Organizations pursuing edge deployments need to consider all the different factors that go into edge computing and then look for a solution that addresses the most crucial issues.
Edge computing environments typically aren’t just smaller versions of datacenters, based on exactly the same technologies. They also aren’t convenient places to experiment, when the real work of the organization must deliver high value without disrupting business activities.
Let’s take a look at four factors an organization should consider when deploying IT at the edge.
Tip 1: Maintain a Small Footprint
Many products sold as “edge” equipment are not actually designed for that purpose—they’re simply marketed for that role or, at best, minimally adapted for edge requirements.
Some vendors sell standard datacenter equipment for edge use, without accounting for the less-than-perfect environment that may be encountered there. Consequently, edge installations are acquiring a reputation for being unexpectedly troublesome and costly.
Edge components and systems need to be simple, cost-effective, and flexible, so that they can be deployed when and where they’re needed, with few limitations, and made appropriately secure in any given environment.
Tip 2: Keep it Simple
Edge computing is where the real work gets done. In many of these locations, the environments are extreme, and basic connectivity and power aren’t always a given. That is why edge computing setups (hardware and software) need to be designed to deploy easily, protect critical data without human intervention, recover autonomously, and maintain operations under almost any circumstances.
In practice, deployments should occur through a centralized hub or management console to avoid any physical intervention onsite, and be capable of doing so at a scale from 1 to 10,000 locations. Your greatest assets at the edge are the people who help run the business, not your IT staff, so removing that burden and making the deployments simple and easy relieves a major burden for everyone. When failures occur at a remote site, the staff shouldn’t even be aware that an issue occurred; your edge computing infrastructure should be able to deliver automatic data protection and allow for remote maintenance tasks.
Tip 3: Easily Scalable and Expandable
Edge environments are dynamic, with new applications being deployed regularly and data volumes growing exponentially. Therefore, it’s critical that edge infrastructure is designed to accommodate that growth and expand and upgrade with new resources and applications, as easily as the initial deployment.
Failure to plan for expansion of an edge environment can lead to expensive upgrades or multiple independent islands of infrastructure to manage.
Tip 4: Flexible
This is perhaps the most important consideration because edge deployments may involve multiplying sites into thousands of locations. If approached haphazardly, without a plan, the edge systems can quickly become complex to manage and strain IT staff.
To avoid becoming a nightmare, edge systems should have the flexibility to be deployed into any environment, on any hardware, and be installed with little or no customization and minimal skills. Edge deployments should be conceived from the start with an approach to simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and flexibility.
Interested in learning more about edge computing? Check out our Beginners Guide for an in-depth overview of the subject – what it is, how it works, and the benefits it delivers. You can also reach out to our sales team with any questions about the edge at [email protected].