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By | June 30, 2020

LF Edge Member Spotlight: Section

The LF Edge community is comprised of a diverse set of member companies that represent the IoT, Enterprise, Cloud and Telco Edge. The Member Spotlight blog series highlights these members and how they are contributing to and leveraging open source edge solutions. Today, we sat down with Molly Wojcik, Director of Education & Awareness for Section, to discuss the importance of open source, their drive to standardize and accelerate the edge, how they contribute to the State of the Edge project and the impact of being a member of the LF Edge community.

Can you tell us a little about your organization?

Section is all about empowering developers to be the heroes in edge computing innovation by giving them control and flexibility to run any workload along the edge continuum to meet the specific needs of their application. Users can deploy their own custom workloads (containers/serverless) or leverage best-of-breed software available in Section’s edge module marketplace. Solutions include web application firewalls (WAFs), bot management, image optimization, A/B & multivariate testing, virtual waiting room, and many more.

Section was founded in Sydney, Australia in 2012. Headquarters are now in Colorado, and the Section team spans across the U.S., Australia, and Europe. Section has been recognized by industry analysts and peers as a leader in the edge compute landscape and is backed by a group of top-shelf venture capital firms, led by The Foundry Group. 

Our platform significantly reduces cost and complexity for web engineers seeking to capitalize on the benefits of the edge for their application. Docker-powered and Kubernetes-orchestrated, the Section platform optimizes edge workload distribution, scalability, traffic routing, diagnostics, and more, to allow engineers to focus on their core application functionality while meeting performance, security, and scalability goals.

Why is your organization adopting an open source approach?

From day one, we have stuck by three guiding principles: open, control, and easy. We believe the framework we provide (and the edge) should be open. Engineers should have tangible control over that edge, and we should make it easy for them to use.

The key challenges of the edge are industry-wide and user-specific. Developing a truly successful edge fabric to meet the needs of tomorrow’s Internet will be dependent on certain levels of cooperation and standardization. The closed networks of proprietary software, such as legacy CDNs, which served the Internet from 2000 until today, aren’t capable of solving the hundreds of thousands of edge locations and truly custom workloads that engineers will need to run in those locations. Work underway by collaborative open standards bodies, such as LF Edge, the Open Networking Foundation and Multi-access Edge Computing are meeting this challenge head-on to build a truly successful edge fabric.

Why did you join LF Edge and what sort of impact do you think LF Edge has on the edge, networking, and IoT industries?

In line with our drive to standardize and accelerate the edge, we were excited to join LF Edge and become part of this community-forged movement, working to move edge computing forward and build an open-source software stack. We believe that LF Edge will play a similar pivotal role in advancing the edge computing ecosystem as the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) has done in advancing the microservices ecosystem.

What do you see as the top benefits of being part of the LF Edge community?

One of the top benefits for us is the opportunity to participate in a community alongside other vendors, developers, OEMs and infrastructure providers, working together to develop a common set of standards and achieve wider interoperability. At this point in the evolution of edge computing, we still struggle with shared definitions, and LF Edge has been working tirelessly since its start to create an open and standard framework for the technology, which industry leaders can coalesce around.

What sort of contributions has your team made to the community, ecosystem through LF Edge participation?

The edge ecosystem is extremely diverse, and where some may specialize in IoT or the device/user edge, our focus tends to lean more heavily on the infrastructure/service provider edge. Lending our experience and perspective alongside contributions from the larger LF Edge community helps bridge gaps to provide a more comprehensive understanding of edge challenges and solutions.

On a more personal level, I have recently taken on the role of Chair of the State of the Edge Landscape Working Group. The LF Edge Interactive Landscape uses the CNCF’s Interactive Landscape as a guide and framework, intending for it to play a similar role in the edge community as a go-to resource. The interactive map categorizes LF Edge projects, in addition to edge-related organizations and technologies, to offer a comprehensive overview of the edge ecosystem. It is dynamically generated from data maintained in a community-supported GitHub account.

I’ve been involved as an active contributor and facilitator within the Landscape working group since its beginnings with LF Edge in early 2019. With a better together approach, I believe that building community is fundamental to advancing the edge ecosystem, so becoming Chair of the Edge Landscape Working Groups represents an ideal opportunity to play a central part in building this important shared resource.

What do you think sets LF Edge apart from other industry alliances?

The fact that LF Edge is an umbrella organization independent of hardware, silicon, cloud or OS, not working to build leads, but rather to align and educate, is refreshing. Its neutrality allows many diverse community members to participate in its mission, from enterprise to journalists to non-profits. This in turn is enabling LF Edge to ask the big questions and be unafraid to explore how edge computing will transform the Internet.

How will  LF Edge help your business?

Section aims to provide unmatched flexibility for developers to customize, deploy, and optimize workloads for their unique application architecture. We want to empower developers to be able to choose their software, the number of endpoints, and where the application edge should live. We were the first within the edge platform space to offer full integration with agile development workflows. We thrive on being part of LF Edge, helping build awareness of developer and engineer needs at the edge. LF Edge represents the opportunity for us to help build a shared vocabulary and vision for edge computing, that equally works towards our mission of empowering application engineers to run any workload, anywhere. 

What advice would you give to someone considering joining LF Edge?

As with any community, you only get out what you put it. If you’re looking to broaden and deepen your connections, knowledge, and contributions to really drive edge computing forward, LF Edge provides a lot of different opportunities to give and get.

To find out more about our members or how to join LF Edge, click here. To learn more about the Edge Computing Landscape, click here.

Additionally, if you have questions or comments, visit the  LF Edge Slack Channel and share your thoughts in the #community or #stateoftheedge-landscape channels.