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VMware Previews AWS Greengrass Appliance for IoT Edge Device Services

VMware Inc. has taken the wraps off a new appliance that lets users of its vSphere cloud computing virtualization platform perform analytics, serverless computing and even machine learning on Internet of Things (IoT) edge devices.

To do that, it leverages the recently announced AWS Greengrass software from Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), used to extend the platform's functionality to local devices. It's all part of the growing movement in which analytics and other computing services are being brought to edge devices, rather than bringing data from edge devices to centralized locations for processing.

The Linux-based AWS Greengrass Core VM Appliance 0.5, out in a preview, "is software that lets you run local compute, messaging, data caching, sync, and machine learning inference capabilities on connected devices in a secure way."

With the new appliance, users will be able to deploy AWS services -- focusing on Greengrass functionality such as serverless Lambda functions -- to any device running on VMware's vSphere cloud computing virtualization platform.

According to Amazon, with the new AWS Greengrass appliance, "connected devices can run AWS Lambda functions, execute predictions based on machine learning models, keep device data in sync, and communicate with other devices securely -- even when not connected to the Internet."

The Greengrass appliance builds on the integration of technologies between virtualization leader VMware and cloud computing leader AWS, as the companies last August announced the ability of joint customers to run their on-premises vSphere environments on the AWS cloud with the launch of "VMware Cloud on AWS."

Just like that offering, VMware said the Greengrass appliance "takes hybridity in the other direction," providing the ability to run specified AWS services on vSphere in the datacenter or at the edge, as in IoT-based devices.

"By running Greengrass on-premises on vSphere, customers will be able to closely integrate Greengrass, using Lambda functions, with other applications and services already running on vSphere infrastructure at the edge," VMware said. "Placing cloud services in the same locations where devices reside and data is generated will give organizations even greater capabilities to innovate and build intelligent systems that surpass what’s possible in the cloud, datacenter, or edge alone."

The appliance runs the Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS OS, so it can run on any VMware solution that supports that platform.

The "AWS Greengrass on VMware vSphere" project's source code is available on GitHub.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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