Dell NativeEdge Speeds Edge Deployments with FIDO Device Onboard (FDO)
Tue, 26 Sep 2023 15:36:49 -0000|
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Edge computing is generally defined as “a distributed computing paradigm that brings computation and data storage closer to the sources of data.1” The goal of this approach is to improve response times and save bandwidth.
Beyond this definition, edge computing is critical for enterprises to drive innovation and business outcomes. Existing approaches to the edge have led to technology silos, unscalable operations, poor infrastructure utilization, and inflexible legacy ecosystems. The massive proliferation of diverse edge devices has also increased exposure to cyberattacks. Dell has addressed these challenges with the new NativeEdge solution, a key feature of which is the ability to deploy edge devices swiftly and securely. At the root of this capability is FIDO Device Onboard (FDO), an open standard defined by technology leaders within the FIDO Alliance to automatically and securely onboard devices within edge deployments as diverse as retail, manufacturing, and energy. The FDO implementation used by Dell is based on the open-source implementation that has been contributed to the Linux Foundation Edge project by Intel.
The integration of the FIDO Device Onboard (FDO) with the Dell NativeEdge solution helps organizations to deploy and manage infrastructure at the edge by utilizing zero-trust principles and a streamlined supply chain to secure the edge environment at scale. “Intel developed and contributed the base technology that became FDO. Our work with Dell and the FIDO Alliance is a great example of the power of collaboration to address the continuously evolving threat landscape faced by our edge customers,” said Sunita Shenoy, Senior Director, Edge Technology Product Management at Intel.
Edge computing is transforming industries and we are delighted that FDO is a key component in Dell's innovative NativeEdge platform," said Andrew Shikiar, executive director and CMO of the FIDO Alliance. See the press release here: FIDO Device Onboard (FDO) Certification Program is Launched to Enable Faster, More Secure, Deployments of Edge Nodes and IoT Devices
In this blog, we will look at the edge challenges and three key elements that seek to address them: firstly Dell’s NativeEdge solution (described here), secondly the FIDO Device Onboarding (FDO) standard, and lastly the Linux Foundation Edge Open-Source software implementation of FDO (described here).
Business Challenges at the Edge
Recent years have seen a significant shift towards the edge, as more companies deploy devices that increase the demand for more data and analytics. By deploying devices to the edge, companies can reduce latency, improve the speed of data processing, and enhance security. Further, deploying devices at the edge can also help reduce bandwidth consumption and minimize the costs that are associated with transmitting large amounts of data to the cloud. The deployment of devices at the edge has therefore become a crucial component of modern technology infrastructure, enabling businesses to improve their operational efficiency and deliver better customer experiences.
The Dell NativeEdge Solution
The NativeEdge operations software platform enables organizations to securely deploy and manage infrastructure at the edge. NativeEdge supports a wide range of NativeEdge-enabled Devices. It uses zero-trust principles, combined with a holistic factory integration approach and application orchestration, to create a secure edge environment. It can start small with a single device and scale out as needed, and it can be deployed centrally or globally, regardless of network connectivity challenges, absence of technical staff, or facility environment.
Driving Improved Return on Investment at the Edge
In an internal Dell analysis2 consisting of return-on-investment modeling together with nearly a hundred Dell customer interviews, and a third-party environmental consultant review for methodology validation, Dell examined the potential economic impact of running NativeEdge across 25 facilities of a composite manufacturing company.
The study found that after three years, the company could expect to see the following benefits:
- Up to 132-percent return on investment for Dell NativeEdge platform costs
- An average of 20-minute time saving per month for every edge infrastructure asset managed with NativeEdge
- Savings on transportation costs by decreasing the need for site-support dispatches, helping to reduce travel time, and eliminating up to 14 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions
Key Elements of Dell NativeEdge
As these figures show, NativeEdge is designed to address the major aspects of managing an edge system. The first two of these aspects are closely linked as the ability to provide zero-touch provisioning (also known as onboarding) together with zero-trust security, a key tenet of which is, “Never trust, always verify."
