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Tiny edge-container platform targets BeagleBone and Raspberry Pi

Oct 2, 2019 — by Eric Brown — 1549 views

Nubix.io’s free, lightweight “Nubix” edge-container platform for IoT initially supports the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone with a library of preconfigured sensor packages, analytics tools, and “tiny services.”

Nubix.io has launched a free Developer Edition of its emerging “edge-native” Nubix microcontainer platform for constrained edge devices. The Nubix containers can be as small as 32KB — more than 100 times smaller than a Docker container. This enables them to run even on microcontroller units (MCUs), including Cortex-M4 chips without memory management units (MMUs). The Developer Edition, however, targets two Linux-powered, community backed SBCs: the BeagleBone Black and the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B or later.



Nubix container architecture
(click image to enlarge)

Other products in the edge container space include Balena, which also targets the Raspberry Pi, and Zededa’s Project Eve, which is part of the Linux Foundation’s LF Edge initiative. Canonical’s Ubuntu Core with snaps presents a similar concept.

Edge containers such as Nubix are promoted for their ability to quickly deploy, update, and manage numerous field devices with increased security. Nubix is designed to operate independently of the cloud for on-site analytics to improve latency and save on connectivity costs.

Unlike some edge container platforms, the technology is not based on cloud container technology, but is designed intentionally for embedded devices. On the other hand, as Nubix.io CEO Rachel Taylor notes in a blog entry, Nubix retains the basic concept of the semi-autonomous runtime container. Because there are more cloud developers than embedded development experts, it will be easier to find developers.

The Nubix Developer Edition provides a library of sensors, analytics tools, and services based on open source components customized for targets such as the Raspberry Pi. The platform includes a simplified programming environment and OTA support for remote updates.

The Developer Edition offers prepackaged sensor modules with a hardware abstraction layer (HAL), including support for I2C sensors. Sensor modules including the BME280 temp sensor, SGP30 gas sensor, ADXL345 accelerometer, and ADS1015 D/A converter. There are also GPIO read and write, LED control, signal generator, and timer packages.

The Developer Edition supplies “tiny” analytics routines and services typical of IoT applications. Analytics include Cumulative, Simple, and Exponential-Weighted Moving Average functions. The services include data management services such as coalesce, downsample, and store and forward via a durable ring buffer

Another service provides Spark contexts via Stuart, Nubix.io’s Lua-based Apache Spark runtime for edge computing. There are also tiny scripts for accessing hundreds of open source functions.

 
Further information

The free Nubix Developer Edition for the BeagleBone Black and Raspberry Pi is available now, limited to 10 installed container runtimes, five API keys, and real-time deployment. Pricing has yet to be determined for the upcoming professional plan, which will support more deployments, keys, and deployment options, as well as more extensive support. Registration applications for downloading the free software may be found here. More information may be found in the Nubix announcement and at the Nubix.io website.
 

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