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OpenFog Reference Architecture for Fog Computing

1. OpenFog Overview 

Digital innovation from the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Tactile Internet and 5G applications is transforming the way we work, commute, shop and play. Data from newly-connected factories, homes, communities, cars, hospitals and more is expected to grow from 1.1 zettabytes (or 89 exabytes) per year in 2016 to 2.3 zettabytes (or 194 exabytes) per year by 2020.1 Current “cloud-only” architectures cannot keep up with the volume and velocity of this data across the network, thereby reducing the value that can be created and captured from these investments. 

Fog computing provides the missing link in the cloud-to-thing continuum. Fog architectures selectively move compute, storage, communication, control, and decision making closer to the network edge where data is being generated in order solve the limitations in current infrastructure to enable mission-critical, data-dense use cases.

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Fog computing is a: 

A horizontal, system-level architecture that distributes computing, storage, control and networking functions closer to the users along a cloud-to-thing continuum. 

Fog computing is an extension of the traditional cloud-based computing model where implementations of the architecture can reside in multiple layers of a network’s topology. However, all the benefits of cloud should be preserved with these extensions to fog, including containerization, virtualization, orchestration, manageability, and efficiency. In many cases, fog computing works with cloud. Pillars, which are common themes of the OpenFog reference architecture include security, scalability, openness, autonomy, RAS (reliability, availability and serviceability), agility, hierarchy, and programmability. In addition to the pillars, we describe the roles of each stakeholder in the fog value chain from silicon creator to the Operating System and application developer through a composite architectural description

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Fog computing also is often erroneously called edge computing, but there are key differences. Fog works with the cloud, whereas edge is defined by the exclusion of cloud. Fog is hierarchical, where edge tends to be limited to a small number of layers. In additional to computation, fog also addresses networking, storage, control and acceleration. 

The OpenFog Consortium was formed on the principle that an open fog computing architecture is necessary in today’s increasingly connected world. Through an independently run open membership ecosystem of industry, end users and universities, we can apply a broad coalition of knowledge to these technical and market challenges. We believe that proprietary or single vendor solutions can limit supplier diversity and ecosystems, resulting in a detrimental impact on market adoption, system cost, quality and innovation. It is our intent to ensure the OpenFog reference architecture results in fully interoperable and secure systems, supported by a vibrant supplier ecosystem.

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