BUILDING AN EDGE COMPUTING USE-CASE FOR HACKFEST
Editor’s note – We are very proud of Team LSD winning Red Hat Hackfest 2021. The team comprised of Seagyn Davis and Julian Gericke, who put all of this together over the month of November and bowled the judges over with their winning project. To give more context about their project, we asked Seagyn and Julian to write a series of blog posts to unpack it in detail. Please enjoy Part 1):
We found out about the Red Hat Hackfest from the Red Hat South Africa Partner Channel Manager (thanks Ziggi!). It’s basically a hackathon spanning over a few weeks where we set out to achieve working on an element (or a few elements) of a much larger blueprint that has been done by the Red Hat Hackfest team.
The use-case for this iteration of Hackfest was edge manufacturing with the basic architecture being a central data center (Openshift cluster), a factory edge location (Single Node Openshift running on an Intel NUC) and machinery simulated on IoT devices (Fitlet2 running RHEL for Edge).
The Intel NUC and the Fitlet2 were supplied to us so a big shout out to Red Hat, IBM and Intel for sponsoring and supporting the Hackfest to make this happen.
HACKFEST USE CASE
The premise of the Hackfest was an interesting blend of IoT and Cloud Native tech to support a scalable t-shirt manufacturing process. Hackfest participants were asked to deploy a fleet of containerized factory-level services onto the Single-node OpenShift environment.
A machinery service was to be implemented on edge devices – in our simulated environment this was the Fitlet2 running RHEL for Edge – which would facilitate the industrial control side of T-shirt production.
Red Hat implemented datacenter (or plant) level services running within an OpenShift cluster, to register and orchestrate multiple factories, capture factory metrics and implement higher-level business logic in support of what a typical global T-shirt manufacturing behemoth would require towards world domination (of the T-shirt manufacturing vertical).
The hardware specs on each device were pretty amazing. The Intel NUC had 6 cores, 64GB of RAM and 250GB of M.2 SSD storage – it was more than enough to run Single Node Openshift (SNO) and the run time simulations/services for the factory. The Fitlet2 has an Atom x5 processor, 4GB of RAM and we were supplied with a 64GB SD card to run in it.
The Intel NUC was set up with Single Node Openshift (more on SNO and setting it up in the next post). We ran Openshift 4.8 purely because of a dependency on a version of Red Hat AMQ that we needed to run that was not yet compatible with Openshift 4.9.
On the Fitlet2 we set up RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) for Edge 8.4. Both RHEL and RHEL for Edge provide enterprise-level features and support.
OUR UNDERSTANDING AND THE PLAN
Because of the complex architecture, it took a while for us to get our bearings and figure out what was needed to be done. Fortunately, there were regular drop-in clinics that allowed us to ask questions and/or find out how certain things needed to be done.
Ultimately, the minimum requirement was for us to get the provided software and services operating and to deploy a simulated machine service on the edge device. After that, anything we did would be additional work and more points towards potentially winning the Hackfest.
Our plan was to use the example machinery service provided by the Hackfest team and add an additional metrics emitter that would be pushed onto a metrics queue on the Factory. We would then create a metrics service on the Factory which we could then use to create graphs and give observability into the factory and machines running there.
That concludes Part 1 of the Red Hat Hackfest review. Part 2 will be published soon!