Automating the Onboarding Process with FIDO Device Onboard (FDO)
Traditionally, the installation of edge devices has been a cumbersome and time-consuming process. Edge installers, who could be individuals such as retail store managers or factory plant managers, may lack the expertise to manage complex edge devices and operating system installations. This highlights the importance of ensuring that edge devices are user-friendly and straightforward to deploy, as mistakes in manual onboarding can lead to security issues as well as service outages.
With NativeEdge, anyone can easily set up a NativeEdge-enabled Device by simply plugging in a network cable, powering on the device, and stepping away. By leveraging the FIDO Alliance’s open standard known as FIDO Device Onboard Specification 1.1, Dell assures a streamlined installation process that is as easy as possible. The FIDO Alliance is a standards organization with over 250 members that was formed in 2012 with the goal of “simpler, stronger authentication.”
Leaders in technology from the FIDO Alliance (including Intel, Amazon, Google, Qualcomm, and Arm) created FDO. It is an open specification that defines an approach which combines 'plug and play'-like simplicity with the highest levels of security. It fully aligns with the zero-trust security framework in that neither the edge device nor the platform onto which it is being onboarded are trusted before onboarding takes place. FDO extends zero trust from the installation point back to the manufacturer.
How FIDO Device Onboard (FDO) Works
The following steps are aligned with the numbers in the figure:
- At the manufacturing stage of the device (or later if preferred), the FDO software client is installed on the device. A trusted key (sometimes called an IDevID or LDevID) is also created inside the device to uniquely identify it. This key may be built into the silicon processor (or associated Trusted Platform Module, know as TPM) or protected within the file system. Other FDO credentials are also placed in the device. A digital proof of ownership, known as the Ownership Voucher (represented as the orange/black key shape in the figure) is created outside the device. This self-protected digital document can be transmitted as a text file. The Ownership Voucher allows the owner of the device to identify themselves during the onboarding process.
- The device passes its way through the supply chain (for example, from distributor to VAR). The Ownership Voucher file follows a parallel path.
- Once the target cloud or platform is selected by the device owner, the Ownership Voucher is sent to that cloud/platform. In turn, the Ownership Voucher is registered with the Rendezvous Server (RV). The RV acts in a comparable way to a Domain Name System (DNS) service.
- When the time for device onboarding comes, the device is connected to the network and powered on. After the device boots up, it uses the Rendezvous Server (RV) to find its target cloud/platform. On-premise and cloud-based RVs can be programmed into the device.
- Based on the information provided by the RV, the device contacts the cloud/platform. The device uses its trusted key to uniquely identify itself to the cloud/platform, and in return the cloud/platform identifies itself as the device owner using the Ownership Voucher. Next, the device and owner perform a cryptographic trick called a key exchange to create a secured, encrypted tunnel between them.
- The cloud/platform can now download credentials and software agents over this encrypted tunnel (or whatever else is needed for correct device operation and management). FDO allows any kind of credential to be downloaded, so that solution owners do not have to change their existing solution when they adopt FDO.
Finally, having finished the FDO process, the device contacts its management platform, which is the platform that manages it for the rest of its lifecycle. FDO then lies dormant, although it can be re-awakened if needed, such as if the device is sold or repurposed.
Dell NativeEdge FDO End-to-End Integration
Dell has integrated FDO into many elements of its NativeEdge solution, from its secure manufacturing facilities to the Dell Digital Locker used to store Ownership Vouchers to the NativeEdge Orchestrator. A full and detailed description of how FDO has been dovetailed into NativeEdge is available here.
The following diagram shows the FDO process applied within the NativeEdge environment.
The numbered steps in the diagram are explained in detail in the following steps:
- In the procurement process, the user selects the device configuration and places an order in the Dell store.
- The Dell stores receives the order and sends information to the Dell manufacturing facility.
- The Dell manufacturing facility builds the device and creates the Ownership Voucher.
- The following sub-steps occur simultaneously:
- The Dell manufacturing facility transfers the Ownership Voucher to the end user. This credential is passed through the supply chain, allowing the device owner to verify the device, and also giving the device a mechanism to verify its owner.
- The Dell manufacturing facility ships the NativeEdge-enabled Device to the user.
- The Ownership Voucher is delivered to the Edge Orchestrator that will control the device.
- The Edge Orchestrator now holds the device Ownership Voucher.
- Non IT-skilled staff unbox the device, cable the device to the network, and power it on.
