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Red Hat and Intel say edge platform will ‘transform’ industry

20 September, 2023

The open-source software specialist Red Hat has teamed up with the semiconductor giant Intel to develop an industrial edge platform that, they say, will provide a modern approach to building and operating industrial controls.

The developers argue that “for decades” manufacturing innovation has been hampered by the limitations of legacy industrial controls and siloed organisational structures. With the new platform, users will benefit from an open edge platform that allows simplified integration of components in an easy-to-use, reliable approach to industrial automation.

One of the first applications is a distributed control system developed with Schneider Electric which was demonstrated at a recent exhibition and is described in the video below.

Red Hat and Intel are targeting a market for software-defined smart factories which McKinsey has estimated could be worth up to $3.7 trillion by 2025.

The developers say that their new platform will transform the way that manufacturers operate, scale and innovate, using standard IT technologies to deliver real-time data insights on shopfloors. It will allow ICS (industrial control system) vendors, systems integrators and manufacturers to automate previously manual tasks such as: developing, deploying and managing automation systems; reducing cybersecurity risks; improving predictive maintenance; co-locating deterministic and non-deterministic workloads; and reducing turnaround times.

The industrial edge platform will span functions ranging from real-time shop floor control and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) to full IT management.

Red Hat and Intel are working to integrate Intel-based platforms and Intel’s Edge Controls for Industrial (ECI) with current and future versions of Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux, starting with collaboration in Linux communities such as the Fedora Project and CentOS Stream. The collaboration will bring these controls and platforms to Red Hat’s Device Edge, Ansible Automation Platform and OpenShift.

“Red Hat has a proven history in driving not just modernisation across industries, but innovation,” says the company’s vice-president and general manager of In-Vehicle Operating System and Edge,” Francis Chow. “Now, Red Hat has set our sights on bringing that same level of transformation to manufacturing plants across the globe with a new edge platform with Intel. We believe that by helping converge both IT and operational technologies, the next industrial revolution can arrive sooner, more quickly and built on a backbone of open source software.”

Distributed control nodes (DCNs) used to run controls in a demo of the new edge computing platform with Schneider Electric

According to the developers, user benefits of the new system will include:
Integrated real-time capabilities from silicon to software, to support industrial automation for predictable performance;
Advanced management and network automation for system deployment and management without heavy resource usage, simplifying industrial network creation and management using open, standards-based tools;
Scalability and flexibility through a software-defined platform approach that facilitates portable, scalable control and maximises adaptability;
Uninterrupted operations supported by high-availability and redundancy attributes built into the platform;
Simplified AI workload integration with the ability to take AI workloads and run them next to control workloads, simplifying hardware complexity, and enabling AI to improve product quality, system uptime, maintenance needs and more;
Enhanced cybersecurity by removing human error using automated patching and updates, and a platform built on hardened, production-tested components.

To underpin this platform, Red Hat is collaborating with Intel to deliver a real-time kernel that provides low latency and jitter, helping applications run repeatedly with greater reliability. The new industrial edge platform will be built on open standards, driven by thousands of developers globally, helping to simplify integration with other hardware and software components.

Core code transparency and a clear roadmap and release cycle will help to take the guesswork out of when new releases will be available.

“For years, Intel and Red Hat have worked together to transform and support a range of industries,” says Christine Boles, vice-president of Intel’s network and edge group and general manager for federal and industrial solutions. “Bringing together Red Hat’s expertise in cloud-to-edge application platform delivery and Intel’s strength in edge to cloud compute platforms, including industrial hardware and software, will deliver the software-defined capabilities and transformation to meet the resilient, flexible and reliable requirements of today’s manufacturing.”

Red Hat:  X  LinkedIn  Facebook

Intel:  X  LinkedIn  Facebook

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