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By | March 24, 2020

LF Edge Member Spotlight: Vapor IO

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 Matt Trifiro, CMO of Vapor IO and Open Glossary of Edge Computing TSC Chair, to discuss the importance of open source, the “Third Act of the Internet,” how they contribute to the Open Glossary project and the impact of being a member of the LF Edge community.

Can you tell us a little about your organization?

Vapor IO builds and deploys data center and networking infrastructure to support edge computing and 5G. Our main product is the Kinetic Edge, which is a nationwide platform for edge colocation, edge networking and edge traffic exchange. We deploy our facilities on the infrastructure edge, in close proximity to the last mile networks. Our customers are the large cloud providers, CDNs, web-scale companies, streaming game providers, and other organizations building low-latency applications. We are Austin-based, but distributed all over the US. Our Kinetic Edge platform is live in four cities (Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Pittsburgh) and we have 16 additional US cities under construction. We expect to deploy the Kinetic Edge to the top 36 US metro areas by the end of 2021, giving us a reach that exceeds 75 percent of the US population.

Why is your organization adopting an open source approach?

Open source allows a community, often one comprised of competitors, to pool their resources and build a common platform upon which differentiated businesses can be built. By collaborating on shared projects, we collectively accelerate entire markets. This lets companies focus on their unique strengths while not wasting effort competing on common building blocks. Everybody wins. We currently lead two active open source projects:

  • Open Glossary of Edge Computing (an LF Edge project), a Wikipedia-style community-driven glossary of terms relevant to edge computing.
  • Synse, a simple, scalable API for sensing and controlling data center equipment.

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

We believe edge computing will create a massive restructuring of the Internet, what State of the Edge 2020 report calls the “Third Act of the Internet.” We joined LF Edge to help accelerate the rearchitecture of the Internet to support this Third Act. This transformation will impact the entire world and it will require many companies to collaborate on large, multi-decade initiatives. The Linux Foundation has a track record of good stewardship of open source communities and we felt LF Edge had the right mix of focus and neutrality to make it possible.

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

By being part of the LF Edge community, we get to help drive one of the most fundamental Internet transformations of our lifetime, something that will impact the entire world. LF Edge brings together diverse viewpoints and ensures projects advance based on their merit—and not the power or money behind the contributing companies. This creates a level playing field that advances the entire industry.

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

Our main contributions to LF Edge have been twofold:

  1. We chair the Open Glossary of Edge Computing, a founding LF Edge project. This project has been helping to shape the overall LF Edge narrative by creating a shared vocabulary that all LF Edge projects can align around.
  2. We are very active in the LF Edge community. Our CEO, Cole Crawford, is now serving his second term as a member of the LF Edge Governing Board.

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

Many industry alliances suffer from a “pay for play” approach, where those who pay the most get the most influence. The Linux Foundation has managed to navigate these waters deftly. They have successfully attracted deep-pocket funders while maintaining a level playing field and aggressively including smaller companies and individuals who help advance the projects in ways that don’t involve direct financial contributions. This gives the LF Edge a lot more “staying power,” as it truly serves the broad community and not just the goals of the largest companies. 

How will  LF Edge help your business?

The LF Edge community gives us access to the best technologies and thought leadership in edge computing. LF Edge helps us stay up to date on the industry and align our business with the community’s needs. By paying attention to what kinds of edge infrastructure LF Edge projects require, we are able to fine-tune our Kinetic Edge offering in a way that will support the next generation of edge native and edge enhanced applications.

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

If you’re looking for a place to start, pick a project in the LF Edge portfolio where you can make the most impact. Become a contributor and get to know the committers and technical leadership. LF projects are meritocracy based, so the more active you are and the more value you contributed, the more recognition and influence you will get within the community. This is one of the best ways to start.

To learn more about Open Glossary of Edge Computing, click here. To find out more about our members or how to join LF Edge, click here.

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