- Once connected to the network, the device contacts the Rendezvous Service configured in the device.
- The Rendezvous Service provides information to the device about which orchestrator it belongs to. The Rendezvous server (which may be part of the NativeEdge Orchestrator or a separate system) is a service that acts a rendezvous point between a newly powered-on device and the owner onboarding service.
- Once the device connects to the NativeEdge Orchestrator that holds its Ownership Voucher, it starts the Secure Component Verification (SCV) process, and if it passes, it starts the registration and onboarding. This secure onboarding process includes device and ownership identification as well as component validation. SCV is part of Dell Supply Chain Security (described here).
- Once the onboarding is finished, the device is automatically provisioned with the deployment of pre-defined templates and blueprints that have been assigned to the device.
Implementing FDO with the Linux Foundation Edge Open-Source Implementation
Software implementations of FDO consist of several functional elements, which are highlighted in the following generic FDO tool diagram.
The numbered steps in the diagram are described in further detail as follows:
- The FDO client is placed on the device.
- The Manufacturing Tool installs the device credentials and creates the Ownership Voucher.
- The Rendezvous Server can be run in the cloud or on-premise.
- The FDO Platform Software Development Kit (SDK) is integrated into the target cloud or on-premise platform.
- A Reseller tool can be used by the supply chain ecosystem to extend the Ownership Voucher’s cryptographic key.
- Additionally, tools provide initial network access for the device (not shown).
Companies have a range of options when implementing the FDO software. They can develop the software themselves directly from the specification, use one of the commercially available implementations of FDO (for example, Red Hat), or they can use the Linux Foundation Edge implementation (described here).
The FDO software within the Linux Foundation Edge has been developed and contributed by Intel, one of the authors of the FDO specification. The code is a mixture of C and Java (depending on which part of the FDO system is being implemented). It offers client software for both Intel and other processors including Arm.
NativeEdge - Delivering on the Edge Promise
With NativeEdge, Dell set a simple but critical goal; allow customers to deploy Edge solutions quickly and securely and then manage them effectively throughout their lifetime. As with all simple goals, the challenge is in developing a solution that fully delivers on the promise. With NativeEdge, Dell has taken full advantage of FIDO Device Onboarding (FDO) together with the Linux Foundation Edge FDO project code to build on top of an industry onboarding technology that fully supports Dell’s mission to simplify deployment and management at the edge while delivering the highest levels of security. NativeEdge is now available for customers to deploy at scale.
2 Based on internal analysis, May 2023. The internal analysis consisted of internal modeling, customer interviews, and third-party environmental consultant review for methodology validation.
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Dell NativeEdge Platform Empowers Secure Application Delivery
Tue, 08 Aug 2023 16:01:00 -0000|
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With an ever-evolving digital landscape and most edge use cases built around brownfield applications, IT operations have become a challenging matter for many organizations, particularly when bringing workloads to the enterprise edge.
These edge operational challenges include:
- Security of data and assets—Many of these assets have no user or identity awareness.
- Proliferation of solution silos—Many solutions have a bespoke implementation.
- Supporting distant locations—Many of these locations have no skilled IT staff.
- Latency requirements—Many of these locations have limited bandwidth or are even completely disconnected.
- Fragmented technology landscape—Many of these solutions have been implemented over years of technology evolution.
- Environmental constraints—Many of these solutions require extended temperature, vibration, and shock resilience and have use-case specific regulatory requirements.
Edge lives outside data centers in the real world where we live. It is located where data is captured close to devices or endpoints, to generate immediate and actionable insights.
We are experiencing a perfect storm of innovation driven by an explosion of data (IoT, telemetry, video, and streaming data), technology capabilities (multicloud, AI/ML, heterogeneous computing, software-defined, and 5G), and the resulting business challenges (security, compliance, productivity, and customer experience).
Security that is required at these locations needs a different approach:
- Security breaches can have a major effect on human well-being as they often impact essential infrastructure and services, such as power grids, housing, retail, transportation, schools, and hospitals.
- These failures can have a direct impact on everyday business operations and equipment, such as point of sales, advanced optical inspection (AOI), overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), energy efficiency, telco base station monitoring, and patient care.
