Edge computing benefits, challenges, and solutions
Edge computing involves moving critical resources and digital workflows out of the centralized data center and closer to the people and devices who use them. Edge computing often occurs in remote locations far from the main data center, such as manufacturing plants in developing nations, oil rigs in the deep ocean, or hospitals in rural areas. Edge computing places the processing power needed for applications and analytics closer to these remote endpoints, which provides the following benefits.
Main edge computing benefits
- ★ Reduced latency: Users and devices in remote locations are physically and logically closer to the resources they need, reducing latency and improving performance.
- ★ Increased bandwidth: Less remote traffic is routed through the centralized data center, so more bandwidth is available to the edge locations and the main enterprise.
- ★ Simplified compliance: Individual locations may have different regulatory requirements, and edge computing allows you to store and process data locally, making it easier to ensure compliance.
Edge computing challenges
On its face, edge computing seems relatively simple—all you have to do is install some servers and GPUs in a remote, edge location. However, the edge’s very nature creates challenges you can’t ignore. Many edge locations do feel like the edge of the world. They may be hard to reach, have inhospitable weather conditions, or even sit in an active warzone. Deploying engineers for equipment installations, troubleshooting, or even simple maintenance is complex. It also means you’re not guaranteed to have a reliable internet connection to access and manage edge resources. Remote edge technology is also harder to monitor, which increases the risk of tampering by malicious actors. Plus, extreme weather or collateral damage from warfare could physically damage your infrastructure. These factors could cause you to lose expensive equipment and valuable data.
Edge computing solutions
To actualize edge computing benefits in your enterprise, you need to anticipate the above challenges by implementing the following solutions:
- Out-of-band (OOB) management OOB management provides an alternative path to your critical remote infrastructure when the primary network is down. An OOB management solution for edge computing uses a high-speed wireless connection (such as 4G/5G cellular) which is less likely to be affected by extreme weather or the destruction of underground infrastructure.
- SD-WAN SD-WAN (or software-defined wide area networking) provides a resilient connection between your edge computing resources and enterprise network. SD-WAN helps ensure constant availability at the edge by using intelligent routing that automatically redirects traffic to available resources during an outage.
- Automation Automation makes it easier to deploy and manage infrastructure at the edge. For example, Zero Touch Provisioning allows administrators to automatically deploy device configurations over the WAN, reducing the need for on-site technicians.
- Virtual presence A virtual presence allows you to monitor your edge infrastructure’s condition remotely. For instance, environmental monitoring sensors provide data on temperature, humidity, and airflow so you can prevent damage to your valuable equipment. Proximity and tampering sensors can also alert you if an unauthorized individual attempts to access your hardware.
- Security You must implement local security when you move compute resources to the edge. For example, an edge firewall will enable traffic inspection and intrusion detection without the need to route all edge traffic through the security stack in your central data center. Often, it’s easiest to run security applications as a VM on an edge system.
OOB management, SD-WAN, automation, a virtual presence, and edge security are critical for the success of edge computing. However, that doesn’t mean you must buy five new solutions for each edge location. Ideally, you’ll use a consolidated edge networking solution that rolls up all the functionality you need in one compact device. This will allow you to easily deploy and manage your edge computing resources while reducing your technology footprint in remote locations where space and budgets may be limited.
Unlock edge computing benefits with Nodegrid
Every edge computing use case is different. You may have several small data centers worldwide with dozens of racks. Or, you might have many nano data centers, each with a single device running all your edge compute applications. No matter what your edge architecture looks like, ZPE Systems has a solution to help you unlock edge computing benefits. For example, the Nodegrid Net Services Router (NSR) is a compact, all-in-one edge networking solution that’s customizable to your requirements. With swappable modules for OOB management, 5G/4G cellular, storage, and compute, you can run an entire edge computing deployment from one device. Nodegrid’s vendor-neutral platform supports integrations with your choice of third-party automation, orchestration, and security providers. Or, you can host applications for automation, SD-WAN, security, and more on a single device. You can even run VMs directly from your NSR to further streamline your edge operations. Plus, you can connect Nodegrid’s environmental monitoring sensors to any Nodegrid device. You can maintain visibility on your critical remote infrastructure with sensors for temperature, humidity, proximity, airflow, smoke, and particulates.