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Red Hat, Intel open centers for the edge

Shuttling sensor data all the way into the cloud is so 2014

Red Hat and Intel today agreed to take their relationship to the next level – out of the datacenter and out to the edge.

The IBM-owned Linux giant and the x86 titan see an opportunity at the network edge: Internet of Things devices and industrial sensors can generate a significant amount of data that maybe isn't best shipped back to a central server, cloud or otherwise, for cleansing and analysis.

The two companies are thus launching an Intelligent Edge Solution Center in Houston, Texas, which unfortunately can't be abbreviated into anything snappy, just IESC.

According to Red Hat, IESC will customers collaborate with Red Hat, Intel, and ecosystem partners to assemble Intel-based devices that can be used in industrial processes and conform to industrial standards like Class 1, Division 2 (C1D2) and ATEX/IECEx.

The hat-chip partnership has invited favored associates whose wares – both hard and soft – are also available. Guests include Advantech, Axiomtek, Lenovo, OnLogic, Rockwell Automation and Winmate, which Red Hat suggests can provide hardware for real-time workloads using software from Inductive Automation, Intel, and Matrikon, among others.

Naturally, there's all the expected Red Hat stuff to glue it together – namely Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat OpenShift, and Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform.

The idea is that customers can choose from a panoply of industry-specific pre-made products for smart manufacturing, autonomous production, 5G, healthcare, and retail, while having access to bespoke predictive machine learning at the edge to solve problems related computer vision, anticipatory maintenance, and autonomous production.

"We're hoping that by creating this lab and coworking space with Intel, both our customers and partners will be able to test hardware and software they may not have at home," said Kelly Switt, senior director and global head of Intelligent Edge Business Development, Red Hat, in an email to The Register.

"This will be a collaborative environment for Red Hat and its ecosystem partners to develop integrated solutions and joint opportunities – ie, yes they can test, demo and work together to create edge solutions for now and in the future."

"In order for organizations to successfully operate and scale at the edge, it requires a coordinated approach and oftentimes technologies from multiple vendors to address unique IT and business needs. The amount of data gathered from extensive networks of machines, IoT devices and sensors can be a massive undertaking for organizations to digest, analyze and transform into actionable insights."

What's more, Red Hat and Intel say they intend to "work with customers to build open validated patterns to automate network deployments and operational capabilities for Wi-Fi, SD-WAN, firewall, VPN and other security-focused configurations to support operational technology (OT) assets and processes."

So customers, in theory, will be able to put the edgy widgets they buy into place with some expectation that they will work properly and not break things.

The crimson cap and Integrated Electronics (that's where the name Intel comes from) are so enamored with life on the edge that they're also gussying up a lab facility in Singapore to sell APAC customers on 5G and edge computing. The lab originally helped telcos adopt virtual network functions but now has been repurposed to showcase cloud-native network functions and associated edge computing uses for such things.

Switt described the customer interactions at these centers as efforts to help guide clients as they learn about the network's edge.

"In these ongoing collaborations, Red Hat and Intel will invite customers to participate in the Intelligent Edge Solution Center to brainstorm and co-create in real-time with an ecosystem of experts," explained Switt. "However, any customer is also welcome to reach out directly about participating in the center via an open form on the website. From there, Red Hat will work with the customer to coordinate the details of their experience at the Intelligent Edge Solution Center to meet their business needs and edge computing goals."

The fun doesn't stop there. Intel, at its offices in Stockholm, Sweden, is working with Red Hat at its 5G Innovation Center to show off IT workflows tied to 5G networking, machine learning, and edge networks with the usual suspects – ecosystem partners, service providers, system integrators, hardware and software vendors, and other hangers-on.

The edge, it seems, is everywhere and now is a core concern for a red-tinged enterprise Linux service vendor and its silicon-slinging sidekick. ®

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