With the Internet of Things (IoT) forecast to eventually count tens of billions of devices across various connection technologies, it only makes sense that companies begin looking at ways to orchestrate that ecosystem. IoTium thinks Kubernetes fits the bill.
The three-year-old company this week launched an update to its edge-cloud infrastructure that is built on remotely managed Kubernetes. The platform is targeted at brownfield industrial environments in the industrial IoT (IIoT) space with mission-critical data traversing physical access points.
IoTium Founder and CEO Ron Victor explained that the OT-Edge platform allows companies to better manage data that must remain on premises due to compliance, security, or latency reasons. The platform can also be remotely managed, which removes the need to have IT resources on site.
The platform relies on a physical box that is deployed on site and can be plugged into legacy equipment. The IoTium box them become the infrastructure transport layer.
The technology uses microservices based on container applications to decouple application development from deployment. This also removes the need for an organization to use a specific software-development kit (SDK) from a single vendor.
Management can be handled through either a virtual machine (VM) in the cloud or on premises in a data center.
“At the edge if there is VMware or OpenStack then we can operate as a VM. If not, then we are a box,” Victor explained, noting that in most cases it’s the latter.
He said the platform allows companies to move applications instead of data to the edge. This alleviates the need to move data to the cloud, which can cause compliance, security, and latency headaches.
IoTium CTO Sri Rajagopal said the platform places Kubernetes at the edge location where it can be inside a node. He explained that the deployment is a full version of Kubernetes running on IoTium’s software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) platform.
“Kubernetes has been widely adopted because it solves the problem of deployment and management of applications but is not remotely manageable on its own across the WAN,” Rajagopal said. “We have created the ability to manage application pods remotely for IIoT at scale.”
He explained that opex savings begins at deployment by not having to send out a “Cisco-trained technician” to help with the installation. From that point, customers can manage updates remotely, again saving costs, and can then move on installing other cost-saving measures.
“They can do things like enhance application workloads that are running inside of the platform and gain other productivity efficiencies,” Rajagopal said.
A recent survey from research firm MachNation predicts IoT edge revenues to increase 81 percent between 2017 and this year. The company expects the majority of the increase in the IoT edge to come from industrial IoT, automotive, transportation, and smart cities.
Rajagopal explained that Kubernetes was an ideal orchestration tool for the management and control over IoT. This echoed growing sentiment that Kubernetes can handle tasks beyond its initial focus on containers.
The Linux Foundation recently demonstrated Kubernetes being used to enable the Open Networking Automation Platform (ONAP) to run on any public, private, or hybrid cloud. This allows for seamless portability of applications across different infrastructure types.
AT&T plans to rely heavily on Kubernetes to power its next-generation AT&T Integrated Cloud platform. Ryan van Wyk, assistant vice president of cloud platform development at AT&T, said that work should begin sometime later this year.