Rancher and Arm Partner to Accelerate Edge Computing

Rancher and Arm Partner to Accelerate Edge Computing

Mark Abrams
Mark Abrams
Gray Calendar Icon Published: September 27, 2019
Gray Calendar Icon Updated: May 5, 2021

Edge computing has become a clear strategic goal for many enterprises, for some it is already an absolute necessity. As the demands of applications software and the capabilities of hardware continue to grow, containers and Kubernetes have become a compelling technology for edge computing. In just the past 5 years, the way that software is manufactured and maintained has changed dramatically with the introduction of Kubernetes container orchestration. The pace of adoption of Kubernetes has been very rapid with current industry research indicating 76% of organizations will standardize on Kubernetes within three years.

Rancher Labs and Arm are working together to help organizations take advantage of the transformative capabilities of Kubernetes for edge computing.

The Emergence of Edge Computing

In the past 15 years the cloud has emerged as a centralized computing platform based originally on commodity hardware made available through APIs. However, it has become clear that the same cloud computing model does not apply to edge devices due to high data loads and latency. The edge is often disconnected from the internet and other external networks for long periods of time. Organizations have come to realize that sending data to the cloud or a remote data center has disadvantages over processing the data in place or as close to the place of creation and usage as possible, With that understanding and the emergence of more powerful small devices, edge devices have become a key part of modern computing ecosystems.

K3s Lightweight Kubernetes is Ideal for the Edge

Although many enterprises now include Kubernetes in their strategic edge initiatives, Kubernetes in its upstream form is too heavy weight and operationally challenging for the edge case. Rancher Labs created k3s as a lightweight Kubernetes distribution designed for use in edge production environments. K3s is a certified Kubernetes distribution that delivers all the value of Kubernetes in a lightweight, easy to operate package which is ideal for accelerating and delivering solutions at the edge. The result is that edge devices can now take advantage of the same advanced tooling that was developed originally for cloud to deliver better, more robust and less costly experiences.

For example, a warehouse or a factory may have 1000s of devices. Each of these devices is an independent unit which can only operate on its own data save for the occasional mesh network in which they transport data for one another. Add k3s to those devices and they become a cluster of compute, capable of not only communicating across devices, but also processing data in place or on another device within the cluster. In addition, many other edge constraints are alleviated or completely overcome by adding cluster orchestration as a subsystem to a single node or across co-located devices.

Arm is Ideal for Kubernetes and Edge

Arm experts have predicted more than one trillion intelligent connected devices by 2035. For the “things” within IoT, the majority of devices are based on the Arm architecture. In order to meet the growing data processing needs within IoT, several edge computing architectures are evolving including, compute edge, network edge, and telecommunications edge. To further fuel the innovations in the infrastructure space, Arm announced in October 2018 a dedicated infrastructure roadmap with Arm Neoverse powered products enabling a diverse set of high-performance, secure, and scalable solutions required for the infrastructure foundation in a world of a trillion intelligent devices.

Putting it All Together

The combination of edge optimized hardware running Arm processors and container orchestration delivers a strong value proposition that should not be overlooked when developing the current and next generation edge. Together this combination of hardware and software delivers robust, scalable, reliable and highly available solutions. Software is decoupled from the device and simultaneously has the ability to take advantage of each hardware component as if it were purpose built for the task. This combined hardware / software strategy is also beneficial for long term usage. Containers provide isolation and security in a purpose-built package and the underlying container orchestration gives physical devices fungibility to handle scenarios on the edge which have not yet been conceived.

How to Learn More

Accelerating Edge Computing with Arm and k3s Whitepaper

Arm plus k3s is a clear strategy for success spanning needs from edge to cloud. Arm plus k3s has the ability to handle today’s needs and the unknown requirements of the future. To help organizations understand how they can leverage Arm and k3s to address their edge computing requirements, Arm and Rancher have developed a joint whitepaper.

Download the Arm and k3s Edge Computing whitepaper..

It’s a great read to understand container basics, the role of Kubernetes in container orchestration, the design principles of k3s, cluster architectures for the edge, and how Arm and Rancher together can be an ideal solution for edge computing.

There are also several upcoming events you can attend to talk directly with Arm and Rancher technology experts:

  • Arm TechCon - San Jose Oct 8-10 – join us at Arm TechCon to hear Mark Abrams, Field Engineer from Rancher Labs, talk about how Kubernetes can be used in edge and IoT devices. Mark’s presentation is Tuesday, October 8th at 9am.
  • KubeCon – visit Rancher Labs in booth P19 to talk with Rancher experts, experience a hands on demo, and learn more about how Rancher can help you with your edge strategy.

We hope to see you there!

Mark Abrams
Mark Abrams
Field Engineer
Mark has worked as a full stack engineer for over 20 years. He has been developing and delivering private cloud solutions for global enterprises and Fortune 100 companies, helping developers, operators, and executives with strategy, architecture, and the development of cloud native solutions. Mark continues to work with the latest cloud-native developments with a strong interest in solutions that are moving Kubernetes to the Edge.
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