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A global survey of 1,652 individuals from a broad set of industries and organizations published this week by Eclipse Foundation, a consortium that promotes adoption of open source tools and platforms, shows the level of diversity among edge computing platforms is increasing at a rate that demonstrates the skills of managed service providers (MSPs) will be sorely needed.

The survey finds Linux (43 percent), FreeRTOS (35 percent) and Windows (31 percent) are the dominant operating systems running on the edge. The top public Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud platforms are Amazon AWS (AWS) at 40 percent followed by Microsoft Azure at 31 percent and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) at (26 percent).

IoT middleware is dominated by AWS IoT (35 percent), Microsoft Azure IoT (31 percent), and Google Cloud IoT Platform (30 percent).

The survey also notes over-the-air updates managed via the cloud (48 percent), followed by locally managed over-the-air updates (42 percent) and network cable (38 percent) are the top means for deploying software artifacts on these platforms. Container images (36 percent), native binary (33 percent) and script files (30 percent) are the top edge computing artifacts, while MySQL/MariaDB (31 percent), MongoDB (22 percent) and PostgreSQL (21 percent) are the top three databases.

The most widely employed developer tools are integrated development environments (IDEs) or text editors for the desktop from the Eclipse Foundation (38 percent) and Visual Studio Code (35 percent) from Microsoft. Java (20 percent) is the leading programming language being employed at the edge. In the cloud (24 percent) is the primary language for constrained devices, followed by Python (17 percent), C (20 percent) and Java (19 percent).

More survey results

The survey finds artificial intelligence (30 percent) is the workload organizations plan to deploy on edge computing platforms, followed closely by control logic (29 percent), data exchange between multiple nodes (27 percent) and data aggregation and filtering (27 percent), also known as sensor filtering.

When it comes to building and deploying these applications, the top concerns are security (39 percent), connectivity (27 percent), data collection and analytics (26 percent), performance (24 percent) and privacy (23 percent). Communication security (43 percent), data encryption at rest (41 percent) and JSON web tokens (30 percent) and distributed ledgers (22 percent) are the most widely employed security technologies.

In terms of communications, HTTP/HTTPS (51 percent), MQTT (41 percent) and TCP/IP (33 percent) are most widely employed. The dominant connectivity protocols are Wi-Fi (44 percent) and Ethernet (39 percent), with cellular and Bluetooth tied for third (37 percent).

As far as vertical industry sectors are concerned, agriculture leads the way at 26 percent, followed by industrial automation, education, automotive and connected/smart cities all tied at 21 percent.

Obviously, an internal IT organization could combine multiple tools and platforms to build and deploy an edge computing application. However, the costs of maintaining multiple platforms for different use cases at scale is still prohibitive for most organizations.

Most of those organizations are also not especially enthusiastic about dispatching IT personnel to fix these platforms whenever there is an issue. Especially at a time when most organizations are limiting travel to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. MSPs, of course, may have similar concerns but at least benefit from have the remote monitoring and security technologies needed to securely managed edge computing platforms already in place.

It’s early days as far as adoption of edge computing is concerned but MSPs should not be surprised to wake up one day to discover there are more workloads running at the edge than all the public clouds combined.

Photo: metamorworks / Shutterstock

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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