Open source software company Red Hat, a subsidiary of IBM, has introduced a solution for flexibly deploying traditional or containerized workloads on small devices such as robots, IoT gateways, points of sale, public transport and more. Red Hat Device Edge delivers an enterprise-ready and supported distribution of the Red Hat-led open source community project MicroShift, a lightweight Kubernetes orchestration solution built from the edge capabilities of Red Hat OpenShift, along with an edge-optimized operating system built from Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
As more and more companies deploy edge computing across a broader range of use cases, says the company, many new questions, operational needs and business challenges are poised to arise. In industries like automotive, manufacturing and more, organizations are up against different environmental, security and operational challenges that require an ability to work with small form-factor edge devices in these resource constrained environments. Ultimately, different devices have different requirements in terms of computing power, software compatibility and security footprint.
“Innovation at the edge has introduced new benefits and use cases for organizations across all industries – but it has also created new challenges,” says Francis Chow, vice president and general manager, In-Vehicle Operating System and Edge, Red Hat. “Working with our customers and partners, Red Hat began a journey to develop a new technology offering – designed specifically for the edge – extending our hybrid cloud solution so that our ecosystem will be able to take advantage of intelligence paired with trusted open source technology to tackle their smallest footprint remote edge use cases. Tested in the community, now produced by Red Hat, Red Hat Device Edge is a major next step in harnessing the full range of benefits promised by edge computing.”
With Red Hat Device Edge, organizations can have the flexibility to deploy containers at the edge in a small footprint, reducing compute requirements by up to 50% in comparison to traditional Kubernetes edge configurations. It also helps to address many of the emerging questions around large-scale edge computing at the device edge by incorporating:
- Kubernetes built for edge deployments, enabling IT teams to use familiar Kubernetes features in a new, smaller, lighter-weight footprint offered by MicroShift. This lowers the barrier of entry for teams building cloud-native applications for edge computing environments and enables them to use existing Kubernetes skills to achieve greater consistency of operations across the entirety of the hybrid cloud, from the datacenter to public clouds to the edge.
- An edge-optimized Linux OS built from the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform in Red Hat Enterprise Linux and tailored for small edge devices with intelligent updates that use minimum bandwidth. This helps organizations tackle the challenges of intermittent connectivity while mitigating the impact on edge innovation.
- Capabilities for centrally scaling and monitoring edge device fleets with Red Hat Smart Management. IT teams can use zero-touch provisioning, system health visibility and updates with automatic rollbacks to maintain a stronger edge management and application security posture.
Red Hat Device Edge is aimed at organizations who require small factor edge devices with support for bare metal, virtualized or containerized applications, regardless of industry. Additional use cases include but are not limited to:
- Miniature, connected nodes on public transportation where edge devices are often in motion but still need faster processing via AI/ML to analyze data locally in real time (i.e. railways, mining, cars, drones).
- Resilient resource nodes at challenging locations like weather monitoring stations where, in spite of the harsh, tough-to-support environments, an edge device will still be capable of taking care of itself with the ability to perform automated software rollbacks, maintain a stronger security posture and better enforce sensitive data controls.
- Emerging edge constrained scenarios where thousands of edge devices may be running applications in locations that make weight, temperature and connectivity all major concerns.
Red Hat Device Edge will run a wide variety of workloads using Podman for edge container management or MicroShift for a Kubernetes API. Users will even be able to use legacy windows applications within a virtual machine.
Red Hat Device Edge is planned as a developer preview early next year, and expected to be generally available with full support later in 2023.