Edge computing has exciting potential, but there are certain considerations to thrive in today’s competitive landscape
Data is king, especially in the current era of the data-driven business, where a data mindset and analytical capabilities are significant factors in determining future success. With so much data to be mined and monetized, more companies are recognizing the competitive advantages of edge computing, which can also jump-start the journey to becoming an autonomous digital enterprise. That said, a variety of security and infrastructure challenges may prevent some IT professionals from making the move, according to a recent survey by Volterra and Propeller Insights.
Distributed models such as edge computing have always been attractive because of their ability to minimize network latency issues with large data and put essential functions closer to the technology consumer. Now, they’re even more attractive with new compute and application architectures and so many new data sources—network-connected and internet of things (IoT) devices, social media, customer engagement systems, transactional systems and systems of record—dramatically expanding the volume of data and changing the nature of the data collected. Edge computing also helps solve the traditional issues of optimizing for network capacity and performance and addresses new areas such as the localized pre-processing of all data sources (telemetry, video, mobile, etc.).
It’s no surprise, then, that 54% of the IT leaders surveyed said they prefer edge to the cloud for operators who need to control and analyze data for local use cases, and to avoid the latency that can occur when sending edge data to public cloud-based apps. By moving certain workloads to the edge of the network instead, devices spend less time on the cloud, react faster to local changes, and operate reliably–even in extended offline periods.
Edge computing still has its challenges and difficulties to overcome. Among them are key concerns such as a lack of resources or time for long-term upkeep of application and infrastructure, and managing distributed clusters as siloed instances rather than a single resource.
Taking IT to the Edge – Edge Computing, That Is
Despite the roadblocks, the value of edge computing is clear. This is why many companies are including edge computing models in their business plan. However, the performance, control and governance challenges that come with distributed models of compute, applications and data should be considered carefully beforehand.
Innovative, data-driven companies that want to stay on the cutting edge and are planning an edge migration should develop a plan and long-term vision for their mix of data center, cloud and edge resources that consider their current and future use cases. Partnerships will also prove useful. By leveraging multi-vendor, commercial off-the-shelf solutions, enterprises can be more successful yielding value from edge computing than they would with single-vendor niche products. An ecosystem of seamlessly integrated solutions will help companies harness data and translate information into insight and actions that can optimize assets.
As today’s enterprises seek to become more data-driven and evolve into the autonomous digital enterprises of tomorrow, it’s important to think about edge use cases as part of an overall automation strategy. Companies should consider how edge applications and distributed architectures will support them from a capacity, monitoring, deployment and service management perspective.
Finally, edge computing’s advantages also come with the risk of security vulnerabilities if they’re not addressed from the outset, since the “attack surface” of a company’s IT estate becomes much larger. Organizations must deploy a multi-layer security approach that aligns with their edge initiatives while factoring in service-level needs to ensure assets are adequately protected.
Edge computing has exciting potential, and the enterprises that make strategic investments and take a holistic, outlook-driven, secure approach to migration will thrive in tomorrow’s competitive landscape and years into the future.