Edge computing platforms help you maximize the power of edge computing to enable data processing at distributed locations and on remote devices. This ensures ultra-low latency, lower cloud costs, and better performance for IoT systems. This article discusses the top 10 platforms you can leverage to achieve these benefits.
Table of Contents
5 Key Features of an Edge Computing Platform
Edge computing is a distributed computing system that allows data to be processed closer to its origin instead of having to transfer it to a centralized cloud or data center.
Edge computing speeds up analysis by reducing the latency time involved in moving data back and forth. It also eases pressure on the cloud and data center systems, as they no longer have to support data sources and devices outside the immediate enterprise perimeter, in addition to the directly connected environment. Edge computing is beneficial for internet of things (IoT) use cases as IoT devices are typically wireless and situated in remote locations.
An edge computing platform drives edge computing by:
- Enabling real-time data processing away from the central cloud or data center.
- Caching, buffering, and optimizing the data close to the edge device or IoT system.
- Transforming the data received by edge devices and IoT into a format that can be processed for analysis.
According to the 2021 State of the Edge report by the Linux Foundation, edge deployments will increase by 40% between 2019 and 2028 to keep up with enterprise needs. An edge computing platform helps orchestrate these deployments by enabling app services for the edge, secure access, and intuitive infrastructure provisioning without communicating with a central cloud.
The key features of an edge computing platform include the following:
1. Edge application support
Applications have to be specifically designed to run on the edge. You might want to port existing applications from the cloud to edge environments, or you might want to develop edge native applications. The platform you choose should come with its development suite. It may also integrate with third-party services for app delivery through application programming interfaces (APIs).
2. Analytics insights
Since edge endpoints are distributed in nature, it can be challenging to maintain control and visibility over time. Therefore, the platform must include an analytics dashboard to monitor all edge devices in your IT environment and use telemetry to collect data from remote locations. Typically, edge computing platforms will have a central hub to maintain the observability of key metrics.
3. Cloud to edge infrastructure
Most enterprises do not run fully greenfield edge deployment. Instead, the edge environment acts as an extension to the primary cloud and can often unlock cost efficiencies by offloading workloads from the cloud to the edge. The platform you choose should streamline cloud to edge provisioning, ideally through infrastructure as code techniques to drive consistency automation.
4. Edge security
Security is a significant concern at the edge as data processing happens in a location far away from the central IT team. That’s why your edge computing platform should have built-in security protocols that you can enforce to manage edge network access and govern data flow between edge devices. The platform may also integrate third-party security services and security monitoring tools.
5. IoT enablement
IoT is the primary use case for edge computing in enterprise environments. Edge platforms allow IoT devices to process data and carry out automated actions locally without losing any latency time. Therefore, it is advisable to look for specific IoT enablement features, such as an IoT marketplace, containerization tools, and prior experience in IoT deployments.
Top 10 Edge Computing Platforms in 2022
Edge computing platforms can be deployed for a wide range of use cases, from clinical decision-making on healthcare wearables to industrial environments like manufacturing, telecom, and mining. They can either be paid or open-source, and your selection should depend on the unique development needs of your organization. Here are our top 10 recommendations for edge computing platforms, arranged in alphabetical order.
Disclaimer: This list is based on publicly available information and may include vendor websites that sell to mid-to-large enterprises. Readers are advised to conduct their final research to ensure the best fit for their unique organizational needs.
1. Alef Private Edge Platform
Overview: Alef is a New York-based edge computing company founded in 2009. It provides edge connectivity products for industrial sectors and healthcare, education, and governments.
Features: The key features of Alef Private Edge Platform include:
- Edge application support: The architecture enables private mobile networks on edge with APIs for a versatile range of applications.
- Analytics insights: You can manage the environment from a centralized platform and view operational analytics.
- Cloud to edge infrastructure: Alef makes it easier to deploy edge infrastructure from the cloud without any knowledge of 3GPP standards.
- Edge security: You can maintain granular network access control to reduce the risk of exposure.
- IoT enablement: Alef powers a combination of 5G and edge network connectivity, ideal for running IoT devices.
USP: Alef has a large community of developers due to its open ecosystem and sandbox environment. This means you can benefit from peer support and gain learnings and inspiration.
Pricing: Solution components are priced individually, starting from $0.25 per 1000 logins.
Editorial comments: Platforms like Alef help enterprises gain from the world’s growing 5G infrastructure. But its use cases are limited and may not apply to enterprises outside of the telecom and managed services sector.
2. Azure IoT Edge
Overview: Azure IoT Edge is part of Microsoft’s intelligent cloud-to-edge computing solutions suite. It primarily addresses IoT use cases.
