With the rapid expansion of an Internet of billions of Things, and the growth and success of rich cloud services, we’re looking at a new computing paradigm. Edge computing involves the processing of all the data at the outer reaches — the “edge” — of networks.
Edge computing is about decentralizing computing power, and a shift in processing closer to those endpoint “fringes,” where devices and people use the internet and generate data. The aim is around precision and speed: to more precisely control UX and more swiftly process data at the network’s edge, on smart and IoT devices.
Oft down, ill prepared
A recently published Forrester report, Make Edge Services an Integral Part of Your Cloud Strategy, based on the input of more than 150 edge strategy decision-makers, presented three critical findings:
- Volatility is threatening user experience: 48 per cent of companies experience unplanned downtime at least once a month, and 26 per cent once a week
- Companies are ill-prepared for volatility: 46 per cent of organizations have a continuity/security plan in place at the infrastructure level, meaning more than half are vulnerable to downtime
- Organizations need edge services as part of a comprehensive resiliency strategy. They can use these services in addressing customer expectations, minimizing downtime, and ensuring top performance.
Cloud plus edge
Today’s agile enterprise must expand their strategy beyond cloud. Fully benefiting from everything cloud can offer calls for a complete strategy involving both cloud and edge services. Edge ensure resilience through high performance, reliability, and airtight security. Done right, the cloud-plus-edge combo can help companies realize key benefits, including:
- Less (or, ideally, almost no) downtime – People today don’t like downtime. However, if the Forrester report is accurate — there’s no reason to believe otherwise — half of companies are experiencing downtime at least once a month. Setting aside downtime caused by the internet via slowdowns, unavailable connections and the like, edge services can help companies reach a goal of almost no downtime … ever.
- Improved security and performance – “Living on the edge” means information and services is closer to the customer, resulting in more secure connections, less interruptions, and higher overall performance. With edge services, organizations can push key performance and security features to internal-facing (e.g., CRM, ERP systems) as well as customer-facing apps.
- Superior user experiences – Companies “on the edge” can offer better user experiences by shifting processing, data, and services to where they’re most needed. More and more, customers are seeking personalized experiences, and this can be provided at the edge, where data is closer to the user and rich content can be more readily delivered.
Schneider Electric has produced a short paper that answers the question of “Why Cloud Computing is Requiring us to Rethink Resiliency at the Edge.” Among the topics covered in this complimentary publication: the three types of data center: centralized, regional, local; shifting paradigms and a more comprehensive availability metric; and best practices at “the edge” to ensure employees are connected to critical business applications.
In a world of cloud apps, cloud connectivity has become business-critical. In a world of demanding employees and customers, “downtime” has become an ugly word. What’s required more than ever is a systematic approach to evaluating the availability of data centers in a hybrid environment to ensure investment dollars are spent where they will bring the greatest return.