The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and the Eclipse Foundation formed a new working group focused on using Kubernetes to manage IoT and edge networking deployments. This includes developing key use cases and architectural requirements.
Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, said the Kubernetes IoT Edge Working Group will work to solidify efforts to use the container orchestration platform for IoT and industrial IoT (IIoT) deployments. Those efforts include defining terminology; identifying gaps in deployment and management; educating the market on common use cases and typical scenarios for IoT solutions; putting standard metrics in place; and identifying other open source projects that could help the process.
Milinkovich boldly said the working group is looking to see how far it can push the centralized Kubernetes platform out into the distributed edge and IoT ecosystem.
“We are looking to see how far we can push Kubernetes to the edge for a control plane and common infrastructure set for as many use cases and scenarios as possible,” Milinkovich said.
He added that the growth in adoption and maturity of Kubernetes makes the open source platform a natural complement to developing an open source orchestration model for IoT and edge deployments.
“Anybody that thinks they are going to win in the IoT space with a proprietary protocol is just wrong,” Milinkovich said. “The whole opportunity for IoT is to break down those proprietary silos and software.”
Milinkovich said the group would at some point look at deploying a serverless framework for using local functions that can be triggered as a response to certain events without the need to transport that trigger back to the cloud.
The group also claims security superiority over legacy IoT attempts. Milinkovich explained that the biggest challenge for IoT is that the physical boxes can live attached to the internet for years, if not decades, and that a centralized control plane using Kubernetes allows for easier management of those updates.
“Security patches are very important,” Milinkovich said. “Remotely managing these devices and making sure they are getting their updates on a regular basis is key.”
The collaboration will operate as a subset of the Kubernetes ecosystem, which itself is housed at CNCF. The Eclipse IoT Working Group will offer up its 40 member companies and 35 open source projects.
The Eclipse Foundation was formed in 2004, having emerged from the Eclipse Project that IBM founded in late 2001. It now counts more than 275 members, including Oracle, Red Hat, SAP, Docker, and Ericsson.
The foundation is focused on supporting Eclipse open source projects, with the most well known being the Eclipse multi-language software development environment platform. It’s also focused on enabling the use of open source technology in commercial software products and services using the Eclipse Public License (EPL).
The idea of using Kubernetes to power IoT and edge deployments is not necessarily new. IoTium recently updated its edge-cloud infrastructure that is built on remotely managed Kubernetes. The platform places Kubernetes at an edge location where it can be inside a node. The company uses a full version of Kubernetes running on IoTium’s SD-WAN platform.