And in case you’re wondering what in the heck OpenFog is — which sounds a bit like an oxymoron — it’s a group whose members are working on “fog computing,” which adds a hierarchy of compute, storage, networking, and control functions between the cloud and endpoint devices and between gateways and devices.
The OpenFog Consortium was founded over one year ago, and it’s an independent nonprofit organization run under the direction of its board of directors. Its committees and workgroups are run by its members.
In many ways, fog computing sounds similar to Mobile Edge Computing (MEC), which brings data-center capabilities to the edge of networks.
Lynne Canavan, executive director of the OpenFog Consortium, delineates the following key distinctions between fog computing and MEC:
- Fog covers mobile but also wireline
- Fog covers edge but also access and wearable/things and intermediate layers between edge and cloud
- Fog addresses verticals beyond the mobile/service provider
- MEC standards are largely compute oriented, where the OpenFog Consortium’s reference architecture also embraces storage and deep packet networking
- MEC focuses on single layer of nodes in the RAN or base transceiver station (BTS), whereas fog computing can have a deeper hierarchy
- Fog computing has a stronger emphasis on security/privacy
- Finally, fog is inclusive of cloud, while edge excludes the cloud.
“In general with fog and edge: fog has a hierarchal and flat architecture with several layers forming a network, while edge computing relies on separate nodes that do not form a network,” says Canavan. “Fog computing has extensive peer-to-peer interconnect capability between nodes, where edge runs its nodes in silos, requiring data transport back through the cloud for peer-to-peer traffic.”