructure with broad industry support. Red Hat and this working group see Kubernetes and other cloud-native projects in its orbit as having broad potential sitting between gateways, edge nodes and cloud platforms. Much like the LAMP stack was instrumental to the web-applications era, this group is focused on accelerating a Kubernetes stack for running cloud infrastructure and distributed components at the IoT edge."

“The collaboration between the Kubernetes and Eclipse IoT communities will enable the development of a truly open ecosystem for distributed IoT edge computing,” said Eclipse Foundation Executive Director, Mike Milinkovich. “The complexity of orchestrating IoT systems is a problem domain that Kubernetes is a perfect fit for, and many complementary open source projects are under the Eclipse IoT umbrella, so we’re very excited to work with the CNCF to support this surge of interest around Kubernetes in IoT.”

“Kubernetes is the orchestration platform of choice for building hybrid cloud services, and we see it playing a major role in future IoT and Edge deployments,” said Chris Aniszczyk, COO of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. “CNCF is proud to collaborate with the vibrant Eclipse community through the newly formed Kubernetes IoT Edge Working Group to accelerate innovation and market adoption of cloud native IoT.”

By joining the Kubernetes IoT Edge Working Group, companies and individuals can participate in an open process that encourages contributions from all to define priorities and deliver the roadmap.

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