If cloud computing is too pie-in-the-sky for you, there’s now something closer to the ground: “fog computing.”

With the rise of the Internet of Things, with all its connected devices located at endpoints across the globe, fog computing offers processing power where it is needed, versus keeping it in some kind of centralized location. Networks may not be robust enough – or even may be non-existent – to move analytics processing loads back and forth between endpoints and central clouds or servers.

An industry group called the OpenFog Consortium, launched in November, is now heading up the effort to evangelize this emerging architecture.

www.openfogconsortium.org As the authors of the consortium’s founding white paper put it: “current “cloud-only” IoT architectures lead to infrastructure and connectivity limitations and slow adoption and reduce the value that can be realized via this transformational technology.” Fog computing is an architecture in which computation, communication, control, and decision making is selectively moved “to the network edge where data is being generated.”

With the OpenFog Architecture, processing power can be located at any point between endpoints and central clouds. “This approach is particularly suited to IoT systems and accelerates the decision-making velocity. This architecture serves a specific subset of business problems that can’t be successfully implemented using cloud-only based architectures or relying solely on intelligent edge devices.”

OpenFog isn’t intended to replace IoT-cloud formations, but “should be thought of as complementary to, and an extension of the traditional cloud based model where implementations of the architecture can reside in multiple layers of a network’s topology,” the consortium’s paper explains.

The consortium seeks to get ahead of the IoT and cloud movements to assist in the creation of interoperability standards. “Proprietary or single vendor solutions can result in limited supplier diversity, which can have a negative impact on market adoption, system cost, quality and innovation,” the paper’s authors state. The consortium seeks to keep any standards and technologies developed open for use across the ecosystem.

The consortium was founded by Cisco – which originated the concept and term “fog computing,” along with ARM, Cisco, Dell, Intel, Microsoft and Princeton University

The link to OpenFog Consortium’s white paper on fog computing can be downloaded here: http://www.rtinsights.com/fog-computing-architecture-special-report/

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