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By | November 15, 2023

Edgex Foundry Announce the New Long-Term Support (Lts) Release of Its Open-Source Edge Data Platform

By James Butcher, EdgeX Foundry Technical Steering Committee Chairman and IOTech Systems Product Manager

I am delighted to announce the release of EdgeX Foundry version 3.1 codenamed “Napa”. This latest release marks the community’s new long-term support (LTS) version of EdgeX and the first LTS version of the EdgeX 3 series, emphasizing enhanced usability and platform configuration.

With dual roles in the EdgeX ecosystem – the chairman of the EdgeX Technical Steering Committee (TSC) and the Product Manager of IOTech’s commercial EdgeX-based solutions, I’d like to provide more insight into what EdgeX 3.1 brings to our global community of adopters and edge solution providers.

Reminder – What is EdgeX?

First, let me summarize what EdgeX is and its importance in the edge computing market.

EdgeX Foundry is an open and flexible edge data platform that adopters use to help simplify the integration of devices, sensors and applications at the edge. It operates as an open-source framework with Apache 2.0 licensing and is managed by the Linux Foundation. The openness of EdgeX Foundry helps to prevent lock-in to single providers of hardware, devices, analytics packages and cloud operations. I believe it has become the world’s most deployed open-source edge framework due to its technical capability, performance and our vendor-neutral ethos and governance. Senior software leaders from companies including Intel, IOTech, Canonical, Eaton and Oracle, all contribute to the EdgeX TSC and play a vital role in its development.

The Napa Release

Since we initiated the project in 2017, each EdgeX release has been assigned a codename based on a geographic region around the world. After Minnesota in the last release, we remain in the United States but move over to California and the Napa Valley. Special thanks to Ernesto Ojeda of Intel (who heads up our EdgeX DevOps work) for choosing the name. I’d argue that we can associate the refinement and beauty of the Napa region with the quality of this latest EdgeX LTS release! Although I haven’t visited the area yet, touring some of those wineries is definitely on my bucket list.

Long-Term Support

As mentioned earlier, this version of EdgeX marks our latest long-term supported release, but what does that mean? Essentially, our development community commits to supporting this release for a period of two years, addressing any major flaws or bugs that may arise during that time. See our documented LTS policy for full details of what is supported in Napa.

It’s important to note that we deliberately run the LTS from this stabilization release of EdgeX V3. We have addressed any issues that surfaced since V3 was launched and so believe this is a strong and stable version on which to offer maintenance for the next two years.

Note also that the support offered here is on a best-effort community basis and all fixes will be at the discretion of the EdgeX TSC. For full technical support guarantees, commercial EdgeX products are available, as mentioned earlier, from companies such as my own, IOTech.

New Features

As this is a stabilization release, we were careful to not introduce wholesale changes from the previous V3 version. However, we have still added some nice new features that adopters can benefit from:

  • URI for Files – We have added support for users to load the various EdgeX configuration files from a specified remote location via a URI. This means that files such as EdgeX device profiles, device definitions, provision watchers, unit of measurement, and others, can all be held in one single location and passed to the platform, rather than users needing to duplicate and have multiple sources of the same configuration. This helps make things more maintainable and reduces scope for deployment errors
  • Common Configuration for all services – One of the significant additions in V3 was a pattern for configuring services in a minimal and more consistent way. We didn’t have time to implement this for the C Services last time, but we have done that now which means that all EdgeX services can be configured using this more convenient approach
  • Overhaul of the product documentation – To ensure the provision of a stable, LTS version of EdgeX, we decided it was time to make a comprehensive review of our documentation set. Several years of development led to different services being described in various ways which could make it confusing for new users. We have addressed that now with the documentation for each EdgeX service now structured in a clean and consistent way. Thanks to everyone involved in this big undertaking
  • Core Data Retention – We now provide a retention capability for our Core Data service that enables it to behave more like a configurable cache. Users can configure how many readings should be held making your data access and storage both safer and more predictable
  • Record and Replay Service – We have also introduced a new service to the framework that is able to subscribe to all of the internal EdgeX message bus events, and optionally push them back to the message bus at a later date. This functionality allows users to effectively “record” all EdgeX activity and then “replay” it. We find this feature especially useful in testing different scenarios, particularly without always needing real physical devices to be creating data to ingest. You can simulate or replay different scenarios using this new service.

The full release notes and changelogs for EdgeX Napa are here.

Upgrading to EdgeX 3.1

The previous LTS version (2.1 or Jakarta) is no longer supported at this point, so we encourage users to begin switching over to 3.1 as soon as possible. Users already working with EdgeX 3.0 should find the upgrade process to 3.1 very straightforward, but it’s always good to make the switch and stay on the current versions whenever possible.

Huge thanks again to everyone involved in our fantastic community. I’m very proud of the work we’ve done in producing this latest version.

However EdgeX also continues to evolve, with planning for the next release (named Odessa) already underway. Please join us for the planning meetings that are being held online between December 4th and 6th. The meetings are always and open and available to all. Find all the details and meeting links etc on our Odessa Planning Conference page.