Features: The key features of Azure IoT Edge include:
- Edge application support: You can offload workloads to the edge and use AI for edge decision making.
- Analytics insights: The Microsoft Azure Admin Center provides you with detailed insights on Edge operations.
- Cloud to edge infrastructure: You can gain from Azure’s IoT Hub, which supports zero-touch device and infrastructure provisioning.
- Edge security: Edge devices can be remotely monitored, and the platform is integrated with Azure Defender for IoT.
- IoT enablement: The platform is purpose-built for IoT applications and can be leveraged alongside Azure Stream Analytics, containers, and certified IoT hardware.
USP: Azure IoT Edge is supported by Microsoft’s deep research into the cloud, artificial intelligence, IoT, and edge computing. As a result, you can deploy a full-stack solution with a single platform.
Pricing: Solution components are individually priced, starting at $25 for every 4,00,000 messages sent per day by each edge unit.
Editorial comments: For companies already using Azure infrastructure, the Azure IoT Edge platform is a practical choice. This platform also supports the Apple ecosystem, but interoperability between Mac and Windows is complex, and ROI can be slow for new Azure customers.
Overview: ClearBlade is an Austin-based company founded in 2007. It provides edge computing software for scalable IoT applications in industrial environments.
Features: The key features of ClearBlade include:
- Edge application support: You can leverage data, messaging, code, triggers, portals, and other connectors to run applications on edge.
- Analytics insights: You can easily filter and stream data at the edge and obtain insights from the centralized edge platform.
- Cloud to edge infrastructure: ClearBlade supports code portability, which can be developed in the cloud and pushed to the edge or implemented at the edge itself.
- Edge security: Edge access is secured through multiple encryption, authentication, and authorization layers.
- IoT enablement: ClearBlade is compatible with most IoT systems, devices, and protocols (ZigBee, BlueTooth, ZeroMQ, etc.)
USP: ClearBlade has very strong integration capabilities and is one of the few edge computing platforms that support deployment via a standard software stack. This reduces the time and effort needed for implementation.
Pricing: Pricing for ClearBlade is undisclosed, but you can gain from a free trial.
Editorial comments: ClearBlade is designed for IoT use cases, particularly for asset management, making it a good fit for industrial companies. But its no code architecture may limit configurability.
4. Eclipse ioFog
Overview: Eclipse is an integrated development environment built by the Eclipse Foundation, backed by IBM. Eclipse ioFog is the organization’s open-source edge computing platform.
Features: The key features of Eclipse ioFog include:
- Edge application support: It runs an agent on each edge device so you can execute applications through a microservices architecture.
- Analytics insights: The Controller hub provides you with remote visibility and analytics insights.
- Cloud to edge infrastructure: You can link cloud infrastructure to the edge through built-in connectors.
- Edge security: Eclipse ioFog has an open architecture, which means you can connect it with third-party security services.
- IoT enablement: Eclipse ioFog can be adapted to various use cases, including IoT, through Kubernetes development.
USP: Eclipse ioFog is one of the very few edge computing platforms you can use for free, without any deployment hassles or compromise on performance. This makes it accessible to everyone.
Pricing: It is a free, open-source solution.
Editorial comments: Teams who require reliable microservice capabilities at the edge can trust Eclipse ioFog, given that industry leader Edgeworx backs it. However, updates may be a little irregular, given that it is open-source and was last updated in June of 2020.
5. ESF Edge Computing Platform
Overview: Everyware Software Framework (ESF) is an enterprise-grade IoT edge framework by Italian software company Eurotech. It is primarily meant for software vendors and developers.
Features: The key features of ESF Edge Computing Platform include:
- Edge application support: You can develop and manage IoT edge computing applications through a programming tool called Wires.
- Analytics insights: You can monitor application and device performance from a centralized dashboard.
- Cloud to edge infrastructure: ESF supports cloud resource provisioning from multiple vendors such as Eurotech Everyware Cloud, Microsoft Azure IoT Hub, and Amazon AWS IoT.
- Edge security: It generates detailed telemetry data and lets you control message exchanges by enforcing message routing rules.
- IoT enablement: ESF connects with the Eclipse Marketplace for IoT to streamline IoT implementation.
USP: The ESF Edge Computing Platform has a robust application development suite that supports the protocols needed for field devices and popular industrial IoT components. This makes it secure and compliant right out of the box.
Pricing: The ESF Edge Computing Platform is custom priced, with no pricing information disclosed.
Editorial comments: The platform has an elegant architecture that works with most public clouds, device variants, IoT protocols, and application types. But the user interface (UI) is slightly complex and involves a difficult learning curve.
