NetFoundry Launch Cloud-orchestrated, Zero Trust, Edge Embedded Networking

By Arti Loftus, Special Correspondent  |  March 10, 2020

According to Gartner (News - Alert), by 2025, at least 75% of enterprise-generated data will be produced and processed at the edge, compared to just 10% today.

Optimization of information, cost reduction, and improved business performance needs are driving awareness within enterprises as the data being produced steadily increases, and companies become more distributed. With vast amounts of data being generated by the Internet of Things (IoT), the sheer number of mobile devices, and the demand for real-time analysis, to name a few, the edge has become critical. The growth in data is driving the requirement for more compute power and storage capabilities that are closer to the users and devices, and this, in turn, is calling for the data to be managed more efficiently.

North Carolina-based, NetFoundry, a leader in programmable cloud-based zero-trust networking, aims to support industries ranging from retail to manufacturing in leveraging IoT, Machine Learning (ML), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to securely, optimize asset management, energy reduction, warehouse automation, surveillance, predictive maintenance, and voice and video recognition, as they announce the launch of edge-embedded, zero-trust networking to their platform. 

A combination of improved edge compute and networking, i.e., improved WiFi (News - Alert) and private 5G with edge compute, IoT, ML, and AI, will enable enterprises to benefit from cost savings: 

  • predictive maintenance
  • asset management
  • energy reduction
  • warehouse automation and surveillance
  • real-time voice interaction systems

AL and ML will allow improvements and innovation, such as:

  • real-time voice interaction systems
  • AIoT video inferencing
  • autonomous vehicles
  • metro-scale IoT
  • Augmented Reality (AR)

With all of these solutions requiring some of the workloads to be processed at the edge.

“IT moved from private data centers to cloud in order to most effectively operate. So how can we expect a retailer to effectively manage hundreds of private data centers for edge compute and IoT in their stores? We need to enable them to leverage the cloud paradigm at the edge. This includes providing cloud-orchestrated agility and secure-by-design networking.” Says, Galeal Zino, Founder & CEO of NetFoundry.

NetFoundry, along with its ecosystem partners, including SuperMicro, IMS Evolve, Micron, and NodeWeaver, are enabling businesses to simply and securely manage edge computing and IoT. NetFoundry’s edge compute embedded, secure, low latency networking enables the cloud-orchestrated networking of distributed applications.

“For IMS, working with the NetFoundry networking platform is highly attractive to help us best serve edge compute customers.” Says, Paul Edrich, CTO of IMS Evolve. “We have been working to embed our IoT Edge solution with NetFoundry SDKs so that we can enable customers to meet their edge compute goals without the hassle of deploying VPNs, firewalls, or proprietary hardware. In fact, we can jointly be deployed as part of a golden image on any IoT or edge device. This means we can provide our customer with a turn-key, zero-trust networking solution which is secure, scalable, and future-proof.”

NetFoundry’s zero-trust networking is embedded within applications via SDKs, IoT devices through SDKs or thin clients, mobile with mobile apps or SDKs, and edge compute via NetFoundry’s containers or virtual machines (VMs). This enables NetFoundry and its partners to offer a critical part of the solution - potent edge compute with embedded, cloud-orchestrated, zero-trust, low latency networking.

Zero trust networking existing embedded in the apps, devices, and edge compute, saves companies from having to purchase and manage extra servers. Edge and IoT data that is being exchanged with cloud, SaaS (News - Alert), and supply chain partners no longer need to be backhauled to enterprise sites over expensive and performance impairing VPNs, private APNs, or MPLS circuits.

Instead of businesses spending time and resources to build private data center architectures at all of their edges or sites, the company gets cloud agility and automation at all of their edges. All developers and partners can easily customize and collaborate on solutions since NetFoundry’s services are built on their open-source Ziti Platform.

We sat down with Galeal Zino, Founder & CEO of NetFoundry, who answered a few questions for us on the latest announcement, the current state of edge computing and its adoption within businesses.

What is NetFoundry technology doing that is unique to any other technology vendors in the edge computing space?

NetFoundry software integrates with other software to be an overall platform for edge compute and networking rather than an island networking router which can’t work as a part of the overall solution to best deliver and manage edge compute and IoT applications. This software-only, integrated platform enables simpler, more agile edge compute deployments and enables the identities and contexts of edge and IoT applications to control networking with code instead of configuration.

 What is typically holding businesses back from embracing edge computing?

Private data centers are difficult. Hence, the cloud explosion. Edges are like private data centers but in even more difficult locations. For edge to develop, and it will, we need a platform approach for cloud-like agility, automation, and control. We need to cloud-ify the edge.

What edge-compute retail and manufacturing deployments does NetFoundry currently have in development? What is a typical business case?

We have retail and manufacturing solutions in production customer environments. Those cases were driven by the need for a combination of security, performance, and agility. NetFoundry’s endpoints provided these customers with end-to-end security and performance (both zero-install endpoints (the IoT app using the Ziti SDKs) and software-only endpoints (our software on mobile and edge compute)), while our NaaS services provided the simplicity and agility.

Why is Zero-Trust so important when it comes to edge networking? What are the main security concerns for edge computing?

IoT and edge compute need to talk (connect) to other networks such as clouds, private enterprise networks, and supply chain partners. Securely connecting all of these environments such that each is still isolated and protected from vulnerabilities or breaches in the other environments is a top concern.  Since there are different networks and clouds, often managed by different entities, it requires a zero-trust networking platform meeting three key set of requirements, which we believe NetFoundry is the first to meet all 3: (1) zero-trust networking, and (2) that zero-trust networking has to be embeddable in everything from applications to devices to clouds and finally (3) the networking solution needs to be cloud-orchestrated and have the APIs to be integrated in a comprehensive security approach.  

What are the priority business drivers and benefits of edge computing?

One reason why NetFoundry invested so heavily in building a platform approach to edge compute networking and integrating with leading-edge and IoT ecosystem partners is there are very compelling business drivers for edge compute - on both the revenue side and the cost side. On the cost side, being able to do things like predictive maintenance, inventory management, and energy minimization has simple, powerful business cases. On the revenue side, connected supply chain, just in time manufacturing and improved customer interaction (e.g., voice and video recognition systems with edge compute video inferencing), have strong business cases.

What is the fabric of your partner ecosystem? Who are your key partners, and how does it work from a revenue perspective?

As cloud-native networking software and SDKs, we fit nicely into the edge compute and IoT ecosystem.  For example, edge solutions based on platforms ranging from edge optimized Kubernetes solutions to Google (News - Alert) Anthos Edge to Azure Stack Edge to AWS Greengrass to just running Linux with KVM all easily integrate with NetFoundry via our cloud orchestrated containers and VMs. Systems integrators and Managed Service Providers use both our NaaS services and our open-source software (Ziti).  We have announced partnerships with edge and IoT ecosystem leaders, including Intel, Dell (News - Alert), IMS Evolve, Supermicro, Micron, EdgeConneX, and NodeWeaver. We are a founding member of the Linux Foundation’s EdgeXFoundry, are a CNCF member, and are a Kinetic Edge Alliance member.

Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.
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