Life on the Edge

IT leaders are embracing edge computing as a powerful way to maximise the business value of initiatives such as the IoT, mobile computing and digital transformation. In a distributed edge computing architecture, data is processed at the periphery of the network, as close to the originating source as possible. Businesses achieve immediate cost efficiencies and performance improvements, with added flexibility to drive innovation. Edge computing also delivers huge gains for users in remote office and branch office (ROBO) locations, while giving IT teams greater flexibility in managing growing numbers of endpoints and users.

However, the overall success of edge computing and the relative simplicity in deploying and managing the technology is contingent on one key factor: availability. The edge computing environment can no more afford downtime than any other area of business.

Why edge computing and why now?

Digital technologies are transforming organisations of all sizes. IDC forecasts that by 2025 the global datasphere will grow to a trillion gigabytes, ten times that of 2016. We are witnessing explosive growth of IoT devices in industries such as manufacturing, healthcare and retail. In addition to supporting IoT workloads, edge computing satisfies the requirements of a workforce that is becoming much more distributed and mobile, a trend that will continue with the influx of millennials into the workforce.

Edge computing provides an answer to the challenges raised by these powerful changes both within the workplace and customer expectations. It allows for efficient data processing with large amounts of data being processed near the source, reducing internet bandwidth usage and providing actionable information faster and more efficiently than if data were transported to and processed in a central data centre.

The growth of IoT devices and the changing workplace are among the key underlying factors driving demand for edge computing, manifested in the following ways:

  • Increased mobility: the increase of mobile endpoints and adoption of BYO device

initiatives by remote and local employees is creating a resultant increase in the volume of data at the remote and device level.

  • Latency sensitivity: user expectations for performance and availability are high. Latency sensitivity drives the goal to reduce latency, which can be complicated by the increased volume, variety and velocity of data. Edge computing is a proven method of reducing latency for ROBOs and mobile workers.
  • Analytics and new business models: companies are creating new business models focused on data analysis and processing. By moving processing and content delivery/collection closer to the data sources, IT teams can support business innovation and efficiencies.
  • Supporting modern workloads: the use of smaller, distributed, connected data centres closer to concentrations of users and generators of content/data is becoming necessary to support modern workloads. These augment traditional data centres and improve performance across the entire enterprise by reducing pressure on networking resources.

Availability at the edge

Whichever technology is chosen to build edge computing micro data centres, there must be focus on availability and deployment of modern availability solutions that ensure the reliability, recoverability and effectiveness of data, wherever it’s located. Enterprises have zero tolerance for downtime and must consider critical availability solution requirements at the edge for ROBOS:

Data management ease of use: there may not be onsite IT resources at the ROBO but with the right management platform, this should not be an issue.

  • High-speed recoverability: the solution should be able to deliver recovery time and recovery point objectives of < 15 minutes for all applications and data.
  • WAN backup and acceleration: built-in WAN acceleration dramatically reduces the bandwidth required for transferring backups and replicas over the WAN.
  • Increased adoption of virtualisation: is vital to successfully deploying and managing micro data centres, so leverage availability software designed to optimise virtualised environments.
  • A cloud-agnostic platform: avoid vendor lock-in by using a solution that supports workloads across any cloud environment.
  • Complete IT infrastructure visibility and analytics: leverage proactive monitoring, reporting, testing and documentation to enhance security and compliance capabilities.

Edge computing is becoming more important as organisations embrace digital transformation and other hallmarks of the modern era. For IT decision-makers, edge computing is another area where they can use advanced technology to drive operational efficiencies and business innovation. To reap the full benefits of edge computing architectures, IT leaders must ensure that availability at the edge is uncompromised.

We partner with Veeam Software as the innovative provider of solutions that deliver ‘Availability for the Always-On Enterprise’. Customers save time, mitigate risks, and dramatically reduce capital and operational costs.

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‘Life on the Edge’ taken from the TechTarget® and Veeam whitepaper entitled ‘Availability and edge computing: Empower ROBOs and drive business innovation’.

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