We were both honored and excited to recently be named by Gartner as a 2019 Cool Vendor in Edge Computing.* We view this recognition as further proof that our approach to edge virtualization is both innovative and useful for a variety of enterprises, including manufacturers, energy producers, retail companies, and more.
There is a lot of noise in the industry right now about edge computing, so what do we think distinguishes ZEDEDA as being particularly “cool”? In our opinion, of course, there are too many things to name — our collective taste in music, our order of Zedi Knights, etc. — so for the purposes of this blog, we’ll just focus on the technological aspects. We believe that there are two main differentiators that set us apart from the pack: 1) the fact that we deliver a virtualization solution that specifically meets the requirements of the edge, and 2) our involvement in and commitment to open source.
Virtualization built for the edge
Virtualization technology isn’t new, and it’s been foundational in both data centers and the cloud for many years. But the virtualization needs of the edge are very different from those of data centers, which is why ZEDEDA takes a different approach instead of just repurposing existing virtualization technology.
Enterprises have several challenges when it comes to IoT projects and edge computing, including:
- How to secure devices when there’s no perimeter to defend
- How to manage different types of devices at IoT scale
- How to manage diverse workloads, including both legacy applications and modern cloud-native applications
Traditional data center virtualization software cannot address these concerns for a variety of reasons. For instance, data centers can rely on both a physical and network perimeter for security, but there’s no such perimeter for edge devices. And with the sheer variety of applications (both existing and new) and hardware at the edge, any virtualization solution must be broadly extensible. When it comes to scale, the number of servers in even the largest data centers looks minuscule compared to the many billions of IoT devices that will soon be connected, making deployment and management a real concern. According to Gartner, it “forecasts that 14.2 billion connected things will be in use in 2019, and that the total will reach 25 billion by 2021, producing immense volume of data.”**
These reasons, among others, are why we developed a virtualization solution for the edge, and this focus is part of what differentiates us from the rest. EVE, the Edge Virtualization Engine that we created and open sourced through the Linux Foundation, takes a zero-trust approach to security, allows enterprises to manage their entire fleet of edge devices through a single dashboard, and supports both legacy and cloud-native application architectures. Ultimately, this provides an edge infrastructure that enables organizations to gain value from their IoT data and do so in a way that is manageable and future-proofed.
Commitment to open source
Open source is part of our DNA at ZEDEDA. As mentioned, we donated our Project EVE technology to the Linux Foundation earlier this year. You may wonder, since EVE was born out of a lot of innovative thinking by industry experts, why did we decide to open source it?
The answer is that we knew the IoT ecosystem needs a standardized, open virtualization solution in order to truly grow and thrive. Without EVE, the edge would become siloed off by vendor lock-in, making it much more difficult for application developers and other technologists to innovate. For example, imagine if every single model of cellphone required its own specialized application design. We wouldn’t see the incredible diversity of phone apps that we have today, because the cost of entry to develop dozens of different app versions for each phone would be too high. But in reality, developers today simply have to ensure that their apps are compatible with both Android and iOS, and then they know that their app will work on the vast majority of phones. By open sourcing EVE, we’re creating a similar paradigm for the edge ecosystem, and we’ve been excited to see other industry leaders like GE, Intel, and OSIsoft get involved.
Our future roadmap
We’re thrilled to be recognized as a Gartner Cool Vendor, but we view it as an exciting milestone, not an endpoint. Our work to create an edge ecosystem that’s secure, easy to manage, agile, scalable, and open continues. We’re going to continue innovating and we hope you’ll come along for the ride.
*Gartner, Cool Vendors in Edge Computing, Thomas Bittman et al., 7 October 2019.
**Gartner Press Release, “Gartner Identifies Top 10 Strategic IoT Technologies and Trends,” November 7, 2018. https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2018-11-07-gartner-identifies-top-10-strategic-iot-technologies-and-trends
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