Showing posts with label Fog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fog. Show all posts

Friday, July 14, 2017

Vitalpointz Targets the Edge

We have seen the tremendous potential for innovation, cost saving, and flexibility being unleashed by the public clouds.  The hyperscale data centers of the top three public cloud providers are marvels to behold. Private cloud data centers and hybrid cloud architectures are also on the rise as Fortune 500 companies shift their IT spending to take advantage of this trend.

We are also now witnessing the long-predicted rise in the Internet of Things.  IDC’s recent Worldwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide predicts spending on IoT will reach $800 billion this year, up 16.7% year over year, and rising to nearly $1.4 trillion in 2021.  IDC breaks down 2017 investments in IoT as follows: manufacturing operations ($105 billion), freight monitoring ($50 billion), and production asset management ($45 billion), smart grid technologies for electricity, gas and water and smart building technologies ($56 billion and $40 billion, respectively). Looking to 2021, IDC expects these use cases will remain the largest areas of IoT spending. The use cases that will see the fastest spending growth are airport facilities automation (33.4% CAGR), electric vehicle charging (21.1% CAGR), and in-store contextual marketing (20.2% CAGR).


The Need for Edge Computing

At the intersection of these two trends is a new opportunity that is just beginning to catch the interest of Silicon Valley – edge computing, sometimes also called fog computing. The primary idea here is that Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications will benefit from both cloud infrastructure and local compute/storage resources. Centralized controllers in the cloud could be used for provisioning, performance monitoring, billing, and big data analytics. Real-time control of the application and its associated physical devices would be retained by an “edge” processing/storage unit.

This will drive the development of small server farms, or “cloudlets”, located in-building, on-campus, or in a metro area data center.  Google recently disclosed plans for more data centers in city centers rather than solely hyperscale campuses in remote locations. AWS is promoting its “Greengrass” project, software for running local compute, messaging, data caching, and sync capabilities for connected device. Greengrass runs locally and the AWS cloud provides management, analytics, and durable storage.

The communication service providers have their own variation for this general concept - Central Office Re-architected as a Data Center (CORD).  Under the Linux Foundation, CORD is now an independent open source project aimed at leveraging the elasticity of commodity clouds and merchant silicon for a new generation of smaller and more efficient central offices. Backers include Google, Radisys, Samsung Electronics, AT&T, China Unicom, Google, NTT Communications, SK Telecom, and Verizon, vendors Ciena, Cisco, Fujitsu, Intel, NEC, Nokia, etc.

The Vitalpointz Application Forking Engine

Vitalpointz (vitalpointz.net) is a Silicon Valley-based start-up with R&D operations in Bangalore, that has just announced its entrance into this market. The company is led by veteran successful entrepreneur Ravi Medikonda, who previously headed Vistapointe, a start-up that specialized in cloud-based and real-time network monitoring solutions for mobile operators. Vistapointe developed data extraction, analysis and insight generation technologies that enabled mobile operators to gain visibility into their mobile networks. The solution leveraged Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) architecture, enabling it to run in a telco cloud.  Brocade acquired Vistapointe in 2014. The Vistapointe team went on to become Brocade’s Network Visibility and Analytics business unit, establishing accounts with major North American and Japanese mobile operators.  With Broadcom’s $5.9 billion acquisition of Brocade and subsequent divestitures of many business units, the time seemed right to pursue the new edge opportunity.

“We see a distinct opportunity for a better edge computing paradigm,” says Vitalpointz’ Ravi Medikonda. “Application developers really should not have to know specifically what hardware resources are available locally versus in the cloud.  Our forking engine will automatically direct traffic to where it can be best processed. In many cases, that might be a nearby CORD or on-prem server, but it might be the public or private cloud.”

Applications are driven by multiple functional modules, also known as micro-services, which can exist in different locations (VMs, container, across racks, across data centers, etc.). We also know that application deployment has changed to a SAAS multi-tenant model.  The same deployment of "Office 365" can serve multiple companies and customers.  So, the ability to specifically manage an application by host or an IP-address is not possible.

The patent pending Vitalpointz Application Fork Engine (VAFE) technology will enable applications to run “as is” across the cloud and cloudlet without any configuration change. The company says its VAFE technology will benefit several use cases that require quick responsiveness, low latency and near real-time operation. VAFE can be embedded in x.86 platforms, VMs, processor boards in Layer-2 DC switches or IIOT gateways.

Examples could include context-aware services and location-aware services, asset tracking, video surveillance, connected cars, augmented and virtual reality, etc.  Think of a hotel that is installing NFC-enabled door locks on its customer rooms.  When a new reservation is booked online, a room suite is automatically assigned and a unique room access code is generated and emailed to the guest. This part of the booking is handled by the hotel management application in the cloud. When the guest arrives at the hotel on the day of the booking, he or she may proceed directly to the reserved room, which opens when their NFC-enabled phone is touched to the door lock. The authenticated door opening transaction is processed locally rather than in the cloud data center which could be thousands of miles away.


The Vitalpointz founding team has played the Silicon Valley & Bangalore start-up game before with a successful outcome. A promising market opportunity has been identified and key intellectual property is under development. As is often the case, it is the focused engineering teams who have worked together in the past that gain a first-to-market advantage over the large vendors.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

OpenFog Consortium Releases its Reference Architecture

The OpenFog Consortium, whose founding members include ARM, Cisco, Dell, Intel, Microsoft, and Princeton University, published its OpenFog Reference Architecture, a universal technical framework designed to enable the data-intensive requirements of the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G and artificial intelligence (AI) applications.

Fog computing is the system-level architecture that brings computing, storage, control, and networking functions closer to the data-producing sources along the cloud-to-thing continuum. The new reference architecture aims to enable high-performance, interoperability and security in complex digital transactions.

In brief, the OpenFog Reference Architecture contains a medium- to high-level view of system architectures for fog nodes (smart, connected devices) and networks, deployment and hierarchy models, and use cases. It is based on eight core technical principles, termed pillars, which represent the key attributes that a system needs to encompass to be defined as "OpenFog." These pillars include security, scalability, openness, autonomy, RAS (reliability, availability, and serviceability), agility, hierarchy and programmability.

"Just as TCP/IP became the standard and universal framework that enabled the Internet to take off, members of OpenFog have created a standard and universal framework to enable interoperability for 5G, IoT and AI applications," said Helder Antunes, chairman of the OpenFog Consortium and senior director for the Corporate Strategic Innovation Group at Cisco. "While fog computing is starting to be rolled out in smart cities, connected cars, drones and more, it needs a common, interoperable platform to turbocharge the tremendous opportunity in digital transformation. The new OpenFog Reference Architecture is an important giant step in that direction."

"The OpenFog Reference Architecture is the culmination of a year-long effort from industry and university research members to ensure we address all the appropriate communications, software, infrastructure and security components of fog computing," said Jeff Fedders, president of the OpenFog Consortium. "Our goal is to help and support both the business leader and the technologist to create new applications and business models through fog computing. By developing this common framework, we're addressing the hardware, software and system elements necessary for an OpenFog architecture and a vibrant, supplier ecosystem."

http://www.OpenFogConsortium.org/RA

See also