- Edge infrastructure requires the highest level of data security. Network devices are often located at dark sites without Internet access and require the highest level of data confidentiality, such as patient records which are bound to compliance and regulatory constraints.
Dell is committed to assisting customers with the simplification of edge operations as the demand for secure and efficient application delivery has become paramount. The Dell NativeEdge platform leverages the power of edge computing to revolutionize application delivery in a secure environment.
NativeEdge provides a unique set of assets in an edge operations software platform which allows IT operations to deliver application orchestration, multicloud connectivity, zero-touch onboarding, a zero-trust security approach, and infrastructure management.
NativeEdge provides a standardized framework for defining and deploying applications. This simplifies the management and scalability of complex edge environments while ensuring consistency and reliability in application orchestration.
NativeEdge zero-touch provisioning is a feature that allows for the automatic and seamless deployment of NativeEdge-enabled Devices (OptiPlex, Gateways, and PowerEdge) without manual intervention. It enables quick and effortless setup by leveraging order and manufacturing preconfigured settings, eliminating the need for on-site configuration, and reducing deployment time and effort.
NativeEdge multicloud capabilities allow NativeEdge-enabled Devices to connect and integrate with multiple cloud platforms. It enables organizations to leverage various cloud services and resources, such as storage, computing power, and analytics, across different cloud providers, which enhances flexibility and scalability in edge computing deployments.
NativeEdge infrastructure management capabilities provide a comprehensive set of tools and features that enable centralized control and monitoring of NativeEdge-enabled Devices. It includes functions such as remote device management, software updates, configuration management, and performance monitoring—all of which enhance efficiency and simplify the management of edge computing infrastructure.
Zero trust is a security framework according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication (NIST SP) 800-207 that challenges the traditional perimeter-based approach. It assumes that no user or device should be inherently trusted, requiring continuous verification and authentication of every access request. It aims to improve cybersecurity by minimizing risks and enforcing strict access controls regardless of location or network. A zero-trust solution starts with the seven pillars of security as defined by the Department of Defense (DoD), such as device trust, user trust, transport and session trust, data trust, software trust, the two layers that provide the visibility and analytics, and automation and orchestration. Each pillar has 45 capabilities, and each capability has 152 zero-trust activities.
NativeEdge is a powerful and secure edge computing application delivery solution that combines features like zero-touch provisioning, multicloud capabilities, and robust infrastructure management. It provides seamless edge, core, and cloud deployment, integration with multiple cloud platforms, and centralized control, which brings scale to edge operations.
Watch the overview video:
Curious to know more about NativeEdge capabilities? See Edge Security Essentials: Edge Security and How Dell NativeEdge Can Help, or visit Dell.com/NativeEdge and Dell Technologies Solutions Info Hub for NativeEdge.
Self-Learning Series Part 4: Explore the Open Design and Platform Architecture
Sun, 19 Nov 2023 14:53:00 -0000|
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Edge has a unique set of challenges that require a new way of architecting to solve them. Edge computing is a distributed computing paradigm where data processing is performed closer to the data source or "edge" of the network, rather than relying solely on centralized cloud servers.
An open design fosters a culture of innovation and collaboration. It promotes flexibility and a more future-proof approach to edge computing. However, it's essential to carefully evaluate the specific requirements of the edge computing environment and choose the approach that best aligns with the organization's goals and constraints.
In this blog, we will help you understand how to get the most out of edge investments using an open design that works with software applications, IoT frameworks, multi-vendor operations technology solutions, and multicloud environments of your choice. This will allow you to consolidate technology silos and deliver consistent management experience across devices with connectivity out of the box.
A Unique Set of Challenges
When edge computing lacks an open design, it can face several challenges, including:
- Vendor Lock-In—Without open standards and interoperability, organizations may become locked into a specific vendor's proprietary solutions. This limits flexibility, hinders innovation, and leads to higher costs.
- Lack of Ecosystem—A closed system can stifle competition, reducing options and potentially raising prices.
- Security Concerns—Closed, proprietary systems may lack transparency, making it more difficult to assess and improve security.
- Scalability—Scalability is critical for edge computing, as the number of edge devices and their diversity can vary widely. Closed systems are more rigid and make it difficult to scale.