6. Google Distributed Cloud Edge
Overview: Google Distributed Cloud Edge was launched in October 2021, as part of the Google Distributed Cloud suite of hardware and software solutions. It equips enterprises and communication service providers to deliver edge-enabled apps.
Features: The key features of Google Distributed Cloud Edge include:
- Edge application support: You can use the cloud-backed control plane powered by Anthos to manage application experiences.
- Analytics insights: Google’s AI, data analytics, and databases solutions enable edge observability and help gather data insights.
- Cloud to edge infrastructure: You can easily migrate from on-premise to cloud and the edge using Google Cloud infrastructure services.
- Edge security: It is compliant with security and privacy requirements and can further integrate with third-party security providers.
- IoT enablement: You can leverage containers and serverless architecture to run IoT applications.
USP: You can choose to run the edge computing platform without connecting to Google Cloud at any time, which helps maintain autonomy, control, and sovereignty over data. This ease implementation for sectors dealing with sensitive data like healthcare and financial services.
Pricing: Pricing is undisclosed in the preview stage, but you can get started with $300 in free credits.
Editorial comments: Google’s new solution is ideal for local data processing at industrial hubs and virtually any low-latency edge compute workload. However, it is still in the rollout phase and has partnered with only two 5G providers to date (Ericsson and Nokia), which could limit its benefits.
7. HPE Edgeline
Overview: Edgeline is a converged edge system solution by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). Apart from the edge computing platform, it includes edge hardware systems and application services.
Features: The key features of HPE Edgeline include:
- Edge application support: HPE Pointnext provides bespoke field application engineering services to help build IoT apps for Edgeline environments.
- Analytics insights: The HPE Edgeline OT Link Platform connects operational technologies at the edge to deliver rich data insights.
- Cloud to edge infrastructure: It is based on an open platform, making it possible to connect and provide a broad ecosystem of cloud resources.
- Edge security: The HPE Edgeline systems management module lets you monitor the environment to drive reliability and security.
- IoT enablement: HPE supports IoT application development, and you can also integrate third-party IoT services and protocols.
USP: In addition to the core software platform, HPE provides a converged operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) unit inside a ruggedized chassis. This makes it uniquely suitable for industrial environments.
Pricing: Pricing starts at $2,500.
Editorial comments: HPE is a leading hardware and software provider. Edgeline brings together these capabilities to deliver a holistic solution. However, since it is a converged system, storage is limited to onboard memory and will add to your hardware costs.
8. Infiot ZETO
Overview: Founded in 2018, Infiot is a remote connectivity company based in India and the U.S. It specializes in cloud-native edge solutions and networks.
Features: The key features of Infiot ZETO include:
- Edge application support: It delivers an assured app experience with business policies for over 100,000 applications and web URLs.
- Analytics insights: The edge intelligence module drives control, visibility, and granular data insights.
- Cloud to edge infrastructure: You can leverage one-click provisioning and open standards-based automation to move from the cloud to the edge.
- Edge security: Infiot’s zero-trust security service restricts edge network access and enables group-based user management.
- IoT enablement: Infiot partners with IoT services like AWS Greengrass and Azure IoT Hub to help orchestrate IoT implementations on edge.
USP: Infiot ZETO has powerful AIOps capabilities. This lets you centrally manage millions of endpoints without manual intervention while minimizing downtime.
Pricing: Since Infiot emerged from stealth in 2020, pricing is yet to be disclosed. However, the platform is available as an affordable SaaS service.
Editorial comments: Infiot ZETO aims to build a borderless enterprise by bundling application experiences, security, edge intelligence, and AIOps in one SaaS solution. But the documentation is lacking, and UI navigation can be confusing, according to some customers.
9. Mutable Public Edge Cloud
Overview: Founded in 2015, Mutable uses edge architecture to power a very low latency connectivity environment. It raised $1.5 million in 2020 to develop its edge computing platform further.
Features: The key features of Mutable Public Edge Cloud include:
- Edge application support: It enables a remote container for automated application testing and deployment to power CI/CD pipelines.
- Analytics insights: The Mutable OS provides you with complete visibility into multiple data centers, containers, and infrastructure components.
- Cloud to edge infrastructure: Mutable has a Kubernetes platform for application development using cloud resources, followed by seamless delivery to the edge.
- Edge security: It uses WireGuard mesh to securely transport data between servers and for secure communication between containers.
- IoT enablement: The low latency edge environment is ideal for IoT use cases like smart cities, autonomous vehicles, and industrial IoT.
USP: Mutable Public Edge Cloud is built on the NixOS (an open-source Linux-based operating system). This enables easy integration with third-party services.
Pricing: Pricing for Mutable is yet to be disclosed.
Editorial comments: Mutable could provide enterprises with low latency edge networks, useful for telecom companies and data center operators. But it is meant only for the public cloud, which may conflict with the data security requirements of industries like healthcare and the public sector.
10. Vapor IO Kinetic Grid
Overview: Founded in 2015, Vapor IO is an IT and data center solutions company in Austin, Texas. It launched the edge-to-edge Kinetic Grid platform in June 2021.
Features: The key features of Vapor IO Kinetic Grid include:
- Edge application support: The platform has a robust API library for programmatic application delivery.
- Analytics insights: The edge-to-edge intelligence module drives real-time telemetry and observability through contextualized data feeds.
- Cloud to edge infrastructure: It supports a variety of workloads, including cloud-to-edge, through an entirely software-based architecture.
- Edge security: You can remotely monitor critical infrastructure and connect to third-party security services.
- IoT enablement: Vapor IO Kinetic Grid supports all IoT protocols, including legacy ones like IPMI, I²C, and RS-485.
USP: The platform leverages high-performance colocation data centers for edge data processing. This allows it to deliver hyperscale-grade operations and ultra-low latency.
Pricing: Pricing is undisclosed and will depend on your scale and use case.
Editorial comments: This platform uses intent-based networking to process applications as per their requirements and intentions. But its services are limited only to a few U.S. regions, and it will take time for the company to grow its infrastructure sufficiently to support large multinational enterprises.
Product Comparison of the Top Edge Computing Platforms in 2022
Here are the key highlights of the top edge computing platforms in 2022:
|Alef Private Edge Platform||It provides edge connectivity products for industrial sectors as well as healthcare, education, and governments.||Its developer community lets you benefit from peer support, learning and inspiration.||Components are priced individually, starting from $0.25 per 1000 logins.|
|Azure IoT Edge||It is part of Microsoft’s solution for intelligent cloud-to-edge computing and addresses IoT use cases.||Microsoft’s research into the cloud, AI, IoT, and the edge lets you deploy a full-stack solution.||Components are individually priced, starting at $25 per 4,00,000 messages per day per edge unit.|
|ClearBlade||ClearBlade provides edge computing software for scalable IoT applications in industrial environments.||Its strong integration capabilities and common software stack reduce the implementation time and efforts.||Pricing is undisclosed, but you can get a free trial.|
|Eclipse ioFog||It is an open-source edge computing platform built by the Eclipse Foundation, backed by IBM.||Its free and open-source nature makes it widely accessible without compromising performance.||It is a free, open-source solution.|
|ESF Edge Computing Platform||It is an enterprise-grade IoT edge framework by Italian software company, Eurotech, meant for software vendors and developers.||Its app development suite and support of industrial protocols make it secure and compliant out of the box.||It is custom-priced.|
|Google Distributed Cloud||It was launched in October 2021 as part of the Google Distributed Cloud set of hardware and software solutions.||Its ability to run without connecting to Google Cloud helps maintain autonomy and protects sensitive data.||Pricing is undisclosed, but you can get started with $300 in free credits.|
|HPE Edgeline||It is a converged solution by HPE that includes edge hardware systems, platforms, and application services.||Its ruggedized chassis, which combines OT and IT, makes it uniquely suitable for industrial environments.||Pricing starts at $2,500.|
|Infiot ZETO||Infiot specializes in cloud-native edge solutions and networks.||Its powerful AIOps capabilities allow you to manage millions of endpoints with minimal manual effort or downtime.||Pricing is yet to be disclosed, but it is available as an affordable SaaS service.|
|Mutable Public Edge Cloud||It uses edge architecture to power a very low latency connectivity environment.||Its use of NixOS, an open-source Linux distribution, enables easy integration with third-party services.||Pricing is yet to be disclosed.|
|Vapor IO Kinetic Grid||It is an IT and data center solutions company that recently launched the edge-to-edge Kinetic Grid platform in June 2021.||Its use of colocation data centers drives hyper-scale operations and ultra-low latency.||Pricing is undisclosed.|
Edge computing is widely recognized as one of the major technology trends for 2022. According to a Gartner report titled Technology Insight: Edge Computing in Support of the Internet of Things, as much as 75% of enterprise data processing will happen in the edge by 2025. This is because traditional cloud environments and data centers would be unable to keep up with the accelerating volume or velocity of data.
The companies listed above will be instrumental in driving this change, as they can help enterprises adapt their infrastructure for an edge-first world. By adopting edge computing platforms, enterprises can better use the data they generate without soaring cloud costs and tap into IoT opportunities.
MORE ON COMPUTING