Rapidly Deploy your IT at the EDGE!

As complex IT environments move to the EDGE, organisations are struggling to keep up with distributed IT systems to support new edge applications, migrating computing and storage closer to their users for improved response times, whilst also trying to rapidly deploy across multiple sites.  

What is Edge Computing?

Edge computing is simply optimising data processing. The vast amount of data created by organisations can not always wait to be processed off site by corporate networks or cloud providers.  This data produced by users devices, machines, machines to machine (M2M) connections, can be collected and analysed at the edge to provide immediate insights for business and applications that can not afford any delays due to latency. 

Collaborate IT Limited have partnered with vendors that specialise in delivering a broad portfolio of intelligent infrastructure systems, software and services that address the reliability, scalability and management challenges you face as your edge evolves. 

The term “edge infrastructure” refers to the physical compute infrastructure (servers, power, cooling, enclosures) that is deliberately positioned anywhere between the end-device and central data centers. This also includes hosting compute capabilities on premise, something that is obviously not new for many enterprises.  

In fact, some are re-investing in existing on-site infrastructure (e.g., servers, network closets, or data centers) to optimize applications and implement new use cases. For example, a multinational pulp and paper manufacturer is enabling data intensive applications such as advanced predictive maintenance by leveraging data centers at its larger mills. 

High-speed trading, high-definition content delivery, and autonomous cars all depend on near-real-time compute capabilities. Without them, these applications would experience detrimental performance issues, ranging from financial losses to a poor user experience, or even loss of life. Similarly, consumer-facing companies such as healthcare organizations and retailers may want to push offers or services to consumers’ mobile devices and wearables but must abide by data privacy regulations. As a consequence, these firms would prefer to process and store data at edge sites — on-premise locations that they control — rather than via the cloud to streamline regulatory compliance.

5G networks are the final piece of the puzzle, providing organizations with the bandwidth and ultra-fast processing speeds they need to deliver data-intensive applications to consumers and business users in near real-time. While cloud workloads can take up to 100 milliseconds to process, edge and 5G will be able to ultimately push processing down to under one millisecond.

It will take time for 5G to reach its full potential, due to emerging standards and its slower rollout, so edge computing essentially acts as the “last mile” for processing data and keeping latency low, currently around 10 to 50 milliseconds, depending on where sites are located.

The edge, supported by 5G networks, will help organizations capture; process; and operationalize business, mobile, social, M2M, and other types of data. As a result, edge computing’s importance will grow exponentially over the coming years.

By tapping edge computing’s ability to process data workloads at the source, organizations can drive new business value. They can automate key processes, use new analytics to inform strategic decision making, customize digital products and services, and deliver an exceptional end-user experience, among other strategic goals.

What are the Benefits of Edge Computing?

Data is growing exponentially, increasing in volume, variety, velocity, and variability. In addition to business data, organizations can harness online and mobile user data, social media, transactions, M2M data, log data, and other sources to acquire new insights. However, much of that data is never collected or used.

Your organization's current data use may be akin to a pastel drawing, but if you exploit big data's potential, you could create rich 3D, full-color data models. By improving your insights over time with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), you can identify new B2B and B2C business opportunities, deepen customer relationships, improve return on investment (ROI), and grow market share.

Industry is evolving fast, creating increased demands for data and analytics. These trends include digital transformation, hybrid work models, automation, advanced robotics, Internet of Things (IoT) applications, and augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) to name just a few.

Edge Goals

Industry organizations are moving fast to capitalize on the wealth of new data that’s being created. Edge computing can help you fuel business growth, reduce latency, extend your hybrid cloud infrastructure, and capitalize on the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

You also likely have goals for your edge sites, including deploying, upgrading, expanding, and managing and monitoring these compute resources. As with all technology, it pays to understand your full range of options, adopt standards-based solutions wherever possible, and take a lifecycle approach to investment and management.

Edge Growth 

The pandemic accelerated spending on edge computing, as companies invested in digital products and services. Now, it’s off to the races. So, where will we see the most edge growth moving forward?

Hardware, software and services: IDC projects that spending on edge compute and storage will soar to $33.3 billion by 2024, as organizations build out their infrastructure. Business will also invest in remote monitoring and partner services to manage edge sites.

Regional adoption: It’s no surprise that Asia-Pacific is leading edge adoption, given that region’s heavy investment in automation, robotics, and smart applications. Asia-Pacific will have 37.7% of the world’s infrastructure edge footprint by 2028. Following fast behind is Europe with 29% of the world’s footprint. The United States will represent 20.5%, Latin America 7%, and Africa and the Middle East 5.8%, according to a report from The Linux Foundation.

B2C versus B2B applications: Some 36.5% of the global infrastructure edge footprint will be focused on mobile and residential consumers, while 11.9% will be directed to enterprise IT uses. Communication service providers (CSPs), also known as telcos, will represent another 10.4% of the world’s footprint.

