Resources / Insights

June 16, 2017

Word games: The drive for precision in a complex world. Introducing the OpenFog Glossary of Terms for Fog Computing & Fog Networking

What’s in a name?  While Shakespeare eloquently wrote otherwise, in today’s world, names matter a great deal.  Especially in technology.  And especially when it comes to creating new architectural approaches – like fog computing.

That’s why members of the OpenFog Consortium have spent a great deal of time on its Glossary of Terms for Fog Computing & Fog Networking, starting with the definition of fog computing itself:  Fog computing is a system-level horizontal architecture that distributes resources and services of computing, storage, control and networking anywhere along the continuum from Cloud to Things.

Originally published with the OpenFog Reference Architecture, this glossary is now separated into its own document for easy industry access.  You can access it here.

Why did we put effort into establishing these common definitions?  The answer lies in the drive to global specification development by the broad viewpoints of our global, talented member contributors.  What is commonly known as a ‘thing’ in one organization, can be considered a ‘device’ by a hardware-centric company, and an ‘endpoint’ by yet another company.  Add on top of this regional differentiators and international translations.   Without a common vocabulary, our working meetings would become variations of the famous ‘who’s on first’ act.   Simply stated, precision matters in developing a global, interoperable architecture that will drive rapid, secure, high-density and high-stakes applications.

The OpenFog Glossary of Terms will expand as we get deeper into the OpenFog Reference Architecture, testbeds and use cases.  OpenFog welcomes the addition of new terms to this document.  If you have a term or two you’d like to submit for consideration, please contact me.


Lynne Canavan is the co-chair of the OpenFog Marketing Committee.  She can be reached at

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