Key New Usability and Security Features in Major EdgeX V3 Release Help It Stand Out as the Leading Open Source Edge Data Platform
I am delighted to announce the release of the latest and greatest version of EdgeX Foundry the open source edge data platform. Version 3.0 is our most significant upgrade to date and I firmly believe will bring much value to edge solution developers in a variety of industrial sectors.
As the EdgeX TSC chair and product manager of IOTech’s commercial EdgeX-based solutions, I’d like to explain what EdgeX V3 brings and describe how the platform continues to be the key framework upon which companies rely when developing their commercial edge software solutions.
A jump of major version is significant for EdgeX, not only because it indicates a new set of key features for its user base, but also because it shows the mature, yet evolutionary outlook of the base platform and the associated commercial edge products that are available in the ecosystem.
EdgeX Foundry is an open source edge data platform, managed and hosted under the Linux Foundation Edge umbrella. More specifically, EdgeX is a highly flexible and scalable architecture that allows easy interoperability between edge devices and applications. It is made possible thanks to an ecosystem of community collaborators (including Intel, IOTech, Canonical, Eaton, Beechwoods and many others) representing a variety of industries.
To help in its identification, each release of EdgeX is provided a codename based on a geographical location. The previous version was named Levski (located in Bulgaria). The next stopping point on our virtual world tour is Minnesota! Aptly named, in part for being a key industrial center of the United States, EdgeX Minnesota helps to further serve the needs of OT/IT integration at the edge.
The major jump in version number lets us make more significant updates to the framework and allows us the freedom to make changes that are otherwise prohibited by our minor version compatibility rules. Of course, we try to be backwards compatible where possible, but after two years of V2 minor releases, there are some key updates and usability benefits we can now bring in…
Easier, Common Configuration
The main theme of Minnesota is usability. In particular, the way the user configures EdgeX has been much simplified and improved. Version 3.0 of EdgeX introduces a common configuration pattern for the EdgeX microservices. Since many config options (logging, telemetry, security, database and message bus settings) apply across multiple microservices, we’ve added the ability to configure these in a single common location. Some microservices are likely to have common config requirements, e.g., the southbound device services or northbound application services, so we’ve provided a layered design where users can configure settings at their chosen level.
This will save developers and deployers of EdgeX systems a lot of time and reduce maintenance effort. It will be much easier to make config changes, rerun the system and be confident that the settings have all taken effect appropriately. Take a look at the latest EdgeX docs for the details.
Reduced Config Formats
The jump in major version has also allowed us to reduce the number of different config file formats in EdgeX. Removing TOML and using only YAML and JSON going forward helps reduce what a new user has to learn. YAML and JSON can be derived from each other, so we let users pick their favorite and work with that. Again, usage of the platform becomes easier and more maintainable.
Another big feature for 3.0 is the addition of microservice authentication within EdgeX. When run in secure mode, the microservices now require a validated authentication token before they are allowed to communicate. Thanks to the efforts of the EdgeX Security Working Group, this is all built into the platform with tokens issued by the Secret Store service. The security advancements here also allow version 3 to switch to a much lighter-weight API Gateway service than was used previously, which helps a lot with our ongoing effort to minimize the footprint of the platform.
Other V3 Updates
Of course, we also have V3 versions of the EdgeX APIs. We do have some minor changes there including updates to help with the automatic discovery of devices, but the APIs are mature so there aren’t the major updates we had with the previous major jump. You can check out the full set of changes in the EdgeX V3 migration guide. Full release notes are here.
Using EdgeX V3 and Joining in
We’re expecting that the next version after this (3.1 or Napa) planned for Q4 this year, will become the new Long Term Support (LTS) version of EdgeX. Those users wishing to jump from the previous LTS (2.1 or Jakarta) should start to become familiar with the new features. There are some breaking changes, so we encourage you to start to get to know V3 sooner rather than later. The features put into EdgeX Minnesota will serve as the basis for other features for the next few years. For example, using URLs to point to configuration and profiles that could come from anywhere and be shared is only possible because of the common configuration feature added now.