The Three Key Elements of Edge Computing

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Open standards, hybrid cloud, and intrinsic scalability are key elements in companies’ journey to edge computing

Of all the IT infrastructure developments expected in the coming years, one of the most disruptive will likely be the widespread adoption of edge computing,the model that sees organizations take compute and storage resources out of the data center and closer to the places where data is generated. By 2022, it is estimated that there will be 55 billion edge devices on the market, and by 2025, this number is expected to grow to 150 billion.

With the increasing amount of data that businesses and enterprises hold in their cloud systems, along with the adoption of highly data-intensive workflows resulting from the adoption of AI and 5G, many companies are facing significant pressure to move to the edge

model. Yet, as with most digital transformation initiatives, even an edge transition, to be effective, requires some prerequisites. There are three elements that organizations need to pay special attention to to avoid inconveniences on their journey to the edge: standards built on open technologies, use of hybrid cloud, and a focus on scalability from the start.

Standardization on open technologies

Basically, edge computing is based on geographically distant devices that are able to talk seamlessly to each other. These can be compute or storage nodes that talk to each other, or nodes that talk to sensors or machinery that collect or act on the data of an edge network; the edge infrastructure depends precisely on whether these technologies are able to interact reliably.

Geographical distance has also led to a tendency towards the diversity of apparatuses.

Whether it’s availability from vendors or the adaptations needed for the on-premises context, the most efficient edge infrastructure will be one that can accommodate different technologies. In practice, market pressures to adapt to this configuration are often inevitable for many large edge network operators, especially those who want to avoid any possible lock-in.

For a diverse and distributed edge network to work, organizations must adopt open technologies.

Creating standards for open source software and hardware to ensure that they can interact via open source solutions is ultimately the only way to ensure that every component in a diverse and distributed edge network can interact with its counterparts.

Making use of hybrid cloud

In reality, a sufficiently large edge network will be a collection of many different workloads operating in concert with each other. Among other things, the edge infrastructure can be expected to run virtual machines, containers, and bare-metal nodes that perform network functions, and with particularly data-intensive workloads such as THOSE FOR AI, requiring microservices architectures, edge computing must be able to reconcile those complex tasks with more traditional and routine workloads. This is where hybrid cloud becomes essential to the edge computing paradigm:implementing a hybrid cloud creates a common foundation for an edge system, which in turn allows teams to manage thousands of networked devices just as they would with a centralized server.

In addition, the inherent variety of a hybrid cloud architecture also helps organizations avoid the vendor lock-in spectrum.

Focus on scalability

One of the main strengths of edge computing is its ability to scale – both geographically and in terms of managed workloads. The adoption of open standards and hybrid cloud infrastructure are critical prerequisites for enabling the edge to scaleto accommodate new workloads and systems smoothly, but at the same time organizations must also ensure that their edge infrastructure is built with the intent to scale. This means that architectures and resources should be structured and planned to accommodate new technologies, and that they should be able to recognize, address and mitigate the inevitable challenges that will arise when growing a network.

A positive example of this approach is security planning: defining in advance the structure of a permit system is always much easier than having to replace an ad-hoc structure, not suitable for the

purpose. The added value of the edge is set to change the game for many organizations, enabling next-generation technologies and applications to deliver massive performance and social benefits. By adopting open technologies, embracing hybrid cloud, and planning for scalability from the start, the future of edge computing can deliver on these promises,while also maximizing the quality of life for the team, while making the edge resilient and scalable.