Cloud: Cloud growth has soared during the pandemic. Some 86% of IT decision makers believe a hybrid cloud infrastructure is the ideal model, and 46% accelerated investments during 2020, according to a Nutanix study. However, edge growth is coming on so strong, that cloud providers are offering edge capabilities, rightly seeing edge as a competitive offering that could eat into their market share.

IoT: With 5G and edge growth, IoT will take a giant leap forward. Many organizations have devices that can be connected to gain new insights but have lacked the data integration capabilities, processing power, and budget to make this happen. Edge solves for these issues. In the B2C realm, consumers are becoming more comfortable with connected experiences and are willing to give up their data to enjoy personalized services. As a result, both B2B and B2C IoT applications will flourish.

Latency: Consumers are increasingly unwilling to wait. eCommerce studies have documented that even a 0.1 second improvement increases page engagement and sales. Similarly, for life-critical or business-critical applications such as trading, latency means it’s game over. The race to under one millisecond will characterize the next few years, with winners and losers. Eventually, near-zero latency will become the industry standard.

Analytics and automation: Analytics, automation, and process optimization powered by AI and ML rely on the ability to perform near real-time processing of vast data sets. Edge computing makes this possible by eliminating the need to transfer workloads to the cloud and enabling almost-instant decision making. In addition, edge computing enables organizations to perform analytics on sensitive data, such as consumer transactions, or health or tax data, while protecting data privacy.

Exploring the Edge Computing Ecosystem

The diversity of edge applications can create some confusion, so it can be useful to think of them first in terms of archetypes before drilling down into the use cases. Vertiv analyzed more than 100 industry use cases to develop the following four archetypes, organized by bandwidth, latency, security, and availability requirements:

Types of Edge Sites

Edge technology is deployed at a wide array of sites. These sites typically follow four deployment patterns:

Edge sites can be further analyzed by technical and environmental requirements. When categorized this way, they include:

Understanding Edge Architecture

As you design your edge architecture, likely starting with the desired power architecture, you will need to work through a variety of other considerations, including:

Latency needs: While many business applications can tolerate latency of 100 milliseconds or more, others can’t. This will affect what type of edge site you build and where you place it.

Environmental conditions: If an edge site is in a business facility, rather than a fit-for-purpose data center, you’ll need to consider such issues as heat, moisture, airflow, security, and more.

Space: While many industries own space where they can deploy edge sites, others may not. For example, telecommunication companies lease, rather than own, cell towers.

Scale: Is your organization deploying one edge site or thousands? This will affect the network architecture model, technology, and monitoring and management processes you use.

Automation: Consider automation to simplify routine processes such as device configuration and updating at multiple off-site edge locations.

Single pane of glass: A centralized dashboard will make it easier to oversee edge operations, especially as they grow.

Remote management: The ability to remotely monitor and manage devices streamlines day-to-day IT responsibilities. With out-of-band management capabilities, IT teams can access edge devices directly in the event of a network outage.

Resiliency: Like other IT networks, edge sites should be built for resiliency. For example, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) provide backup power to continue operations in the event of a power failure.

Education IT Edge

Schools and universities are rapidly learning to meet digital needs of their students by implementing remote learning, as well as shifting to more interactive learning experiences with AI technologies. Because of this shift, data security is now a focus, especially as personal student information being stored online.

Edge education sites are being deployed directly where the data is consumed, but also could be an entire building on campus. Though the size of the IT teams may vary, the digital requirements are still the same. Learn more about Edge computing in the education space, and how our solutions are addressing their needs.

Healthcare IT Edge

Telehealth has become a primary focus for healthcare organizations, from large hospital systems to small independent physician practices. It is more important now more than ever to implement secure, reliable IT systems. Learn more about the infrastructure challenges associated with telehealth, and what IT infrastructure solutions can help. 

Manufacturing IT Edge

Is your business ready? ‘Industry 4.0’, the fourth revolution in the manufacturing industry, has seen an increased reliance on automation and artificial intelligence to optimize and speed up logistics and supply chains. Manufacturers must be able to come up with ways to seamlessly integrate technology into everyday manufacturing operations, driven by data and machine learning. Learn more about how Vertiv can help manage critical infrastructure at the edge. 

Retail IT Edge
Is your IT equipment struggling to keep up with increased digital demand? Throughout the pandemic, retailers were faced with booming online shopping demand and a slowing economy. Edge computing for retailers has shifted, through implementing new technologies such as AI.  This increased reliance on digital activities puts strain on IT infrastructure, and retail stores are continuing to adapt to this new way of thinking. See how many retailers are beginning to address these ongoing challenges and how an infrastructure vendor, like Vertiv, can help.