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New Reference Architecture Is a Leap Forward for Fog Computing

- February 15, 2017 - 0 Comments

On February 8th, the OpenFog Consortium released the OpenFog Reference Architecture (RA).  This 162 page document represents more than a year’s work from our global membership of 55 organizations.

The OpenFog RA is a mid-level guidepost document, full of invaluable architecture recommendations for anyone wishing to implement fog components, fog nodes, entire fog networks, or fog-based applications.  It describes in detail several illustrative fog use cases in transportation, smart cities, and visual security. The RA also discusses eight core fog capabilities that we call the Pillars of OpenFog, including Security, Scalability, Openness, Autonomy, Manageability, Agility, Hierarchical organization and Programmability. A detailed architecture stack shows the interrelationships between various hardware, software infrastructure, and application software layers, as well as various cross-cutting concerns—such as security, performance, manageability, analytics and control—that impact the function of all layers.  The document describes the OpenFog RA from several viewpoints (component level, node level, system level, etc.), so readers can select the perspective closest to their interests.  Finally, as security is one of the most complex and critical aspects of IoT systems, a special appendix dives deeply into OpenFog security guidelines.

The OpenFog Reference Architecture describes each element of this architectural framework.

The OpenFog Reference Architecture describes each element of this architectural framework.

The OpenFog RA is the first of a suite of documents planned for publication by the OpenFog Consortium.  Future versions of the RA will include more details on several architectural aspects, and additional use cases.  Other documents will describe how fog works in specific applications or vertical markets, and will provide much more information about the interfaces between RA functions.  While the OpenFog RA is not a standards document, we intend to work with standards development organization partners to develop rigorous, enumerated standards covering many aspects of the OpenFog architecture.

Fog enables services to be distributed closer to things, and anywhere along the continuum between cloud and things.

Fog enables services to be distributed closer to things, and anywhere along the continuum between cloud and things. 

The OpenFog RA provides a key framework for the implementation of fog networks, offering guidelines valuable to key stakeholder groups:

  • For business decision makers—key attributes and economic justifications for fog
  • For technologists—architectural and implementation details
  • For researchers—illustrations of fog-related technical challenges

The OpenFog Reference Architecture is available for free download to anyone who performs a simple registration at the OpenFog web site: https://www.openfogconsortium.org/ra/

If you are interested in participating in shaping the future of fog computing, consider becoming a member of the OpenFog Consortium. And mark your calendar to attend the first Fog World Congress, October 30-November 1 in Santa Clara, California.

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