As a result, closed systems may limit the ability of developers and organizations to innovate and create customized edge computing solutions.
What Is Multicloud by Design?
Multicloud by design, also known as a multi-cloud strategy or multi-cloud architecture, is an intentional approach to utilizing multiple cloud service providers for various aspects of an organization's computing needs. In this strategy, a company deliberately chooses to use two or more cloud platforms, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to meet specific business requirements.
While multicloud offers numerous benefits, it also introduces complexities in terms of management, orchestration, and security. Organizations need to plan their multi-cloud strategy carefully, including workload placement, data synchronization, network configurations, and security measures, to ensure a successful and efficient implementation. Specialized tools and services designed for managing multi-cloud environments can assist in these efforts.
Watch the following video on how to optimize your edge investment:
A New Way of Architecting
Built on an open design, Dell NativeEdge offers the flexibility to choose the ISV applications and cloud environments for your edge application workloads. You can centrally and consistently deploy containerized and virtual applications using blueprints to work with your choice of IoT frameworks and OT vendors. Like everything else from Dell, NativeEdge is multicloud by design, enabling you to deploy applications across and new or existing environment.
Here are a few advantages of using an open design system:
- Flexibility—Open architectures allow organizations to choose from a variety of hardware, software, and services. This flexibility is particularly important in the dynamic edge computing environment, where the diversity of devices and use cases can vary.
- Avoiding Vendor Lock-In—With open designs, organizations are less likely to become locked into a single vendor's proprietary solutions. This reduces the risks associated with vendor dependency and enables businesses to switch or integrate different technologies more easily.
- Cost-Effectiveness—Open design often leads to cost-effective solutions. Open-source software and standards can reduce licensing fees and minimize the need for expensive proprietary hardware, helping organizations optimize their budgets.
- Scalability—Open architectures are typically designed with scalability in mind, making it easier to expand edge computing solutions as requirements grow or change.
- Security and Transparency—Open-source projects are transparent, allowing users to inspect the source code for security vulnerabilities. Community review and contributions help identify and address security issues promptly.
- Ecosystem Growth—An open design fosters a broader ecosystem of complementary software and hardware solutions, enhancing the availability of tools and services that can be integrated into the edge computing environment.
Edge Partner Ecosystem
We are working with partners to co-engineer and develop solutions that include software, partner intellectual property, products, and services. Dell also has some of the biggest, longest-standing partnerships in the industry with companies like Microsoft, Intel, and VMware.
When market-leading companies team together to create and offer validated, proven reference architectures, then we can help you mitigate risk and accelerate your time to revenue.
As an example, with NativeEdge, the Dell Validated Design for Manufacturing Edge using Telit Cinterion can be implemented and brought to market quicker, allowing for faster and more secure deployment, lower costs, increased security, and more reliable and repetitive outcomes based on the blueprints implemented. This allows for:
- Quicker data collection and analysis when deployed on-premises
- Increased integration of information from existing assets across all NativeEdge-enabled Devices
- Simpler configuration
- Simplified connection of devices
By removing the complexity of deployment and adding the element of application-level lifecycle management, NativeEdge reduces the amount of physical touch required and creates a repeatable deployment process at scale.
Dell Technologies will continue to foster partnerships to develop open software that enables interoperability and ease of operations while avoiding being locked into expensive, proprietary technologies that limit your ability to innovate and create. For more information, visit our Edge Ecosystem.
Watch the following video: Power management company optimizes edge investments for success
Make the most of edge investments by using an open design that works with software applications, IoT frameworks, multi-vendor operations technology solutions, and multicloud environments. This enables you to deploy applications across new or existing environments. NativeEdge will support each edge use case with an open design that works with your choice of software applications, IoT frameworks, OT vendor solutions, and multicloud environments.
Dell Technologies is going to enable its existing strong edge ecosystem of partners to leverage the open, vendor-agnostic design, allowing customers to optimize their edge investment. This way, we can put the customer in the driver’s seat to control their edge.
To learn more about how to simplify edge operations at scale, click here to see an interactive flip-book.
To learn more about NativeEdge Application Orchestration, click on the following links:
This blog is a part of a self-learning series. For more information on NativeEdge, go to: